By Alex Al-Kazzaz
Without a doubt, the Cincinnati Bengals arrived at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas with destruction on their mind. After a frustrating home loss in Week 1 against Pittsburgh, the Bengals needed a team to take that frustration at on and it seemed as though the Dallas Cowboys were that team. However, let's just say that things didn't quite turn that way. Not for Joe Burrow & Company at least. Because Cincinnati is now...0-2. Super Bowl hangover confirmed yet?
The Cowboys surprisingly started off great. The offense was productive and the defense was well intact. Dallas led 14 to 3 after the first quarter! Going into halftime, Dallas led 17-3! All was going quite well for the Cowboys despite a few offensive mishaps. The defense was able to hold off the Bengals offense and as long as the Cowboys offense was able to be effective, the Cowboys had a must-needed balanced team.
Cincinnati started this second half with the ball and was able to add three more points. After Dallas was quickly forced into a three and out after only THREE plays for THREE yards, the Bengals drove down the field again only to settle for three points. Dallas is driving down the field and all of a sudden, Dalton Schultz coughs off the ball after making a first-down catch and the game's momentum is all of a sudden shifted. Dallas forced Burrow & Company to punt, but the Cowboys' offense could not respond, meaning they had to punt right back to Cincinnati.
Cincinnati's next drive took nearly NINE minutes. Burrow and the offense slowly drove up the field, taking their sweet time, and wearing out the Cowboys' defense. Trailing 17-9, they could not punt the ball, commit a turnover, or even settle for three points. Settling for eight points was the only option. And they were able to achieve that objective and tie the game at 17 with less than four minutes to go.
After another disappointing offensive drive, the Cowboys were again forced to punt and Cincinnati had their chance. Miraculously the Dallas defense found a way to step up and DENY Burrow & Company their golden opportunity to win the game. So all of a sudden, it seemed that perhaps the momentum was again in Dallas' favor. Not really, considering the offense had again lost its touch. The Cowboys were in a situation with an overwhelming amount of pressure and Dallas usually crumbles in such situations.
There were only 57 seconds on the clock and Dallas only had ONE timeout. The Cowboys were on the 35-yard line and they had to get into field goal range. After driving 22 yards, Dallas sacrificed their final timeout despite NOT being in field goal range. After a three-yard gain on a run, the clock was running and Dallas had to get in position so they can spike, which they did with FOUR seconds left. Out came Brett Maher and it was down to a 50-yard kick for the win. Maher had previously converted a 54-yard kick earlier, so Maher had full confidence. Surprisingly, Bengals Head Coach Zac Taylor did NOT ice Maher. So Maher made the attempt and the kick was good, resulting in Dallas improving to 1-1 and Cincinnati dropping to 0-2.
Burrow was sacked six times against Dallas. Micah Parsons registered two sacks, thus becoming the fourth Cowboy in history to begin a season with multiple sacks in the first two games. Parsons joins DeMarcus Lawrence in 2017, DeMarcus Ware in 2011, and Charles Haley in 1994. On a positive note, Cooper Rush was sacked only once, which is good considering the Cowboys are dealing with offensive line issues.
The Cowboys' offense produced over 330 yards of total offense and was able to rush for over 100 yards. Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard combined for 24 carries for 96 yards total. The running game did look better, but there's much room for improvement. On a positive note, Noah Brown led the receiving with five catches for 91 yards and a touchdown. CeeDee Lamb had a better game with seven catches for 75 yards.
A good day for the Cowboys' defense; keeping Burrow under 200 yards through the air, and keeping Ja'Marr Chase and Tee Higgins under 100 yards receiving. Sadly, they were unable to force turnovers, but the six sacks are highly respectable. The results of the matchup between Trevon Diggs and Chase tell quite a story!
Dallas is to now prepare for a trip to New York to take on the 2-0 Giants on Monday Night Football. Cincinnati, on the other hand, will also be traveling to New York to take on the Jets who are coming off a brilliant upsetting win over the Cleveland Browns. The Bengals are at the bottom of the AFC North. Dallas is also at the bottom of the NFC East. Both teams have a lot to work on.