EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — A little more than eight months to the day that they saw their 2011 playoff dreams shattered by the New York Giants, the Dallas Cowboys extracted revenge against the defending Super Bowl champions with a 24-17 season-opening victory in a nationally-televised game from MetLife Stadium.
Dallas quarterback Tony Romo engineered three consecutive second-half scoring drives for 17 points, including touchdowns to receivers Kevin Ogletree and Miles Austin, sandwiched around a 33-yard field goal by Dan Bailey.
Romo’s second touchdown pass to Ogletree, the Queens, NY native, went for 40 yards. Austin’s, which came in the fourth quarter, went for 34 yards.
The Giants offense, which was both sluggish and sloppy in the first half, finally got things going on its first possession of the second half, as quarterback Eli Manning engineered a nine-play, 89-yard drive that saw him connect with receiver Domenik Hixon on 12- and 39-yard receptions.
The 39-yard reception, Manning’s longest of the game, set up Ahmad Bradshaw’s ten-yard touchdown run which closed the Cowboys’ lead to 14-10 midway through the third quarter.
Manning and the offense also managed to cap a 12-play, 79-yard fourth quarter scoring drive to narrow the Cowboys’ lead to seven. Manning found tight end Martellus Bennett, the former Cowboy, for a nine-yard touchdown reception 2:36 left in the fourth quarter.
The scoring wasn’t enough for Manning, who last year was the king of the fourth-quarter comebacks. Rather, the Cowboys offense ate away at the clock which kept the Giants’ offense on the sideline.
With the loss, the Giants, who won the last three of four matchups against their NFC East rivals, fall to 0-1 to start the season and an 0-1 mark against division opponents.
Romo’s ten-yard touchdown pass to receiver Kevin Ogletree with 1:01 left in the first half gave the Dallas Cowboys a 7-3 half time lead over the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants in the 2012 NFL season opener at MetLife Stadium.
After both offenses struggled throughout most of the first half, the Cowboys’ offense finally got on the board with their two-minute offense, as Romo completed five of his six passes for 46 yards to a combination of Ogletree, receiver Dez Bryant, and tight end Jason Witten on the go-ahead drive.
The Giants, whose running game continued to struggle, saw rookie David Wilson lose a fumble deep in Cowboys territory. The Giants had another chance to put six on the board following a 51-yard interception return by linebacker Michael Boley that put the ball on the Cowboys’ one yard line, but the drive netted minus-three yards, forcing them to settle for a 22-yard Lawrence Tynes field goal with 9:10 left in the second quarter.
NOTES: Cornerback Michael Coe, who was starting for the Giants’ Prince Amukamara, suffered a hamstring injury in the third quarter and was not able to return to the game. … The paid crowd of 82,287 marked a new Giants attendance record at MetLife Stadium. … Witten, who had been sidelined with a lacerated spleen, was cleared by doctors to take part in the game. … Keith Rivers started at weakside linebacker ahead of Michael Boley, who saw spot duty. Rivers had to leave the game briefly in the second quarter with a hamstring injury, but did return. … Receiver Domenik Hixon, who didn’t field a single punt return all summer for the Giants, took on that role for New York, while Wilson handled kickoff returns.