What a difference a week makes! 😉 Read a quick analysis of #CINvsDAL from the #DallasCowboys staff writers.#SecondThought | @lawboss— Dallas Cowboys (@dallascowboys) September 19, 2022
Cowboys vs. Bengals score, takeaways: Cooper Rush outduels Joe Burrow, leads Dallas to thrilling Week 2 win
Brett Maher kicked a 50-yard field goal on the final play to win the game
The Dallas Cowboys narrowly escaped the reigning AFC Champion Cincinnati Bengals in Week 2, as Brett Maher kicked a game-winning 50-yard field goal with just seconds remaining in the fourth quarter to win 20-17. With Dak Prescott out due to a thumb injury, Cooper Rush engineered a six-play, 33-yard drive with just under one minute remaining to set up Maher for the game-winning boot.
Rush proved to be an effective game manager, as he completed 19 of 31 passes for 235 yards and one touchdown. Noah Brown was his favorite target, catching five passes for 91 yards and a touchdown. While the Cowboys were in control for the first three quarters, the Bengals almost pulled off an incredible comeback.
Cincinnati's first touchdown of the game came at a pivotal juncture. Late in the fourth quarter, Joe Burrow led the offense 83 yards down the field on 19 plays to tie the game at 17 apiece with a touchdown pass to Tee Higgins, and a two-point conversion throw to Tyler Boyd. The Bengals had a chance on their next possession to engineer a game-winning drive, but instead went three-and-out, and set up Rush for a chance at glory -- which he capitalized on.
Let's take a deeper look at what went down in Big D.
Why the Cowboys won
The Cowboys were the only team in the NFL to not score a touchdown in Week 1, but this offense scored two in the first half on Sunday. Dallas struck quickly on its opening drive, as Rush led an impressive 12-play, 75-yard drive which was capped by a Brown touchdown. After a Bengals field goal, Rush led another touchdown drive -- which was sparked by an impressive Tony Pollard 47-yard catch-and-run. The play was initially ruled a touchdown, but the officials overturned the result and placed the ball at the 1-yard line. Dallas decided to reward Pollard for his effort, and he punched in the second score of the game from the goal line. The Cowboys outgained the Bengals in the first half 227 yards to 84 yards.
The Cowboys' strong offensive start is a reason why Dallas emerged victorious on Sunday, but it's not the main reason. The Cowboys won this game because of their tenacious pass rush and the six sacks they created. Burrow didn't have many opportunities to look downfield, he never found a rhythm through three quarters and sacks put the offense behind the eight ball several times. Micah Parsons and the defense willed this team to a win.
Why the Bengals lost
The Bengals knew they had to fix the offensive line this offseason. While they made several additions that looked good on paper with center Ted Karras, right guard Alex Cappa and right tackle La'el Collins, this offensive front isn't performing any better compared to last year. Coming into Sunday, the Bengals had allowed seven or more sacks in three of the last four games, including postseason. The offensive line allowed 10-plus pressures in each of their last four games, and Sunday wasn't any different.
Burrow was sacked six times, and Collins, the former Cowboys-turned-Bengals right tackle, was accused by fans on social media of being a double agent, as he struggled with his former teammate, Parsons, and had multiple false-start penalties.
The lion is on the prowl 🦁 @MicahhParsons11— Dallas Cowboys (@dallascowboys) September 18, 2022
📺: #CINvsDAL ➡️ @NFLonCBS pic.twitter.com/yjgAxgoNrX
This was the story of the game, and it's a major cause for concern when it comes to the Bengals' ceiling this season. The Bengals have some issues to correct after falling to 0-2. Seven NFL teams started 0-2 last season, and none made the 14-team playoff field.
It felt like we were going to overtime. No disrespect to Rush, but the Cowboys had less than a minute left in the fourth quarter and were operating from their own 35-yard line. However, that didn't faze the quarterback. Rush found Brown for 12 yards on second down, then hit CeeDee Lamb for 10 yards on the very next play. Those two completions got Dallas into position to kick the game-winning field goal.
Play of the Game
Cowboys fans have been calling for more touches from Tony Pollard -- as they should. This play set the Cowboys up for their second touchdown of the game. Not only did Pollard show impressive vision in finding the opening, but he also exploded around the edge and up the sideline.
Tony Pollard. 47 yards!— NFL (@NFL) September 18, 2022
📺: #CINvsDAL on CBS
📱: Stream on NFL+ https://t.co/AyfpfGIkql pic.twitter.com/3hgoBHpER7
The Cowboys hit the road for the first time this season next week, as they will pay a visit to the undefeated New York Giants for "Monday Night Football." As for the Bengals, they will travel to New Jersey to take on the 1-1 Jets next Sunday, who upset the Cleveland Browns earlier today.
Start fast, finish strong, let's celebrate! Check out the initial breakdown of #CINvsDAL.#GameRecap | @bswhealth— Dallas Cowboys (@dallascowboys) September 19, 2022
Join us LIVE for our first OT presented by @Blockchain & a look into today's #CINvsDAL press conference.— Dallas Cowboys (@dallascowboys) September 19, 2022
📺: @NFLonCBS https://t.co/x6zFYhPcek
Learn and move forward.— Cincinnati Bengals (@Bengals) September 19, 2022
Bengals l @OHLottery pic.twitter.com/VgXcyuLZjX
Remember this feeling…this is what it’s all about! - @BinghamBaller9 #CINvsDAL | #DallasCowboys pic.twitter.com/Jzv542ZtXe— Dallas Cowboys (@dallascowboys) September 19, 2022
Hear from @TrevonDiggs after the @dallascowboys W! #CINvsDAL pic.twitter.com/Di6TkiRTUf— NFL (@NFL) September 19, 2022
UnderDawgs 🤘🏿— DeMarcus Lawrence (@TankLawrence) September 19, 2022
Brothers through and through 🤝#CINvsDAL | #FootballisFamily pic.twitter.com/U8a5nt1VTD— Dallas Cowboys (@dallascowboys) September 19, 2022
It's the anticipation for us! Pretty sure all of #CowboysNation looked like this on the final play 😂 https://t.co/iBU3pyv83o— Dallas Cowboys (@dallascowboys) September 18, 2022
How bout dem Cowboys!!!!— Izzy 🇨🇩 (@IsraelMukuamu) September 18, 2022
Brett motherfucking Maher— Jayron Kearse (@Jayronkearse8) September 18, 2022
Kickin' it up a notch with our #CINvsDAL Player of the Game 🤩#DallasCowboys | @pepsi pic.twitter.com/h8hoDWQTOi— Dallas Cowboys (@dallascowboys) September 18, 2022
Head Coach Zac Taylor and Bengals players speak to the media. https://t.co/Li1Dd5xit9— Cincinnati Bengals (@Bengals) September 18, 2022
MAHER DID THAT! FOR THE WIN!🙌— Dallas Cowboys (@dallascowboys) September 18, 2022
📺:#CINvsDAL ➡️ @NFLonCBS pic.twitter.com/sDO9Fxp41S
Who dey?.... WE DEM BOYZ! #DallasCowboys WIN at the buzzer!!!#CINvsDAL | @WinStarWorld pic.twitter.com/tKz2cfIYkD— Dallas Cowboys (@dallascowboys) September 18, 2022
First win always feels good! 🙌— Dallas Cowboys (@dallascowboys) September 18, 2022
Join the crew LIVE as they rundown #CINvsDAL on First Word presented by @drpepper.
📺: @NFLonCBS https://t.co/uxNeKfIU1p
NOTICE: Cowboys have just one timeout.
Trevon Diggs with an MVP-like play. Third down for the Bengals, and he took down Tyler Boyd in the open field for a loss.
BIG time play by Trevon Diggs to get off the field! 💪#CINvsDAL | #DallasCowboys pic.twitter.com/CzejQEQBZJ— Dallas Cowboys (@dallascowboys) September 18, 2022
Cowboys to punt after just four plays. Drive started off strong with a 24-yard completion to CeeDee Lamb, but fell apart after that. Here comes Burrow.
19 plays, 83 yards. Wild drive.
With two sacks today, @dallascowboys linebacker Micah Parsons becomes just the fourth Cowboys defender to start a season with multiple sacks in each of the first two games, with DeMarcus Lawrence (2017), DeMarcus Ware (2011) and Charles Haley (1994). (Since 1982) @NFLonCBS— Dallas Cowboys Public Relations (@DallasCowboysPR) September 18, 2022
TIE GAME Two-point conversion for Cincy is good! Burrow finds Tyler Boyd in the middle of the end zone. What can Cooper Rush do now with the spotlight on him?
TB FOR 2⃣!— Cincinnati Bengals (@Bengals) September 18, 2022
TEEDEEEEEEEE!#CINvsDAL | 📺 CBS pic.twitter.com/ekDA3dMsI2— Cincinnati Bengals (@Bengals) September 18, 2022
TEE HIGGINS TOUCHDOWN. The Bengals are now just down two points! 3:45 remaining.
It's incredible. It felt like the Cowboys controlled this entire matchup -- from the first drive. Now, the Bengals have momentum.
Ja'Marr secures the first down! pic.twitter.com/tlvE3OdC2A— Cincinnati Bengals (@Bengals) September 18, 2022
CLUTCH fourth-down conversion for the Bengals. Things are getting very real, very fast. Ja'Marr Chase comes up big!
This is now the Bengals' longest drive of the game -- and they needed it. 13 plays 56 yards and counting. Cowboys defense has been on the field for a long time this half it feels like.