Lance McAlister

Lance McAlister

Lance McAlister covers everything in Cincinnati sports! Host of sports talk on Cincinnati News Radio 700WLW and ESPN 1530!Full Bio

 

Bengals fall to 0-2 on Cowboys field goal at the gun

Photo: Getty Images

Cowboys 20 Bengals 17

Brett Maher kicked a game-winning 50-yard field at the gun to beat the Bengals 20-17 and drop them to 0-2 on the season.
Dallas back-up QB Cooper Rush drove the Cowboys 33 yards in six plays to set up the game-winning kick, after Joe Burrow had thrown short of the 1st down line for a one yard completion to Tyler Boyd on 3rd and 3 at the Bengal 15-yard line with 1:14 remaining.

So, about the national narrative about the Bengals all offseason. This somehow feels worse than 0-2. I don't recognize this team. The OL might very well be worse than a year ago. The explosive plays are gone from the offense.

Slow start, again: The Bengals have fallen behind 17-3 in consecutive weeks. Each time they have scrambled back to tie the game, only to then lose in walkoff fashion. The Cowboys scored on the opening drive and outgained the Bengals 155-34 in the opening quarter and 227-84 in the 1st half.

O-no: The Bengals offense was plodding much of the day. Dallas took away big plays with coverage and pressure limited Burrow's opportunities down the field. The Bengals struggled with 1st down penalties that got them off schedule. They started 3 of 12 on 3rd down, before finishing 6 of 17. Burrow averaged an Andy Dalton like 3.9 yards per completion/Cooper Rush 7.2. His longest pass play was 19 yards (Tee Higgins). Burrow was sacked six times...24-36-TD, 199 yards...QB rating 89.9. He was visibly frustrated and rarely seemed comfortable. He was 9 of 12 for just 42 yards, with 4 sacks in the first half, without a throw to Higgins or Boyd. Chris Evans played one offensive snap.

Drive time: Trailing 17-9 with 12:38 left in the game, the Bengals marched 19 plays, 83 yards in 8:54 to tie the game on a Burrow five-yard TD to Higgins and a two-point conversion pass to Tyler Boyd with 3:45 remaining. They converted three 3rd downs and a 4th down on the drive. Facing 3rd and 10 on their own 18 on that drive, Burrow rolled left under pressure had connected with Higgins for 16-yards. Ja'Marr Chase made a sweet snag on a 4th and 6 from the Dallas 28-yard line with 6:03 left. Hayden Hurst made two 3rd down catches on the drive. Per ESPN, it's the Bengals longest scoring drive for TD in terms of plays since 2001.
Final sequence: The Bengals tied the game with 3:45 remaining and then forced a Cowboys punt with 2:20 left. But the Bengals offense went three and out when Burrow threw short to Higgins, who was wrapped up by Trevon Diggs. Dallas took over on their own 35 with :57 left after a 63-yard punt by Kevin Huber. Rush moved Dallas 30 yards in three plays, setting up the game-winning FG three plays later.

OL: Six sacks. Nine QB hits. Three false starts, two by La'el Collins, one by Alex Cappa. Five false starts for season. The Bengals lost TE Drew Sample to a knee injury in the 2nd quarter. The Bengals used De'Ante Smith as a 6th OL, 2 TE's and Samaje Perine at times. Protection was better in the second half. The Bengals have allowed an NFL high 13 sacks while recording just two.

Run game, anyone? If defenses are going to focus on taking away deep balls the run game has to make them pay. They Bengals haven't been able to do that. Joe Mixon carried 19 times for 57 yards (3.0). Burrown scrambled four times for 26 yards.

Micah Parson's was a one man wrecking crew for the Cowboys. The Bengals had no answer for him. Two sacks, two tackles for loss, five QB hits. On one play, Drew Sample motioned from the edge to the middle, leaving Parsons free and unblocked off the edge to force a 3rd down incompletion.
Physicality: The Cowboys hit and hammered on tackles, twice drawing personal foul penalties on hits of Burrow.

Who? Dallas WR Noah Brown had a career day with 5 catches on 5 targets for 91 yards and a TD vs Eli Apple. He set the tone with a 17-yard catch on 4th and 2 and then a 9-yard TD catch to cap a 12 play/75 yard opening drive. Later, he added a 28-yard catch on 3rd and 9.

What? Trailing 14-3 in the 2nd quarter and facing 4th and 6 at the Dallas 42, Zac Taylor elected to punt, rather than give Burrow a shot or try a 60-yard FG?

D: Allowed 20 points on the road....just three in the second half. They allowed back-to-back 75-yard TD drives to open the game. They allowed Rush to march the Cowboys 6 plays/33 yards in :57 to set up the winning FG. 3rd Down: 3-10. Hubbard repeatedly made plays with a sack, multiple pressures and a big tackle for loss and pressure on the second to last drive of the day. They recorded their first turnover of the season when Von Bell forced a fumble that was recovered by DJ Reader later in the 3rd quarter. But missed multiple shots at INT....a couple by Mike Hilton, one by Hubbard a tip by Logan Wilson that was tantalizingly close to a Chido Awuzie pick. Two defensive snaps for Dax Hill?

Special teams: Evan McPherson was 3 for 3 on FG (43-46-50) with new long-snapper Cal Adomitis. Trent Taylor has a nifty 20-yard punt return. Still not sure how the officials ruled the Dallas punt did not hit the overhead scoreboard.

The Bengals are 0-2 vs Mitchell Trubisky and Cooper Rush.

Tendency breaking: After week long scrutiny about offensive predictability, the Bengals ran the ball on the first play of the game with Burrow under center.
They ran from the shotgun on the next two plays. Burrow did have some success with play under from under center.

The Bengals are now 1-27 under Zac Taylor when trailing heading to the 4th quarter.

After watching the Steelers, Browns and Ravens all lose in 1pm games, the Bengals blew a chance to draw even in the AFC North.


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