Prescott solid, Dalton sluggish as Bengals top Cowboys 21-13
Prescott led a pair of scoring drives in three possessions, capped with a scrambling 6-yard scoring pass to Terrance Williams before the Bengals rallied after halftime for a 21-13 exhibition victory Saturday night.
The Bengals had just one first down in four Dalton-led possessions a week after he threw for two touchdowns with an offense that was revamped after finishing last in the NFL. The lone first down was on Dalton’s 13-yard scramble after the Bengals (2-0) started with a pair of three-and-outs.
A week after throwing a 30-yard touchdown to rookie Michael Gallup on his only drive of the preseason opener in San Francisco, Prescott was 10 of 15 for 86 yards. The TD drive for a 10-0 lead was kept alive by an 8-yard slant to Gallup, who reached out for a nice catch inside the Cincinnati 10.
The concern for the Cowboys (0-2) was the status of four-time Pro Bowl guard Zack Martin, who left early on what would have been his last drive with a knee injury. There was no immediate update on the severity of the injury, which happened when Martin bent down to block cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick in the open field on a run by Rod Smith.
Dalton’s final possession ended when Dallas defensive end Taco Charlton forced a fumble on a short completion to Tyler Boyd, with cornerback Byron Jones getting the recovery. Dalton was 5 of 7 for 41 yards.
The Cowboys forced two turnovers after getting three against the 49ers. The highlight was Chidobe Awuzie‘s leaping interception , which he tipped to himself along the sideline late in the first half.
Cincinnati’s first points came on backup kicker Jonathan Brown‘s 55-yard field goal in the third quarter.
The Bengals went ahead 11-10 when Tra Carson scored on a 2-yard run and Jeff Driskel threw a 2-point conversion pass to John Ross. Matt Barkley‘s 3-yard touchdown pass to Brian Hill wrapped up the scoring midway through the fourth quarter.
LONG TIME COMING
Dallas defensive end Randy Gregory played for the first time since the finale of the 2016 regular season. He missed all of last season after getting suspended three times in 2016 for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy. Gregory didn’t show up in the defensive stats but pressured Dalton on a third-down misfire to an open A.J. Green on Cincinnati’s opening possession.
TALE OF TWO WORKLOADS
With star running back Ezekiel Elliott sitting again for Dallas, Smith had 13 carries in the first 18 minutes, finishing with 49 yards. His workload was helped by a nearly nine-minute drive to Williams’ touchdown. Bengals starter Joe Mixon got just four carries for 8 yards.
Dallas linebacker Sean Lee started and played a few snaps after finally going through a full practice for the first time this past week at training camp in California.
The work in progress that is the overhauled offensive line for the Bengals remains that way, this time after fired line coach Paul Alexander was watching from the opposing sideline after getting hired by Dallas. Cedric Ogbuehi was at right tackle to start the second half when gave up a sack to Charlton while getting called for holding. Cincinnati running backs had just 7 yards on six carries before halftime.
The Cowboys were standing for the national anthem in the first preseason home game, “toe on the line” as owner Jerry Jones declared they would be in his opening remarks at training camp last month. The Dallas players, with some coaches sprinkled in, were single file on the sideline, spanning about 50 yards. As usual, all the Bengals were standing.
Bengals: Rookie CB Davontae Harris was ruled out with a knee injury in the first half. … TE C.J. Uzomah sustained a cut to his face early in the game, but came back with a 23-yard catch in the first half.
Cowboys: S Xavier Woods left with a hamstring injury. … Rookie RB Bo Scarbrough, a seventh-round pick out of Alabama, went to the locker room with a hip injury. … DE Datone Jones and S Jameill Showers left with knee injuries.
For “dress rehearsal” week, the Bengals will be at Buffalo and the Cowboys will be home against Arizona. Both games are next Sunday.
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