Five things to know from Bengals-Cowboys game

Tony Romo thought he had finished all his work by halftime, when

the first-team Cowboys offense finally scored a touchdown.

The Dallas quarterback had to get called back after their 24-18

victory over the Cincinnati Bengals.

Thinking he was done since he had given quotes to a team

official at halftime, after throwing two TD passes, Romo initially

left the locker room Saturday night without talking. He eventually

spoke on a conference call with reporters crowded around a

speakerphone in a small room.

”I thought it was important more than anything just to score

points and put us in a position to have a good feeling as we

finished the preseason with the starters,” Romo said. ”It was

something we needed to do to cap the preseason because we hadn’t

gotten in the end zone yet.”

In what expected to be the last game action for Romo and the

starters until their season opener in two weeks against the NFC

East rival New York Giants, Romo completed 13 of 18 passes for 137

yards, with TDs to Dez Bryant and Miles Austin.

There were five series for Romo, the same as his other two games

when the only score for the starters was a field goal.

Here are five things we learned from the Bengals and

Cowboys:

1. GREEN IS GOOD: Two-time Pro Bowl receiver A.J. Green made his

preseason debut for Cincinnati after being sidelined the first two

games because of a bruised left knee sustained in the first

training camp workout. He caught three passes for 42 yards, and was

a heel from having a touchdown – he didn’t quite get his second

foot down in bounds after a nifty catch on the far side of the end

zone in the third quarter. ”I felt good out there. Good to get

back, get my wind back,” Green said. Asked about Green’s solid

performance, quarterback Andy Dalton responded, ”It’s what I

expect.”

2. MURRAY’S RESPONSE: A primary emphasis for the Cowboys after

six turnovers their previous game was to take care of the football.

They didn’t have any turnovers, though No. 1 running back DeMarco

Murray fumbled inside the Cowboys 10 in the first quarter. Dallas

offensive tackle Jermey Parnell recovered and Murray stayed in for

the rest of that drive. But Murray then got benched until the

second half by coach Jason Garrett. Murray responded after coming

out with second-team quarterback Kyle Orton for the first drive

after halftime. Murray carried eight times for 45 yards, then

twisted and turned past five defenders to turn a short pass into a

7-yard touchdown.

3. GIVING IT AWAY: Cincinnati had four turnovers. The Bengals

fumbled on their first drive, after Marvin Jones was stripped

following a 16-yard catch to the Dallas 4. Andy Dalton threw an

interception in the second quarter. ”The fact we hurt ourselves is

the biggest thing,” said Dalton, who finished 12 of 16 for 113

yards. ”It will be a good tape to learn from.” It was the first

loss this preseason for the Bengals, who have been to the playoffs

each of the past two seasons and have most of the same players

back. ”Now we can quit having all that smoke puffed up our butts

and we can get back to work,” coach Marvin Lewis said.

4. STILL OUT OF LINE: The Cowboys are still moving players

around on the offensive line. Doug Free, who started all 16 games

at right tackle last year and every game the previous two seasons

at left tackle, played right guard. Parnell was at right tackle and

Mackenzy Bernadeau at left guard. Left tackle Tyron Smith and

center Travis Frederick played their regular spots. Romo was sacked

twice, including the first play of the game. The Cowboys had 18

running plays for 45 yards (2.5 yards per carry) in the first

half.

5. PUNT FOR THE SKY: Dallas punter Chris Jones knew when he

kicked the ball that it had a chance of hitting the huge video

boards that hang 90 feet above the center of the field. ”It goes

up there and gets in the shadows and then I saw it kind of flutter

down,” Jones said. The ball ricocheted off the framework that

holds the two boards – and still went 47 yards. By rule, that made

it a dead ball and necessitated a re-kick. Unfortunately for the

Cowboys, they didn’t get another do-over since Brandon Tate

returned the second kick 75 yards for a touchdown. The only other

time a punt hit the boards was in the very first preseason game in

August 2009, when Tennessee’s A.J. Trapasso got it.

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org