On a night that commenced with New York Giants celebrating all four of the franchise’s Lombardi trophies, which included a brief fireworks display prior to kick off, the Giants fell at home to the Dallas Cowboys 24-17. Becoming the first team to lose its home opener since the NFL started allowing the reigning Super Bowl champion to host the first game of the NFL season. The Cowboys moved to 6-0 all-time when the facing the Giants in season openers.
Neither team got off to a stellar performance as both teams went three and out on their opening possessions. The Giants second drive looked much more promising until Giants rookie first round draft pick, David Wilson, fumbled at the Cowboys 29-yard line, the football was subsequently recovered by the Cowboys. On the sideline, Wilson appeared to be sobbing as he was receiving encouragement from one the Giants coaches after the play.
Off the turnover, the Cowboys were able to move the ball down the field. Converting on a third down to wide receiver Kevin Ogletree early in the drive. However, Ogletree was unable to convert a more important third down later in the drive coming up inches short. This forced the Cowboys to go for it on 4th and 1, where they were stopped by the Giant defense.
After stopping Dallas on fourth down, New York was able to achieve two quick first downs, which brought a conclusion to the first quarter. The start of the second quarter essentially ended the Giants drive. On first down from the Dallas 41-yard line, linebacker DeMarcus Ware sacked quarterback Eli Manning for a 14-yard loss. The sack was Ware’s 100th for his career.
The Giants first turnover of the 2012 season came early in the second quarter. Giants linebacker Michael Boley intercepted Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, on a 3rd and 8 play at the Giants 46-yard line. If Boley were not the victim of a horse-collar tackle at Cowboys three-yard line, he would have scored. The Giants converted the interception into points on a field goal three plays later. Giving the Giants a 3-0 lead.
With just over three and half minutes left in the first half, the Cowboys received the ball looking to put points on the board. Romo hit wide receiver Dez Bryant for a 38-yard pass play on a crucial 3rd and 1 play. Two plays later, after briefly scrambling, Romo hit Ogletree for a 10-yard touchdown pass, giving the Cowboys a 7-3 lead with 61 seconds left in the first half. This remained the score at the break.
The Cowboys received the ball to start the second half, moving the ball right down the field for a touchdown. Ogletree, who finished with 8 receptions for 114 yards and two touchdowns, caught his second touchdown of the game and of his career on a 40-yard pass from Romo. The drive overcame a fumble by running back DeMarco Murray which was recovered by wide receiver Miles Austin. The drive was 9 plays covering 80 yards in 4:36, giving the Cowboys a 14-3 lead.
The Giants showed their resilience, marching the ball down the field and scoring a touchdown on their opening drive of the second half. Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw scored on a 10-yard run. Just one play after Manning hit wide receiver Domenik Hixon on a 39-yard pass play. The drive was 9 plays covering 89 yards in 5:13. The Giants overcame a block in the back penalty by wide reciever Victor Cruz on the drive to pull with 4 points.
The Cowboys responded to the Giants response, going 65 yards and converting on a 34-yard field goal from place kicker Dan Bailey with 40 seconds left in the third quarter. Giving the Cowboys a 17-10 lead. This drive was highlighted by a 48-yard run by Murray, where he slipped out of the grasp of two Giant defenders who were in the backfield.
The Cowboys followed up this drive with another touchdown. On a drive that was plagued by penalties for the Cowboys, there were able to continuously fight through them. Fitting that Romo hit Austin on a 34-yard touchdown pass, immediately after Dallas was called for holding which created a 1st and 30 moving the ball back to the New York 34-yard line. For Romo, who finished completing 22 of 29 passes for 307 yards, it was his third and final touchdown pass of the night. The scoring drive covered 82 yards in 8 plays taking 7:02 of crucial fourth quarter time off the clock.
The fourth quarter continued to be where Manning prospers. Manning led the Giants on a seven play, 79-yard touchdown drive in 3:21. Manning connected with his newly acquired tight end from the Cowboys, Martellus Bennett, on a 9-yard touchdown pass with 2:36 left in the fourth quarter. The drive brought the Giants within a touchdown of the Cowboys, but it proved to be too little too late for the Giants. As the Cowboys walked into MetLife Stadium, on the night the Giants celebrated their fourth Super Bowl in franchise history, and walked out with a win.