Newspaper article International New York Times

In Dallas, Sidestepping Peril off the Field, Too

Newspaper article International New York Times

In Dallas, Sidestepping Peril off the Field, Too

Article excerpt

Running back DeMarco Murray slipped out of trouble again and again in a win over the Giants, perhaps taking cues from Jerry Jones, the Cowboys' owner.

To watch a game with all its pregame and postgame trimmings in Texas, in Jerry Jones's Temple of Excess known as AT&T Stadium, is to highlight what is deeply entertaining and not so modestly depraved about the N.F.L. game.

The Cowboys-Giants match, or what you could see of it beneath the blinking electronic scoreboard that hovers over the field like the Starship Enterprise, featured a glorious quarterback duel. The Cowboys' Tony Romo and the Giants' Eli Manning, who have battled each other since what feels like 1963, were throwing off their back feet, across their bodies, improvising jagged scrambles, muscling tosses into triple coverage.

In the end, Romo and the Cowboys prevailed, 31-21. But it was difficult to draw a conclusion more lasting than that Romo's cupboard was more fully stocked with talent, with healthy receivers, a resilient and smart defense, and a transcendent running back, DeMarco Murray.

Time and again, Murray hurled himself against the Giants' defensive line, a vast and collective mass of flesh and sinew and muscle. The Giants would stuff him once, and stuff him again, and hurl him to the turf for good measure.

Then on the next play, or the next sequence, he'd spin and squirt and tumble for 6, 7, 8 crucial yards. On the occasions when he broke free on the outside, and could wheel and spin and deke and feint, well, watch out.

For the Giants, Odell Beckham Jr. tossed down his claim as successor to the injured receiver Victor Cruz. He is a darting, slicing, frenetic sort, and when he catches the ball and can lay down the moves, he resembles a nervous breakdown.

Behind it all are the men who make money off these games. At which point we can invite Jones, the Cowboys' white-haired billionaire owner, to amble on in.

He talks and talks and offers excellent larger-than-life copy. "I sure am proud of those guys in there," he said after Sunday's game. "This was as fine of an hour that we've had for our crowd."

At the same time, he makes you wonder, again, at the marvelously flexible document that is the N. …

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