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NFL Nation: 2013 preseason reaction Week 3 bengals-cowboys
August, 24, 2013
By Todd Archer | ESPN.com
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Cowboys had a hard time getting much of an advantage at Cowboys Stadium with a 17-15 regular-season record in the $1.2 billion home.
Playing under the AT&T Stadium name for the first time, the Cowboys were able to overcome a tepid start to beat Cincinnati 24-18.
What it means: The Cowboys got what they wanted in their final showing of the preseason from their regulars on offense and defense.
The Cowboys have not played their starters in the last preseason game since 2006, and Jason Garrett will not want to risk the likes of Tony Romo, Dez Bryant, Jason Witten, DeMarcus Ware, Sean Lee and Brandon Carr on Thursday against Houston.
To avoid their first losing preseason since 2001, however, the Cowboys will have to beat the Texans.
First-team offense gets in end zone: In their first five drives of the preseason, the Romo-led offense failed to get in the end zone. They started 0-for-2 on Saturday before Bryant took matters into his own hands with five catches on a 12-play drive that ended with Romo hitting Bryant on a bullet fade over cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick.
The Cowboys closed the first half with an eight-play drive that covered 52 yards with Miles Austin being the featured target. Austin had a 23-yard gain on a third-and-6 and closed the drive with a 12-yard score going across the back of the end zone for a Romo throw.
Offensive line moves: For the fourth time in four preseason games, the Cowboys rolled out a different combination on the offensive line with Doug Free playing right guard, Jermey Parnell at right tackle and Mackenzy Bernadeau at left guard. Only left tackle Tyron Smith and center Travis Frederick played in their original positions.
Romo was sacked on the first play of the game for an 8-yard loss and the running game averaged only 2.5 yards per carry in the first half. The first-team line played a series into the third quarter before calling it a night.
Will this be the combination the Cowboys roll out for the Sept. 8 opener against the New York Giants? Possibly, if Ronald Leary is unable to return from surgery to his right knee. The Cowboys are confident Leary, who has never played in a game, can return in time, but they might choose to go with this grouping.
Defense continues to take it away: The offseason emphasis continued with two first-half takeaways from a defense that might bend but has yet to break.
For the third time in four preseason games, the Cowboys came up with a takeaway on their first drive of the game. Safety Barry Church poked the ball free from wide receiver Marvin Jones and cornerback Brandon Carr came up with the loose ball at the Dallas 4.
In the second quarter, rookie cornerback B.W. Webb came up with a pick of Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton on a seam throw to receiver Mohamed Sanu. Undrafted safety Jeff Heath forced a fumble in the third quarter.
The first-team defense did not allow a touchdown in three preseason appearances totaling roughly three quarters.
Digital board gets plunked: In the first football game at AT&T Stadium, on Aug. 21 2009, Tennessee’s A.J. Trapasso hit the center-hung digital board with a punt. It was not hit again by a punt until Saturday, when Cowboys punter Chris Jones hit it in the first quarter.
There have been 274 regular-season punts at AT&T Stadium since its opening that have not hit the board.
It might bear watching this year.
On Jones’ re-kick, Cincinnati’s Brandon Tate scored a 75-yard touchdown for the Bengals’ only first-half points.
Who didn’t play: Cornerback Morris Claiborne (knee) missed his fourth straight preseason game -- and third because of injury -- but the hope is that he can practice some next week and possibly play in Thursday’s finale against Houston. WR Cole Beasley (foot), RB Lance Dunbar (foot), S Matt Johnson (foot), S Eric Frampton (calf), LB Brandon Magee (concussion), LB Ernie Sims (groin), OL Ryan Cook (back), OG Ronald Leary (knee), OG Nate Livings (knee) and DE Anthony Spencer (knee) did not dress for the game.
What’s next?: The Cowboys will have to pare down their roster from 88 to 75 by Tuesday’s deadline, two days before they play their fifth and final preseason game of the summer. Former head coach Wade Phillips (2007-10) makes his return to AT&T Stadium on Thursday as Houston’s defensive coordinator. The final cut to 53 players is Aug. 31.
August, 24, 2013
By Jamison Hensley | ESPN.com
In the Cincinnati Bengals' sloppy 24-18 preseason loss at Dallas, the mistakes made by cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick stand out the most. Here's the nightmarish performance by Kirkpatrick: one touchdown allowed in coverage, two pass-interference penalties and three missed tackles.
A first-round pick from a year ago, Kirkpatrick had a strong start to training camp. But he was physically overmatched at times versus Dallas.
In the second quarter, he was in position to make a play in the end zone, but he lost the fight for the ball against wide receiver Dez Bryant, who scored a 5-yard touchdown. Kirkpatrick was also flagged twice for pass interference, both of which converted third downs and totaled 28 penalty yards. Then, in the third quarter, he had the first of three missed tackles by the Bengals on running back DeMarco Murray, who caught a short pass in the flat and ran into the end zone for a 7-yard touchdown.
The Bengals are starting Leon Hall and Terence Newman at cornerback for a second consecutive season. With Adam Jones injured, the Bengals are looking at Kirkpatrick to step up in nickel defense. The Bengals can't have a lot of confidence in Kirkpatrick after this rocky effort, but it should make for an interesting episode of "Hard Knocks."
Here are some other thoughts on the Bengals' third preseason game:
- The Bengals' starting offense wasn't sharp in the first half. Wide receiver Marvin Jones fumbled at the Cowboys' 4-yard line to end the first drive, and quarterback Andy Dalton threw an interception down the middle of the field (where it was Mohamed Sanu and three Dallas defenders) on third-and-15 to end the second drive. Dalton finished 12-of-16 for 113 yards.
- There are no concerns about A.J. Green's health after watching him play 2½ quarters. He looked smooth in making three catches for 42 yards. Green, who missed the first two preseason games with a knee injury, nearly had a touchdown in the right corner of the end zone, but it was ruled that one foot went out of bounds.
- I've always thought Adam Jones was the most dangerous returner on the team, but Brandon Tate made his case to keep the job by running a punt back 75 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter. The score came after Cowboys punter Chris Jones hit the scoreboard and had to kick again.
- Right tackle Andre Smith tweaked his left knee and didn't return after playing two drives. He was replaced by Dennis Roland. The Bengals were already playing without left tackle Andrew Whitworth, who hasn't played this preseason after having offseason knee surgery.
- Rookie sixth-round pick Cobi Hamilton fumbled on an end around, but he vindicated himself later. He converted a fourth down in the red zone on a pass from Josh Johnson and then finished off that drive with a 4-yard touchdown on which he had to stretch the ball into the end zone.
- Some numbers that aren't going to make defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer happy: The Cowboys were 9-for-16 on third downs, 3-for-4 in the red zone, totaled 358 yards and controlled the clock for 39 minutes, 31 seconds.
- In the battle for the backup quarterback job, Johnson was 6-of-13 for 35 yards. He was picked off on the Bengals' final drive, which ended any chances of a comeback. John Skelton didn't play.