Dallas Cowboys: Five important plays in the win over the Bengals

Tony Pollard (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Tony Pollard (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

Five plays that shaped the Dallas Cowboys win over Cincinnati

DeMarcus Lawrence’s Penalty – Facing a 3rd and 7 from his own 38, Brandon Allen threw incomplete to AJ Green.  The Bengals would surely punt instead of attempting to convert a 4th and 7 in their own territory.

Except DeMarcus Lawrence was flagged for being in the neutral zone at the snap.  Given a second chance at a conversion on what was now 3rd and 2, Tyler Boyd took a short shovel pass 21 yards for a first down.  Cincinnati marched all the way to the Dallas Cowboys 12-yard line before fumbling for the 3rd time in their first three possessions.

Luckily for Lawrence, his mistake did not end up costing the Dallas Cowboys.  However, if not for Cincinnati’s inability to hold onto the ball, it should have gifted the opposing team points.

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Amari’s Atonement – Five plays after the Bengals’ third fumble of the game, the Cowboys faced 3rd and 9 from their own 20, possibly about to lose an opportunity to turn another turnover into points.

Before Andy Dalton could snap the ball on 3rd down, Amari Cooper flinched and was flagged for a false start.  A 3rd and long would now be a 3rd and longer.

On the ensuing play, Amari used a quick step to gain separation from his man on a slant and go.  Andy immediately got the ball to Amari, but he was short of the first down upon catching the ball.  Amari took matters into his own hands and ran for the first down.

This set up the Cowboys to go 60 more yards (while converting 2 more 3rd downs) to the end zone for a 2-score lead.

Amari was awarded with a touchdown reception from Dalton – Andy’s first of 2 touchdown passes against his former team.

Tony Pollard Jump Starts the 3rd Quarter – Dallas entered halftime with their largest lead after 2 quarters this season – a whooping 10 points.  Receiving the ball at the start of the 3rd quarter, the Cowboys no doubt wished to make a statement and take firm control of the game.

Tony Pollard has received his fair share of criticism this season over his special teams decisions (mostly deserved), so many may have felt a sense of trepidation when Pollard first caught the kickoff halfway into the Cowboys own end zone and decided to run it out.

However, he then suddenly burst through an opening for what looked like a sure touchdown.  It probably should have been a touchdown if he had set up his blocker correctly and then cut back inside the last defender, but in the end he had run for 60 yards into Cincy’s side of the field, setting up the offense for easy points to extend their lead.

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No Faith in the Run Game – This is not really a single play, but a sequence of three plays. Immediately following Pollard’s return, the Cowboys offense ran 4 plays that totaled 40 yards, one of which was an Ezekiel Elliott run that was stuffed for no gain.

Following an Andy Dalton to Dalton Schultz connection, the Cowboys were set up with first and goal from the three-yard line.

Needing only 9 feet for 6 points and employing the highest paid running back in the NFL, most people were pretty sure what was about to happen, and after the first play they were right.

Zeke was given the ball and gained only a yard.  Now the Cowboys had up to 3 more runs to move the ball just 6 feet.

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However, the Cowboys then called two pass plays that never really seemed to have a chance at success.  Perhaps it was the alignment the offense saw that dictated a check to a pass, but the Dallas Cowboys of last year would not have cared what type of front they saw at the goal line, they would impose their will, which is something this staff is either unwilling to do, does not believe the team is able to do.

The Cowboys settled for a 20-yard field goal from the 2-yard line.

A Timely Holding Call – After the Cowboys reached the Cincy 2-yard line on their first drive of the game they weren’t able to do much else.  The next two Cowboys possessions totaled 11 plays and 40 yards with 2 punts.

The Bengals took the ball from their own 20-yard line and began to methodically march down the field to the Cowboy’s 13-yard line while converting a 3rd and long and a 4th and 2.

On 1st and 10 from the Dallas 13-yard line, Samaje Perine ran straight through the middle of the Dallas defense and scored a touchdown.  However, the officials noticed Quinton Spain had grabbed Jaylon Smith’s shoulder pads and possibly prevented him from filling the gap and tackling Perine for about an 8-yard gain.

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Instead of cutting Dallas’ lead to 6 points with under 9 minutes left, Cincy was backed up and faced a 1st and 20.  They weren’t able to get a first down with Brandon Allen throwing incomplete on both 3rd and 4th down.  For the rest of the game the Bengals offense netted zero total yards.

  • Published on 12/14/2020 at 13:01 PM
  • Last updated at 12/14/2020 at 11:32 AM