The game started on a somber note as the Dallas Cowboys played just 24 hours after learning they lost a player to a car accident and another player in jail for the same accident. Jerry Brown and Josh Brent were on the minds of the team as pre-game video showed some players getting emotional. Fox Sports even took the time out to pay their respects to the lost Cowboys player. Quarterback Tony Romo was quoted as saying, “It’s been a tough 24 hours.” The Bengals showed a lot of class by having a moment of silence as well. It has been a tough 24 hours, but the Cowboys still had to play a football game. With the playoffs on the line, they needed to have a good showing against a good Cincinnati Bengals team.
First quarter was and has been a slow start for the Cowboys, today wasn’t much different. Dallas did get on the board first with a field goal from Dan Bailey from 37 yards out. The Bengals responded quickly as former Head Coach and current Fox Analyst had stated, “These aren’t the same Cincinnati Bengals.” The Bengals scored with a touchdown pass from Andy Dalton to Andrew Hawkins. Later in the quarter, newly signed kicker Josh Brown put 3 points on the board. After the first quarter, Dallas trailed by 7 as they were down, 10-3.
The running game was slowed down after last Sundays performance by Demarco Murray as the Bengals defense kept the running game in check for most of the day, Murray did manage to get into the end zone from 1 yard out as he jumped over the pile of players to get the ball across the plane. Brown came back out once again to give the Bengals a 3 point lead, 13-10 going into halftime.
At that point, Dallas wasn’t consistent as the Cowboy receivers had a slow start as the fullback Lawrence Vickers caught his 2 catches of the day on the first drive. Dez Bryant wasn’t thrown to until after the first drive; Miles Austin had a few drops as did TE Jason Witten, WR Kevin Ogletree, and Dwayne Harris. The first quarter has been traditionally slow but the first drive showed bits of promise. Cowboy CB Brandon Carr provided a mental spark with an interception that led to the Murray touchdown.
The third quarter saw more of the athletic trainers than actual players as the Cowboys had their share of injuries. Morris Claiborne went down with an injury (face laceration) as his helmet flew off and he was hit in the head. Demarcus Ware went out a few plays with some problems then Anthony Spencer saw some time on the sidelines as he was getting an IV. Ernie Sims was hurt during the 4th quarter. Doug Free didn’t get injured but he was rotated in and out frequently during the entire game, he still managed to get a holding penalty. The Bengals managed to get two more field goals from Brown. He kicked one from 25 and 52 yards out respectively. Penalties continued to hurt the team as the Cowboys drew 2 defensive penalties that led to a Bengals field goal. Rob Ryan was called for unsportsmanlike conduct and then they had 12 men on the field giving Brown another opportunity to increase the Cincinnati lead.
The fourth quarter started with Dallas trailing 19-10. Dez Bryant finally got a few passes his way and eventually caught one for a touchdown. Capping off an 8 play, 68 yard drive with a pass from Romo to Bryant from 27 yards out to close; the Cowboys close the gap down to 2 points, 19-17.
The final drive of the game was a methodical one, one that Dallas fans are expecting out of this club. A short pass here, a short run from Murray there; the Cowboys setup Bailey for the game winner. Murray ran 20 of his 53 yards on the last drive to get the Cowboys in field goal range. Running the clock down to :04 left, after going 13 plays, 50 yards and using 3:44 off of the clock; Bailey lined up for a forty yard field goal and kicks it to win the game.
Tony Romo finished the day with 25 completions from 43 attempts for 268 yards with 1 touchdown and 1 interception. Murray finished with 53 yards from 21 carries. Jason Witten led the receivers with 4 receptions for 62 yards. Defensively, Anthony Spencer led the Cowboys with 5 tackles and 2 sacks on the day. The Cowboys go home for the next game as Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers visit Cowboys Stadium for the first time. The last time these two teams met was back in 2008 at Heinz Field. The Cowboys lost that game, 20-13. Kickoff is set for 3:25 CST and the game will be televised on CBS.
Dallas gets an emotional win today, winning 20-19 over the Bengals. Dallas improves to 7-6 and stays in the playoff hunt. The Cowboys needed to win this game considering the circumstances, getting something positive out this past 24 hours is what the team needed. From an emotional standpoint, the next few days are not going to be easy. On behalf of the Landry Hat, congratulations Cowboys and our thoughts continue to go to the Jerry Brown family and friends.