Cowboys run over Giants


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The NFL last night extended its exhibition season for at least another night.

That fiasco on "Monday Night Football?" Nothing more than an early-season checkup on America's Team. Michael, Emmitt, Troy and the 'Boys are doing just fine, thank you.

The Dallas Cowboys opened their 1995 season with a 35-0 whipping of the New York Giants before a crowd of 77,454 last night at Giants Stadium.

It was actually picture day for the Cowboys, who spent more time mugging for the cameras than they did expending energy against the Giants. Even Cowboys owner Jerry Jones came down on the field to entertain the media, posing for pictures with tennis star Monica Seles on the sidelines midway through the second quarter.

The Giants had come into this game hoping to stop Emmitt Smith, who had rushed for more than 100 yards in each of his previous five games against New York.

Forget it.

Smith scored four touchdowns and finished with 163 yards on 21 carries, showing no signs of a hamstring injury that slowed him at the end of last season. His first rushing attempt of the season was for a 60-yard touchdown on the eighth play of the game, and it went downhill from there for the Giants.

"Is there a better way to start off 1995 than to run for a touchdown?" said Dallas coach Barry Switzer. "I think we eased any doubts about our offensive line tonight."

Troy Aikman was just as hot, completing 15 of 20 passes for 228 yards and one touchdown. So was the Dallas defense, which shut down New York's running game. Only Michael Irvin (seven receptions for 109 yards) started slowly, but his 43-yard reception down the left sideline with 12:51 left in the game set up Smith's fourth TD, a 1-yard run, and put Dallas ahead 35-0 with a little more than 12 minutes remaining.

That was enough for Switzer, who then pulled his regulars with 10:51 left to play.

"Was this a statement game? I don't know, and who cares?" said Switzer. "We were impressive in all areas. And when we run the football like that, we're a pretty tough football team to beat."

Irvin, though, had a message: "We're going to get better, believe me," he said. "There's still room for improvement. We're on a mission, and this year we're going to take care of business."

But there was a downside for the Cowboys. Starting cornerback Kevin Smith could be out for the season with after suffering a right Achilles' injury late in the second quarter.

"We're already short in depth there, and I think he's gone for the year," said Switzer. "That's a big loss. When I see Jerry Jones, I'm telling him he better go after Deion [Sanders, a free agent and All-Pro cornerback] hard now. Up the money. We need a quality person back there."

The Giants could not contain the Cowboys in the first half. Dallas upped its lead to 14-0 lead with 11:58 left when Aikman connected with Irvin on a 7-yard square-in to finish a seven-play, 65-yard drive that lasted nearly five minutes.

Dallas finished its scoring in the first half with a 1-yard run by Smith around left end with 6:52 remaining in the second quarter.

Dallas' defense was equally dominating in the first half. The Giants didn't cross into Dallas territory until their fifth possession of the game, and could only advance as far as the 19. Giants place-kicker Brad Daluiso's 42-yard field-goal attempt with 1:11 left was tipped by Leon Lett, as Dallas held a 21-0 lead at the half.

The Cowboys had 238 yards total offense in the half as Smith rushed for 108 yards on 12 carries. Smith had as much offense as the Giants, who had only 92 yards in the first half.

The Giants' highlight came during halftime, when the team retired former quarterback Phil Simms' No. 11.

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