ARLINGTON The Cincinnati Bengals were supposed to be the team that put the upstart Dallas Cowboys in their place.
But it was a veteran Bengals team, a perennial playoff contender, which was left smarting following a 28-14 shellacking by the Cowboys, led by dueling rookie of the year candidate quarterback Dak Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott.
The Cowboys led 21-0 at halftime and 28-0 after three quarters before the Bengals got on the board with two late scores.
The Cowboys dominated the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, but especially on the offensive line. Prescott completed 18 of 24 passes for 227 yards with a touchdown passing and a touchdown running. Elliott had 134 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries.
It was the third consecutive game of more than 130 rushing yards for the NFL’s leading rusher.
“They beat us all the way around the board,” Bengals cornerback Adam Jones said. “They were the better team. Great game plan, because we couldn’t stop them anywhere. … We are going to have to do some gut checking. Everybody needs to take a deep look at themselves and figure out how each person can get better to help the team. That goes for me. That goes for anybody else you want to name. Because at the end of the day, when it is looking right, everybody is doing the right thing. Of course, we are going to lose some plays. But to come out here and get beat like this, this is embarrassing.”
The maligned Cowboys defense did its part even before the score got out of the hand with a 28-point lead going in the fourth quarter.
The Bengals offense, however, was unable get untracked early. The Cowboys recorded a season-high four sacks while quarterback Andy Dalton passed for 269 yards on 41 attempts. He was 16 of 17 for 130 yards and two touchdowns in the fourth quarter, but it was too little too late.
The Bengals came to Dallas with 10 days rest after a 22-7 victory against the Miami Dolphins Sept. 29. They had hoped to get a second consecutive win and re-establish their position as one of the league’s top perennially strong teams after a slow start to the season.
But it was the Cowboys who made their mark on Sunday.
“Wins in the NFL are hard to get,” Bengals tackle Andrew Whitworth said. “I don’t think this was a gimme win. I think that’s a helluva football team over there. They’ve got some special players. So, we knew this was going to be a tough to come on the road, come here in their place and play well. We obviously didn’t stop them and we obviously didn’t make any plays on offense.”