cowboys vs. Bengals score, takeaways: Cooper Rush beats Joe Burrow to lead Dallas to thrilling Week 2 win

The Dallas Cowboys narrowly escaped the reigning AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals in Week 2, when Brett Maher kicked a game-winning 50-yard field goal with just seconds left in the fourth quarter to win 20-17. With Dak Prescott out with a thumb injury, Cooper Rush designed a six-play, 33-yard drive with just under a minute left to set Maher up for the game-winning boat.

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 made an incredible comeback.

Cincinnati’s first touchdown of the game came at a crucial moment. Late in the fourth quarter, Joe Burrow led the offense 83 yards further 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 to make a game-winning drive on their next possession, but instead they went three-and-out, setting Rush up for a shot at glory – which he capitalized on.

Let’s take a closer look at what happened in Big D.

Why did the Cowboys win?

The Cowboys were the only team in the NFL not to score a touchdown in Week 1, but this offense scored two in the first half on Sunday. Dallas struck quickly on his opening drive, as Rush led an impressive 12-play, 75-yard drive that was capped by a Brown touchdown. After a Bengals field goal, Rush led another touchdown drive – which was sparked by an impressive 47-yard catch-and-run from Tony Pollard. The play was initially rated as a touchdown, but the umpires overturned the result and placed the ball on the 1-yard line. Dallas decided to reward Pollard for his effort and he drove in the second score of the game from the goal line. The Cowboys defeated the Bengals 227 yards to 84 yards in the first half.

The Cowboys’ strong offensive start is one reason Dallas triumphed 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 chances to look at the field, he never found a rhythm through three quarters and sacks put the attack behind the eight ball several times. Micah Parsons and the defense wanted this team to win.

Why did the Bengals lose?

The Bengals knew they had to fix the offensive line this offseason. While they’ve 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. Starting on Sunday, the Bengals had allowed seven or more layoffs in three of their last four games, including postseason. The offensive line allowed more than ten pressures in each of their last four games, and Sunday was no different.

Burrow was fired six times and Collins, the former Cowboys turned-Bengals, was accused by fans on social media of being a double agent while wrestling with his former teammate, Parsons, and receiving multiple false start penalties.

This was the story of the match, and it is a major cause for concern when it comes to Bengal’s ceiling this season. The Bengals are having some trouble correcting after falling to 0-2. Seven NFL teams started 0-2 last season and none made it to the 14-team playoff field.

Turning point

It felt like we were going to work overtime. No disrespect to Rush, but the Cowboys had less than a minute left in the fourth quarter, operating from their own 35-yard line. That didn’t bother the quarterback, though. Rush found Brown in second for 12 yards and then hit CeeDee Lamb for 10 yards on the next game. Those two completions put Dallas in position to kick the winning field goal.

Game of the game

Cowboys fans have been asking for more touches from Tony Pollard — as they should. This game set the Cowboys up for their second touchdown of the game. Pollard not only showed impressive vision in finding the opening, but he also exploded around the rim and down the sidelines.

What’s next

The Cowboys will hit the road for the first time this season next week as they will visit the undefeated New York Giants for “Monday Night Football.” As for the Bengals, they travel to New Jersey next Sunday to face the 1-1 Jets, who upset the Cleveland Browns earlier today.

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