EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Dwayne Harris came back to haunt his former team Sunday, returning a kickoff 100 yards to break a 20-20 tie in the fourth quarter and help the New York Giants defeat the Dallas Cowboys, 27-20.
Harris, the former Dallas special teams ace, returned the kickoff after Matt Cassel had hit Devin Street with a 25-yard touchdown pass to tie the game with 7:14 remaining. The kickoff return tied the Giants' franchise record for longest return, set by Clarence Childs on Dec. 6, 1964.
"We've been overdue for a long time," Harris said after the game. "I was one block away, one man away. Tonight it was blocked perfectly. Anybody could of run through the hole that was made."
The kickoff return was Harris first for a touchdown in five NFL seasons. He has two touchdowns as a punt returner.
"I'm always thinking about scoring," Harris said. "Every time I get the ball in my hands I'm thinking about scoring."
The Giants improved to 4-3 (2-2 in the NFC East) with the victory and will have at least a share of the NFC East lead depending upon the outcome of Sunday night's game between the Philadelphia Eagles and Carolina Panthers. Dallas is 2-4, having lost four straight games since quarterback Tony Romo suffered a broken clavicle.
"They fight. They're scrappy. Gritty and scrappy. They battle and fight," head coach Tom Coughlin said of the Giants.
The Giants trailed, 13-10, at halftime, but took advantage of three Cassel interceptions in the second half. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie had two of those, returning one in the third quarter 58 yards for a touchdown.
After Harris's kickoff return Dallas drove to the Giants' 30-yard line, but the Giants came up with a stop. A fourth-and- pass from Cassel to James Hanna gained only six yards and the Giants took over with 1:48 left.
The Giants were forced to punt with 1:36 remaining, but Cole Beasley of Dallas muffed the ball and Myles White of the Giants recovered at the Dallas 16-yard line. The Giants ran out the clock from their.
Eli Manning completed 13-of-24 passes for 170 yards for the Giants. The Giants had their first 100-yard rushing game of the season. Shane Vereen had four carries for 56 yards and Orleans Darkwa, seeing his first action, had eight carries for 48 yards, including a 15-yard touchdown run.
Odell Beckham and Larry Donnell each had four receptions for the Giants. Josh Brown made two field goals and now has a franchise record of 19 straight.
The victory was Tom Coughlin's 100th as Giants coach.
The Giants travel to face the New Orleans Saints next Sunday.
Scoring play -- 30-yard field goal Dan Bailey (Cowboys)
Drive summary -- 11 plays, 68 yards, 5:17
Key play -- Dallas rushed six times for 61 yards
Score -- 3-0 Dallas, 5:29
Scoring play -- 15-yard run, Orleans Darkwa (Giants)
Drive summary -- Seven plays, 79 yards, 3:05
Key plays -- Four runs for 41 yards by Orleans Darkwa, his first four carries of the season
Score -- 7-3 Giants, 11:02
Scoring play -- 48-yard field goal, Dan Bailey (Cowboys)
Drive summary -- Six plays, 30 yards, 3:33
Key play -- A 31-yard touchdown pass from Matt Cassel to Darren McFaddin was nullified by a highly questionable offensive pass interference call on Devin Street of the Cowboys.
Score -- 7-6 Giants, 7:29
Scoring play -- 1-yard run Darren McFadden (Cowboys)
Drive summary -- Six plays, 72 yards, 3:14
Key plays -- The Giants were penalized three times. There were two defensive holding penalties and an unnecessary roughness call on linebacker J.T. Thomas on first-and-goal from the 5-yard line.
Score -- 13-7 Cowboys, 2:17
Scoring play -- 47-yard field goal, Josh Brown (Giants)
Drive summary -- Eight plays, one penalty, 51 yards, 1:13
Key play -- A replay review of a ball that was intercepted gave the ball back to the Giants. The ball, which struck Jones' foot, was ruled to have hit the ground prior to hitting Jones.
Score -- 13-10, Cowboys, 1:04
Scoring play -- 58-yard interception return, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (Giants)
Key play -- Rodgers-Cromartie intercepts Matt Cassel pass intended for Terrance Williams.
Score -- Giants 17, Cowboys 13, 11:19
Scoring play -- 34-yard field goal, Josh Brown (Giants)
Drive summary -- 8 plays, 83 yards, 4:25
Key plays -- 44-yard pass from Manning to Rueben Randle on third-and-5 from the Giants' 6-yard line. Shane Vereen followed that with a 39-yard run on the next play.
Score -- Giants 20, Cowboys 13, 3:18
Scoring play -- 25-yard touchdown pass, Matt Cassel to Devin Street
Drive summary -- Nine plays, 80 yards, 4:58
Key play -- Street caught the pass from a scrambling Cassel in the corner of the ends zone with a reaching toe tap.
Score -- 20-20, 7:14
Scoring play -- Dwayne Harris, 100-yard kickoff return
Key play -- Harris ties franchise record for longest kickoff return (Clarence Childs, Dec. 6, 1964)
Score -- Giants 27, Cowboys 20, 7:01