Going into the second game of the season against the NY Giants in 1992, the Cowboys had only beaten the Giants once in the previous eight meetings. The Cowboys were looking to go 2-0 for the first time since 1986 and they got off to a good start.
On their first possession of the game the Cowboys drove 72 yards on the Giants defense. They took a 7-0 lead when Emmitt Smith scored from the five yard line.
Later in the first quarter the Cowboys defense forced the Giants to punt. On the punt attempt Cowboys linebacker Ken Norton Jr. blocked the punt by Sean Landeta. Special team’s player Robert Williams recovered the ball at the three yard line and crawled into the end zone to give the Cowboys a 14-0 lead.
Cowboy’s kicker Lin Elliott kicked two field goals in the first half to put the Cowboys ahead, 20-0. Then with 32 seconds left before halftime the Cowboys offense led by Troy Aikman found themselves sitting at the Giants two yard line. From there Aikman connected with Jay Novacek for the touchdown to give the Cowboys a commanding 27-0 halftime lead.
Less than a minute into the third quarter Cowboys safety James Washington intercepted a Phil Simms pass. That set up Troy Aikman’s second touchdown pass of the game. This time he found Michael Irvin from 27 yards out to increase the Cowboys lead to 34-0.
The Cowboys were dominating in all three phases of the game. Offense, defense and special teams could do nothing wrong. While the Cowboys were building a 34-0 lead early in the third quarter, the Giants offense could only manage two first downs.
With such a large lead the Cowboys seemed to relax or maybe they were just too young of a team and did not know how to finish off an opponent. The Giants took full advantage and put together scoring drives of 80, 80, 62 and 55 yards in the second half.
Running back Rodney Hampton got the Giants on the scoreboard first with a five yard touchdown run. Not long after Hampton’s touchdown, fullback Jarrod Bunch scored on a Phil Simms pass to get the Giants within 34-14 of the Cowboys as the third quarter ended.
Phil Simms threw his second touchdown pass of the second half when he connected with wide receiver Stephen Baker from six yards to make the score 34-21 Cowboys.
Each team seemed to reverse rolls from how it was in the first half. Now in the second half it was the Giants dominating and the Cowboys struggling. Phil Simms led the Giants again deep into Cowboys territory and threw his third touchdown pass of the half. Tight end Howard Cross caught a two yard touchdown pass from Simms which got the Giants to within six points of the Cowboys, 34-28 with 6:52 left in the game.
The Giants defense forced a Cowboys punt on their next possession and the Giants got the ball back with 3:42 left in the game. With the Giants stadium crowd watching such an incredible comeback by their team and the Giants about to start their drive, the scoreboard operator decided to get involved in the game. Giants Stadium flashed the final score on the scoreboard as…Giants, 35, Cowboys, 34.
The Giants started their drive with 3:42 to play on their own 18 yard line. They had sliced a 34 point deficit to just six points and were looking to finish off the Cowboys with their fifth touchdown of the second half. The Cowboys defense seemed to pick the right time to finally wake up. On first down Phil Simms went down field, but the pass fell incomplete. On second down Simms passed to Hampton who was tackled by Kenneth Gant and Tony Casillas after a two yard gain. On third and eight Simms went to Dave Meggett who was brought down for no gain by Darren Woodson and Bill Bates. The Giants punted hoping to stop the Cowboys offense once again and get the ball back.
This time it was the Cowboys offense that woke up. Emmitt Smith ran for a first down. Then Michael Irvin caught a 12 yard pass from Aikman on a third and seven with 1:40 to play. The Giants were out of timeouts and the Cowboys ran out the rest of the clock to win the game 34-28. It was the Cowboys first win at Giants Stadium since 1987.
“It’s just a relief to get out of New York alive with this one,” said coach Jimmy Johnson, who is 2-0 for the first time as an NFL coach. “This tells you how young a team we have. We had a big lead and didn’t know how to react.”
“When Simms got hot and their receivers started catching everything and we started missing tackles, they got back in it, said Johnson. They’re to be commended for getting back in the game. By the same token, our guys have to be commended for coming through in a true character test.”
“I’d hate for anybody to think that we let up,” Aikman said. “But the thing we didn’t do offensively is sense the urgency of each drive.”
“It’s the first time to be 2-0 since I’ve been here,” Aikman said. “It’s a great feeling. Last year we were 1-2 after three games, and it seemed like all we ever had after that were must-win situations. I think we’re going to find out a lot about this football team.”
Troy Aikman led the Cowboys with 238 yards and two touchdowns. Emmitt Smith rushed for 89 yards and a touchdown and also added 55 yards on eight receptions. Michael Irvin caught four passes for 73 yards and one touchdown.
The box score for the game can be seen here.