Romo 2 TD passes, Cowboys beat Bengals 24-18
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys’ first-team offense finally got into the end zone.
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, who got their first touchdown after an unusual re-kick.
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In his first home action since getting a six-year, $108 million contract extension during the offseason, Romo played five series. That matched how much the first-teamers 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 and the starters almost certainly won’t play Thursday night’s preseason finale against Houston.
Cincinnati had four turnovers.
Romo completed 13 of 18 passes with TD passes of 5 yards to Dez Bryant and 12 yards to Miles Austin, all before halftime for a 14-7 lead.
Bryant finished with six catches for 54 yards, including consecutive 15-yard receptions on the same drive of his game-tying touchdown. Austin had four catches for 59 yards and eight-time Pro Bowler Jason Witten, whose 110 catches last season were the most ever by a tight end, had his first catch of the preseason.
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.
Dalton was picked off by rookie cornerback B.W. Webb in the second quarter.
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.