The Dallas Cowboys found some defense to go along with their rookie-led offense on Sunday at AT&T Stadium.
Rookie quarterback Dak Prescott threw one touchdown and ran for another while Ezekiel Elliott added 134 rushing yards and two touchdowns in the Cowboys surprisingly easy 28-14 win over the Cincinnati Bengals in front of a crowd of 91,653.
Prescott completed 18 of 24 passes for 227 yards. He has thrown 155 passes without an interception.
“I thought out guys controlled the line of scrimmage. That was the challenge coming in. We had to control the line of scrimmage,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. “That was the difference in the game.”
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The Cowboys finished with 402 yards of total offense, including 180 rushing. Dallas had eight rushing first downs and averaged 6.2 yards per rush.
“They (offensive line) are the heart of the offense,” Prescott said. “We go as they go.”
The Cowboys (4-1) built a 28-0 lead while the defense put the clamps on TCU ex Andy Dalton and the Bengals.
The Cowboys pitched a shutout through three quarters before the Bengals (2-3) scored twice in the fourth on Dalton’s touchdown passes of 7 and 5 yards to Brandon LeFell.
Dalton, under pressure all day, completed 29 of 41 passes for 269 yards. Dalton was sacked four times.
“The pass rush helped,” Garrett said. “We were around him all day long.”
The Cowboys jumped on the Bengals quickly with a seven-play, 64-yard scoring drive on the first series of the game. Dallas established the running game on the drive with six of the seven plays on the ground. Elliott did the majority of the work with four carries for 42 yards. He closed the drive with three consecutive runs of 17, 9 and 13 yards. The 13-yarder resulted in a touchdown and a 7-0 lead at the 11:09 mark.
On the third play of the second quarter, Prescott scored on a 5-yard run. The touchdown ended an 11-play, 89-yard drive that included six passes and five runs. The key play on the drive was an illegal contact penalty on the Bengals on a third-and-goal play from the 10. Prescott’s touchdown made it 14-0.
The lead grew to 21-0 when Prescott threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Cole Beasley. That drive capped an eight-play, 80-yard drive.
The Cowboys led in total offense 264-150 and first downs 15-8 at the break.
“The key to the game was our efficiency on offense,” Garrett said.
The Bengals received the second-half kickoff and marched to the Cowboys’ 32.
However, Mike Nugent missed a 50-yard field goals wide left.
On the next play, Elliott broke free through the middle on a 60-yard touchdown to make it 28-0.
The Cowboys were in position for another score, but Prescott fumbled while getting sacked and, after wild scramble for the ball, Vincent Ray recovered and ran to the 41.
Cincinnati converted the turnover into points.
Dalton threw a 7-yard touchdown to LeFell to make it 28-7 with 10:10 left in the game.
Dalton threw a 5-yard touchdown to LeFell again to make it 28-14 with 2:39 left in the game.
Elliott recovered the ensuing onside kick and the Cowboys ran out the clock to secure their fourth consecutive win.