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Cowboys take down Giants in season opener

EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey -- Tony Romo tossed three touchdown passes as the Dallas Cowboys defeated the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants 24-17 in the NFL season opener on Wednesday.

The Giants celebrated their Super Bowl title before the game but Romo and Co. had the last laugh as the quarterback threw for a total of 307 yards and wide receiver Kevin Ogletree caught two touchdown passes.

“Our approach was to take it one play at a time,” Romo said. “You have got to be able to execute plays and our team took that approach. It was exciting to see.”

Romo completed 22 of 29 passes with an interception for Dallas, who finished last season with an 8-8 record and missed the playoffs.

Ogletree recorded the first two touchdowns of his career while making eight catches for 114 yards. DeMarco Murray added 131 yards on 20 carries for Dallas.

“We worked hard for this,” Ogletree said. “We felt good out there for the first game. I just wanted to do what it takes to help my team and be accountable.”

Jason Witten, who suffered a lacerated spleen in the pre-season, finished with two receptions for 10 yards. He was cleared to play just prior to the opening kickoff.

Quarterback Eli Manning completed 21 of 32 passes for 213 yards and a touchdown for the Giants, who won its final half dozen games last season to become the first 9-7 team in league history to win the Super Bowl.

Ahmad Bradshaw carried the ball 17 times for 78 yards and a touchdown, while Victor Cruz led all New York receivers with six catches for 58 yards.

“You need to have that killer instinct. We told ourselves 'we got to do it now. It is time,'” Romo said.

This year, the opening game was moved from Thursday to Wednesday night so it wouldn't conflict with President Barack Obama's speech at the Democratic National Convention.

For the first time since 2001, the NFL was forced to use replacement officials. The regular officials have been locked out since June, and a last-ditch effort to negotiate a labor settlement ended Saturday when neither the league or the officials union budged from their positions.

The Cowboys are hoping that Wednesday's win is a reversal of fortunes. They have now won just three of 10 contests with the Giants since early 2008.

At the end of last season, the Giants beat the Cowboys twice in three weeks.

Dallas is also the first team to beat the reigning Super Bowl winner in the league opener since the NFL began the tradition of having the champions host the season kickoff game in 2004.

Key games on Sunday include New England at Tennessee and San Francisco at Green Bay.

The Green Bay versus San Francisco contest is the marquee matchup of week one with the explosive Packers offence going up against the defensive-minded 49ers.

Green Bay enjoyed a superb 15-1 season in 2011 before losing to the Giants in the playoffs and has won its last 13 regular season games at Lambeau Field, where San Francisco are winless since 1990.

The game marks the NFL return of San Francisco offseason pickup and seven-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Randy Moss who sat out the entire 2011 season.

Jake Locker, who was a first-round pick last year, will make his first career start at quarterback for Tennessee as he goes up against the Patriots defence that last season finished last in the league in passing yards allowed.

New England quarterback Tom Brady threw a career high-tying six touchdowns in a 59-0 thrashing by the Patriots of the Titans the last time these teams met three years ago.

In other week one games it's Indianapolis at Chicago, Jacksonville at Minnesota, Buffalo at New York Jets, Miami at Houston, St. Louis at Detroit, Washington at New Orleans, Philadelphia at Cleveland, Atlanta at Kansas City, Seattle at Arizona, Carolina at Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh at Denver, Cincinnati at Baltimore and San Diego at Oakland.

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Dallas Cowboys defensive end Jason Hatcher #97 and DeMarcus Ware, rear, celebrate during the second half of an NFL game against the New York Giants in East Rutherford, New Jersey, Wednesday, Sept. 5. The Cowboys won 24-17. (AP)

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