American Football: Showman Sanders steals the spotlight

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DEION SANDERS, the Dallas Cowboys cornerback, showed why he is called "Prime Time" as he produced two long returns for touchdowns as the Cowboys beat the New York Giants 31-7 in the live televised Monday night match.

Sanders stole the prime-time national spotlight by returning a punt 59 yards for a touchdown, catching a 55-yard pass to set up another score and bringing back an interception 71 yards for another TD. "It felt wonderful," Sanders said.

Their back-up quarterback Jason Garrett, filling in for the injured Aikman, who is out six to eight weeks with a fractured left collarbone, played relatively error-free, completing 12-of-28 passes for 222 yards.

Sanders's electrifying punt return in the second quarter opened the scoring. The multi-threat Sanders cut left to elude the first wave of tacklers, broke right and raced across the field and then cut back toward the centre for the touchdown.

After the long punt return, Sanders left the field and was treated for dehydration. "I spent everything that was inside of me," he said. "I was nauseated early in the game. That punt return took everything."

The Giants, who played a mistake-filled game, tied the score when quarterback Danny Kanell hit Amani Toomer for a 36-yard touchdown pass.

But that was the extent of the Giants offense, and Dallas went on to score the next 24 points, including an 80-yard touchdown pass from Garrett to Billy Davis, an 18-yard touchdown run by Sherman Williams and a 71- yard interception return for another touchdown by Sanders.