(Editor’s Note: The chaotic week that saw the Cowboys fire Wade Phillips, then name Jason Garrett the interim head coach, followed by a dramatic road win in New York has been illustrated in an EMMY-nominated documentary “Sunday at 4:15” (http://www.dallascowboys.com/video/2016/08/07/deep-blue-sunday-415))* as part of the Cowboys’ Deep Blue series.)*
When the Cowboys finally took the field Sunday at the Meadowlands, it had already been a crazy week for the team that fell to 1-7 and fired Wade Phillips, promoted Jason Garrett to head coach and had many other distractions, aside from just playing a good Giants football team.
But as Garrett warned his players, and the media members all week, none of that mattered to anyone else because “we’ve got a game to play Sunday at 4:15 in the Meadowlands. Nobody cares about what we’ve gone through. The Giants don’t really care. What we have to do is prepare ourselves to be ready to play when we kick off with the Giants at 4:15.”
When 4:15 rolled around, the Cowboys were definitely ready and played their best game of the year. Rookie wide receiver Dez Bryant scored an early touchdown but the turning point in the game occurred in the second quarter when rookie defensive back Bryan McCann, an SMU standout, picked off Eli Manning in the end zone and returned the ball 101 yards for a touchdown, which still stands as the longest interception return in Cowboys history.
The second half included a scary scene when the entire power at the stadium went out for several seconds. While most of the lights quickly returned, there was a portion of the lights that never came back on. The Cowboys scored on a 71-yard touchdown pass from Jon Kitna to Felix Jones that expanded a lead the Cowboys would never relinquish.
In the fourth quarter, safety Alan Ball picked off Manning in the end zone to seal the win as the Cowboys held on for the 33-20 win.
Garrett, who served as a backup quarterback for both the Cowboys and Giants, and grew up in New Jersey, picked up his first win. The Cowboys would eventually go 5-3 in the final eight games, which helped Garrett land the full-time head coaching positon in 2011.