ARLINGTON — It was only fitting that Brandon Carr's 49-yard interception return for touchdown sealed the Cowboys season-opening 36-31 victory over the New York Giants.
The game was all about getting the ball out and doing something with it.
"Six turnovers, it's contagious," Carr said after the game. "We got six and still wanted more."
Forcing turnovers was the number one issue preached to the team during off-season and training camp. However, Cowboys fans have heard it before; actually seeing it pulled off is another thing altogether.
"This will do our team a lot of good because this validates what they've been told and practiced," said team owner Jerry Jones.
"You know guys licking their chops saying, 'Who's next?'" Carr said. "And that's the kind of atmosphere they've created around here as far as harping on turnovers, harping on people getting to the ball."
It started from the game's very first snap. DeMarcus Ware picked off Eli Manning's attempted screen pass. Then there were forced fumbles, a muffed punt recovery and more interceptions. Monte Kiffin's defense provided crucial game-changing plays—as advertised.
"It's infectious; it's contagious," said Cowboys coach Jason Garrett. "We challenged them at halftime. We had three. Let's get three more."
The six turnovers were the most Cowboys have forced in a decade, and the most the Giants have surrendered in more than a quarter of a century, since 1987 to be exact. Barry Church returned a fumble 27 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter, making it two scores as a result of the miscues.
The night is made even more phenomenal when put in the context of what the team accomplished last season with just 16 turnovers for the entire year. In 60 minutes, they were more than a third of the way to matching that number.
"I think its important when you work that hard at it, no question about it," said defensive line coach Rod Marinelli. "But, they see it hopefully pays dividends in winning. It's about winning, just winning. And you do what it takes to try to win."
As it turns out, they needed all six of those big plays to finish off a Giants team that refused to quit, until Carr made yet another big play.