The Dallas Cowboys crushed the Bengals in Cincinnati on NFL Sunday Week 14 by an impressive 30-7 score. Our 10 'Whitty' Observations
10. Regardless of the result, it was refreshing – dare I say, encouraging – to see the Cowboys play with more energy, passion and desire. Unlike earlier this week in Baltimore, it looked like they cared. And, yes, at this point in this disappointing season the bar has been set that low.
Said coach Mike McCarthy: "On a number of fronts, it was a very gratifying victory. ... Our defense stepped up time and time again."
9. Unless I’m going crazy, the smattering of fans serenaded Cowboys’ receiver Amari Cooper with “Cooooooooop.” But, come to think of it, fed-up Bengals fans could have simply been saying “Boooooooo.”
8. Decent crowning performance for Homecoming King Andy Dalton. In his return to Cincinnati, the former Bengals’ starter passed 185 yards and threw for two touchdowns. More importantly, of course, he beat his old team and picked up 25 percent of his current team’s win total.
After the game, his teammates presented him with the game ball and, shy of champagne, splashed him with water.
"A lot of water being thrown," Dalton said. "This one was special."
7. Take that, NBC! You flex the Cowboys out of primetime and they – insert sarcasm – respond with their biggest win of the season.
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6. Cowboys were clearly paying attention to Ezekiel Elliott’s balky calf. He carried only 12 times for 48 yards, splitting time with Tony Pollard (11 carries). Nothing wrong with that. Would only compound a dismal season to have your star running back suffer a lingering injury in a meaningless game.
5. Opposing defense notwithstanding, Cowboys actually looked like an NFL offense in the second quarter. With pinpoint accuracy balancing hard running from Elliott and Pollard, Dalton engineered a 15-play, 88-yard drive that took 8:12 and staked Dallas to a commanding 17-0 lead. It was their best drive this season without Dak Prescott.
4. Cowboys jumped to a 17-0 lead, held their largest halftime margin of the season at 10 points, and finished with their largest victory (23 points) since 2019’s season finale.
3. Sunday was a stark reminder of the contrast between the Cowboys, the NFC East and the bumbling, fumbling Bengals.
Bad as it has been in 2020, the division went 3-0-1 against Cincinnati and allowed only a combined 56 points.
Talk about “easy money.”
2. With Joe Burrow not in uniform, this game was decided early by three Bengals fumbles. Cowboys safety Darian Thompson with a helmet on the ball. DeMarcus Lawrence with a strip. The Bengals chipping in – as 2-10-1 teams are wont to do – with their version of the butt fumble, leading to Aldon Smith’s scoop-’n-score. The 78-yard return was the Cowboys’ largest since Greg Ellis in 1999.
"I know I’m really fast,'' Smith said, laughing and fighting off playful criticism from teammates, "so as soon as I picked it up, I knew it’d be impossible to get caught."
1. Sorry, but come April 29 nobody will remember the score of this game ... but everybody will know the draft positions of the Cowboys and Bengals. Because of Dallas’ win, it drop lower than fourth while Cincinnati retains the No. 3 slot.
But from the team's perspective?
"We took a step today,'' McCarthy said. "A win that we needed."