NFL Nation: Bengals-Cowboys

Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley

If the Cowboys truly want to be considered an elite team, it's not simply about winning and losing. After taking a 17-0 lead over the Bengals, the Cowboys let them back in the game.

The Bengals were a two-point conversion away from tying it at 24 in the fourth quarter. With the win, the Cowboys moved to 4-1 on the season to keep pace with the surging Redskins. The Giants are the division's only unbeaten team at 4-0.

A week after being criticized for not running the ball in a loss to the Redskins, the Cowboys ran it 38 times against the Bengals. Rookie Felix Jones had nine carries for 96 yards, including a sensational 33-yard touchdown run.

Marion Barber did the heavy lifting with 23 carries for 84 yards. The Cowboys, though, were not in a celebratory mood. This isn't a team that's allowed to be satisfied with relatively narrow wins over bad teams. I'm told that Phillips had a run-in with a Fort Worth columnist after the game, so I'll try to track that story down for you.

Chad Ocho Cinco had threatened to kiss the Cowboys star at midfield if he scored a touchdown, but he was a non-factor for much of the day. T.J. Houshmandzadeh led the Bengals with seven catches for 85 yards and a couple of touchdowns.

Tony Romo threw for three touchdowns, but he also threw an interception in his eighth consecutive game. That's the longest streak in the league, but the most alarming part, is that it occurred when the game was still in doubt. A team like the Cowboys has to put the Bengals away. On Sunday, they weren't up to the task -- until late.

Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker

It's something about playing NFC East teams on the road that brings out the best in the Cincinnati Bengals.

Cincinnati put up another tough fight against the NFC East but still lost its fifth game in a row during a 31-22 defeat to the Dallas Cowboys.

As promised by receiver Chad Ocho Cinco, the Bengals brought everything they had against heavily-favored Dallas (4-1). Cincinnati fell behind 17-0 before scoring 16 unanswered points and eventually running out of gas. A pair of fourth-quarter touchdown passes by Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo put the game out of reach.

Cincinnati, meanwhile, falls to 0-5 with its next two games on the road against the New York Jets and at home against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The playoffs appear are out of reach for the Bengals early in the season. But perhaps a performance like this can jumpstart the team's likely role of playing "spoiler" for opponents the rest of the way.

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