The Cowboys offensive linemen prefer a low profile. They would rather let their play speak for itself. When they do talk, they don’t say much.
So leave it to Jason Witten to give them a pat on the back after the Cowboys rushed for 180 yards and passed for 227 yards against the vaunted Bengals defense.
“The standard for those guys in our run game is really, really high,” Witten said. “They’re hardest working group. They stay together. They take accountability when things don’t go well. Those first couple of weeks were tough for us to get some yards. They just kind of stuck with it and played really good, because that is a good front seven Cincinnati has, and it’s been that way a long time.”
Left tackle Tyron Smith returned to the lineup after missing two games with a bulging disc in his back. He played like his All-Pro self.
“It’s frustrating being out, but it’s a great feeling to be back with the guys,” Smith said. “They’re like brothers and happy to be back with them.”
Ron Leary started at left guard for the second week since La’el Collins was lost for the season with torn ligament in his right big toe. He looked like he had never missed a beat despite losing his starting job early last season and missing the offseason while seeking a trade.
“I think it’s a blessing,” Leary said. “I love football. I play with my heart all the time. Not playing, that was hard for me not playing. I just prayed a lot and I tried to stay the course and tried to be a pro about it. I’m just glad I get to play ball again. You hate to see injuries. LC is a great guy. But I’m just glad to get an opportunity to play football again.”
The offensive line set the tone on the first drive as the Cowboys took the opening kickoff and marched 64 yards in seven plays. Fifty-three of those yards came on the ground against a defense that had not allowed a 100-yard rusher in 15 games or a rushing touchdown this season.
“For us, we always try to set the tone early,” Smith said. “That’s what any offense around the league [wants]. You want to set the tone right away, so that’s all we were trying to do. We were trying to do our jobs and get it done.”