The Dallas Cowboys and their fans have to be happy for the most part with the team’s performance against the Cincinnati Bengals at AT&T Stadium Saturday night. As we all know, preseason final scores don’t really matter. However, even in a glorified scrimmage it is nice to see our team come out on top 24-18. What has to be most exciting for Cowboys Nation is the play of the first team defense and the Tony Romo to Dez Bryant passing combination.
The ball-hawking Cowboys defense continued to rack up the turnover tally in their matchup against the Bengals. They had four takeaways for the night, including one in each quarter. Perhaps most significant to Dallas fans has to be that the Cowboys defensive draft picks have accounted for four interceptions so far. The standout defensive takeaway Saturday night for this Cowboys fan was the second quarter interception by B.W. Webb when he was inserted into the game as a third defensive back and was in perfect position to snatch the Bengals’ pass across the middle. Even though it is preseason, it is also worth noting that the Dallas first string defense didn’t allow the Bengals’ starting offense any points. The way the Bengals got the first score of the game was a bit perplexing, however.
After the Dallas D forced a fumble on Cincy’s first drive of the night, the Cowboys offense failed to cash in. To add insult to Dallas’ shaky offensive start, the Bengals’ got a do-over after the Cowboys punt bounced off the ginormatron and Bengals’ returner Brandon Tate promptly returned the ensuing kick for the first score of the night.
DeMarco Murray was conspicuously absent from the lineup for much of the first half after he failed to secure the ball properly and coughed it up. Luckily, the Cowboys retained possession and no damage was done. Murray did return to action in the second half and ended up with a productive night that included a score on a seven yard pass from Kyle Orton. Reportedly, Murray and coach Jason Garrett had a chat at halftime and it was nice to see Murray respond well…hopefully we can chalk that one up to a lesson learned.
The offensive star of the show in the Cowboys first home outing of the preseason was undoubtedly Dez Bryant. He had four catches for 54 yards and hauled in a touchdown pass from Tony Romo. I, for one, am becoming cautiously optimistic that the Romo to Bryant combination is going to fully develop in 2013. Romo looked to be more confident than last year that he could throw to a spot on the field and trust Dez to be there. That could be crucial when the games start for real.
Besides the obvious problems of the special teams, the other part of Dallas’ game that is troubling continues to be the run blocking of the big guys up front. The impressive numbers the Cowboys posted Saturday night in their running attack were deceiving when we consider that several of those yards came with our starting running back going against the Cincinnati second string defense. When the games start counting, that certainly won’t be the case and the Cowboys offensive line has to gel if Dallas is going to contend for the NFC East crown in 2013.
That being said, this Cowboys fan is going to look on the bright side and proclaim the Cowboys dress rehearsal Saturday night a success…especially the Dez and defense show.