DALLAS – Joe Burrow did Joe Burrow things down the stretch.
But with a backup quarterback, the Dallas Cowboys did a lot they didn’t a week earlier in a lackluster loss, and never trailed in a last-play 20-17 victory at AT&T Stadium Sunday over Burrow and his Cincinnati Bengals.
Mike Maher’s 50-yard field goal as time expired lifted Dallas to the win. He had nailed a 54-yarder that gave the Cowboys (1-1) a 17-3 halftime lead.
Cooper Rush stepped in at QB for the injured Dak Prescott, whose thumb was broken late in the season-opening 19-3 loss to Tampa Bay a week ago. Rush led Dallas to 75-yard touchdown drives on its first two series.
Burrow and the Bengals, who became a local favorite last season on their way to a surprise Super Bowl appearance, were stymied for most of the game by the same problem that plagued them last year and last week – substandard pass protection. Dallas had six sacks in the first three periods, two each by last season’s NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, Micah Parsons, and from Dorance Armstrong.
Cincinnati (0-2) managed three field goals and silenced the Cowboys’ offense after halftime, giving the Bengals a shot. Burrow got better protection during a 19-play, 83-yard drive taking almost nine minutes off the clock down the stretch, culminating in a 5-yard TD throw and two-point conversion pass with 3:45 left to forge a 17-all tie.
The Cowboys and Bengals swapped unproductive possessions before Rush cooly steered a 6-snap, 33-yard march to field goal range on the game’s final play.
Rush went 19 of 31 for 236 yards in his second NFL start, and guided Dallas to a 337-254 advantage in total yards.
“Knowing Dak’s down, with all the injuries, we’ve got to be relentless on defense,” said Parsons to reporter Tracy Wolfson in a CBS interview postgame, “Nobody believes in us, but we are gonna believe in each other. Don’t give up on us yet.”
Dallas begins NFC East Divisional play next Monday night at New York against the 2-0 Giants.