The Dallas defense has been showing up in the preseason this year, but against the Cincinnati Bengals on a Saturday evening, the offense showed up as well to put a lot of concerns to rest for the Dallas Cowboys hopes for the 2013 season. Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys’ first-team offense finally got into the end zone in their fourth preseason game (they played the season opener Hall of Fame Game).
Romo played five series in what is likely his final preseason game. That matched the number of series the first-teamer’s had played in the Cowboys’ last two preseason games — when they had a field goal, a missed field goal, a punt and then two fumbles at the end of two big plays in a loss at Arizona last week.
After six turnovers against the Cardinals, Dallas had none in their dress rehearsal game that came two weeks before the season opener against the New York Giants. Romo threw for 137 yards and two touchdowns Saturday night in likely his last preseason action and the Cowboys won 24-18 over the Cincinnati Bengals. Romo and the starters almost certainly won’t play Thursday night’s preseason finale against Houston.
Dallas gave up one score in the first half, but even that was an unusual play on a first quarter punt. Cowboys punter Chris Jones had a kick late in the first quarter that ricocheted off the framework that holds up the two big boards. Officials looked at replays to confirm the kick that still went 47 yards hit the board, which by rule makes the ball dead. The Cowboys wished they could have had a do-over on the re-kick.
Brandon Tate returned the punt 75 yards for a touchdown, quickly getting past the initial wave of Cowboys defenders and into an opening down the right sideline and past Jones, the last player with a chance to get him. It was only the second time a punt hit the boards that hang 90 feet above the field. The only other time it happened was in the very first preseason game there in August 2009, when Tennessee’s A.J. Trapasso hit the board.
Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton was 12 of 16 passes for 113 yards and an interception. Pro Bowl receiver A.J. Green, who missed the first two preseason games because of a bruised left knee sustained during the first training camp workout, had three catches for 42 yards. Cincinnati’s first drive of the game ended when Marvin Jones fumbled at the Cowboys 4 after a 16-yard reception when he was stripped by Barry Church and the ball was recovered by Brandon Carr.
By the end of the game, the Dallas first team defense has not surrendered a touchdown throughout the preseason, and with the four Cincinnati turnovers, the Dallas Cowboys have created nine turnovers so far. In the entire 2012 season, the Cowboys had only created 22 turnovers.
Dez Bryant and Miles Austin each hauled in a touchdown pass from Romo, with Bryant finishing with six catches for 54 yards. Austin had 59 yards on four receptions for the Cowboys, who will wrap up their preseason Thursday against the Houston Texans. Balancing the passing attack, the Cowboys had an excellent three-headed rushing attack as well. Julius Randle ran for 66 yards on 16 carries, DeMarco Murray caught a touchdown and had 51 yards on 12 rushes and Phillip Tanner had 39 yards on 14 carries
Playing against the Cowboys’ second-team defense to start the second half, Cincinnati quickly moved down the field. Dalton threw for 18 yards to running back Giovani Bernard with an extra 15 yards because of a facemask penalty before a 26-yard catch by Green to the Dallas 16.
Green then made a nifty catch on a fade pass from Dalton to the right side of the end zone, but the receiver’s second heel came down just out of bounds. The Bengals had to settle for Quinn Sharp’s 28-yard field goal.
DeMarco Murray turned and twisted around five defenders to turn a short pass in the flat from Kyle Orton into a 7-yard touchdown in the third quarter that capped a 14-play, 86-yard drive.
Murray, the No. 1 running back who missed the final six games last season with a sprained left foot, had four carries for 6 yards in the first half. He finished with 12 rushes for 51 yards and two catches for 14 yards.
Rookie receiver Cobi Hamilton, a sixth-round pick by the Bengals last April, had a 4-yard TD catch from Josh Johnson in the fourth quarter.
With this win, the Dallas Cowboys can rest their starters in the final preseason game and allow reserve players to play their last preseason game in hopes of making a roster spot. The season opens with a home game against their division nemesis, New York Giants.
Written by: @milroyigglesfan