Mandatory Credit: Photo by Ron Jenkins/AP/Shutterstock (13400538bl) Dallas Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons (11) celebrates sacking Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (9) during the second half of an NFL football game, in Arlington, Tx Bengals Cowboys Football, Arlington, United States – 18 Sep 2022
The Dallas Cowboys got a 50-yard field goal as time expired to beat the defending AFC Champion Cincinnati Bengals 20-17 on Sunday afternoon in Dallas.
Late game heroics
The Cowboys got just enough from backup quarterback Cooper Rush and their offense late on Sunday afternoon to set up a Brett Maher field goal for the win.
The Cowboys got the ball with just 57 seconds to play and the game tied, but Rush was not phased. He completed passes of 8 yards to CeeDee Lamb, 12 yards to Noah Brown, and then 10 yards to Lamb to set up the Maher kick.
It was the only points the Cowboys scored in the second half after taking a 17-3 lead to the locker room at halftime.
Rush finished with 235 yards passing and one touchdown, a 9-yard toss to Noah Brown on the game’s first drive.
Parsons, front seven wreak havoc
The Cowboys front seven made life difficult for quarterback Joe Burrow and the Bengals’ offense on Sunday. The Cowboys, led by linebacker Micah Parsons, finished with six sacks while allowing just 254 total yards on the day.
Burrow, harassed all day by the Cowboys, completed 24 of 36 passes for 199 yards and one touchdown to Tee Higgins during the Bengals’ second-half comeback.
But the Cincinnati signal never really looked comfortable on any of his three-dozen passes.
Parsons and defensive end Dorance Armstrong led the way with two sacks each, while Leighton Vander Esch and Dante Fowler each finished with one. The Cowboys added three more hurries of Burrow and tackles behind the line of scrimmage on runs by defensive end Sam Williams and safety Donovan Wilson in the victory.
The pressure caused three false start penalties on the Cincinnati offensive line, two coming on former Cowboy La’el Collins.
Offensive line improves
With a backup quarterback getting the start, the Cowboys were going to need a good game for a very inexperienced offensive line, and they got it.
With just one start between them, left guard Matt Farniok and left tackle Tyler Smith kept the Bengals pass rushers in check all afternoon.
Rush was sacked just once, while the Cowboys’ offensive line was not penalized during the game.
Return game leads to points
Special teams played a key role late in the first half when KaVontae Turpin returned a Bengals punt 20 yards to set Dallas up near midfield.
Turpin, who had two punt returns for 34 yards in the win, weaved through the Bengals defenders before being tackled at the Cincinnati 49 with just 64 seconds left in the second quarter.
The Cowboys were able to march it forward 13 yards before Brett Maher knocked through a 54-yard field goal for the two-touchdown halftime lead.
Getting it cleaned up
One of the most penalized teams in the NFL over the last few seasons, the Cowboys were called for just five penalties by referee Brad Allen and his crew against Cincinnati.
While two of the penalties were personal fouls, it was a five-yard offsides call on fourth down and the Bengals punting early in the second half that gave Cincy a first down and eventually led to a field goal.
Allen’s crew worked the Cowboys’ Week 6 win over New England last season, where they called 17 total accepted penalties in the game, including 12 of the 14 called against the Cowboys for 114 yards.
Dallas was called for 10 penalties for 73 yards in its Week 1 loss to Tampa Bay.