EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Noah Igbinoghene returned a blocked field goal 58 yards for a touchdown on the opening series, DaRon Bland scored on a pick-6 later in the first quarter and the Dallas Cowboys embarrassed the New York Giants again, posting a season-opening 40-0 victory Sunday night.
Tony Pollard scored on two short touchdown runs and Dallas forced three turnovers and sacked Daniel Jones seven times in shutting down New York’s supposedly improved offense and beating the Giants for the fifth straight time and 12th in 13th meetings.
The shutout loss was the largest between the teams, topping the Cowboys’ 35-0 win over the Giants in 1995, also in a season-opener in the Meadowlands. It was also the Cowboys’ biggest season-opening shutout, topping their 38-0 win over the Baltimore Colts in 1978.
This was supposed to be the game that showed whether the Giants had closed the gap on Dallas and defending NFC champion Philadelphia in the NFC East.
The Cowboys didn’t need much from quarterback Dak Prescott and the offense. They got two field goals from new kicker Brandon Aubrey and Pollard got Dallas’ first TD on offense on a 2-yard run midway through the second quarter to push the advantage to 26-0 at halftime.
The halftime shutout margin was the fourth-most lopsided in Week 1 for a home team, topped only by the Bucs trailing the Eagles 34-0 in 1988. The others were the Steelers (down 30-0 vs. the Browns) in 1989 and the Colts (27-0 vs. the Rams) in 1954.
Pollard, the Cowboys’ lead running back after the release of Ezekiel Elliott during the offseason, had a 1-yard run in the third quarter. KaVontae Turpin added a 7-yard TD run in the fourth.
The game changed on the opening series. New York took the opening kickoff, rolled down the field and reached the Dallas 8 behind the running of Saquon Barkley and Jones. On a third-and-2, left tackle Andrew Thomas moved early and rookie center John-Michael Schmitz — a second-round pick — made a bad snap that Jones recovered back at the 27.
Graham Gano’s 45-yard field goal attempt was blocked by Juanyeh Thomas, who jumped between a crack at the end of the line and easily blocked the kick. Igbinoghene picked up the ball at the 42 and was not touched on his way to scoring.
After Aubrey kicked a 21-yard field goal, Bland scored on the ensuing series. Cornerback Trevon Diggs hit Barkley while the running back caught a swing pass, the ball popped in the air and Bland caught it and scored.
The game was never close after that, just to show how bad the Giants played, Gano missed a 36-yarder with 1:05 left in the half, leaving coach Brian Daboll shaking his head.
Jones finished 15 of 28 for 104 yards with a quarterback rating of 32.4. Prescott was 13 of 24 for 143 in beating the Giants for the 11th straight time.
Cowboys: Starting LG Tyler Smith was inactive because of a hamstring injury sustained Monday. Chuma Edoga replaced him before leaving in the third quarter. T.J. Bass replaced Edoga.
Giants: CB Deonte Banks left the field late in the first half with cramps and didn’t return.
NOTES: U.S. Open champion Coco Gauff was on the field before the game. The 19-year-old won her first Grand Slam title Saturday, rallying to beat Aryna Sabalenka 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 in the final. … It was Thomas’ first career blocked field goal in his first career game, and Igbinoghene’s first career TD in his first game with the Cowboys.
Cowboys: Return home, but can’t get away from New York teams as they’ll face Aaron Rodgers and the Jets on Sunday.
Giants: Travel to Arizona to play the Cardinals on Sunday.
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