By Dan Graziano
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- He saw the linebacker racing down the field the other way with the ball in his hands, and he didn't know if he could catch him but he knew he had to try. Tyron Smith
, the Dallas Cowboys
' second-year offensive lineman, took off after the New York Giants
' Michael Boley
as the linebacker raced toward the end zone for what looked like a sure touchdown. They arrived simultaneously at the 2-yard line, where Smith grabbed Boley by the back of his collar and hauled him down just short of the goal line. Yellow flags flew. The tackle was illegal -- a horse-collar, they call it -- and Smith knew it as he was making it.
"I just didn't care," Smith said with a smile in the Cowboys' locker room after his team's 24-17 upset victory
in the NFL's regular-season opener. "Anything to keep him out of that end zone."
Smart play, really. The penalty, enforced at the 2, was only a 1-yard (half-the-distance) penalty, and it did keep the Giants out of the end zone at a time when the game was still scoreless in the second quarter. Boley was sure he was returning an interception for a touchdown, and instead the Giants' offense had to take the field against a fired-up Cowboys defense.
"When you see a guy like that get down the field to make a tackle on a play like that, you know you've got to make the stop," Cowboys defensive end Jason Hatcher
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