Dallas rebounded against Cincinnati on Sunday at Texas Stadium but it was like two different games. The Cowboys improved to 4-1 despite making it FIVE FOR FIVE so far this year in not winning the turnover battle. Two more turnovers by Tony Romo, one a fumble when he had scrambled for six yards and a first down with the team running the two minute drill before halftime. Had Romo tucked away and held onto the ball, the Cowboys, up 17-3 at that point would have likely at least gotten a field goal before intermission. Instead, the Bengals get it at the Dallas 41 and come away with a momentum changing field goal of their own to close the deficit to 17-6. In the second half, the Cowboys received the kickoff and proceeded to be forced to punt one of only two times all game. The Bengals took that ball, drove the length of the field and scored a TD to cut it to 17-13. Again Romo had the Cowboys on the move with a first down at the Cincy 35 when he threw his fifth interception in as many games this year, and had it returned to the Cowboys 39. The Cowboys defense again held the Bengals to a field goal and trimmed what was once an intimidating 17-0 early second quarter lead (and certain blowout) to 17-16. Then Cincinnati stunned Dallas with a suprise onside kick and recovered at midfield. The Bengals got a first down and then Tank Johnson finally put an end to the nonsense streak by punching the ball loose from Cedrick Benson. Two plays later, Romo connected to T.O for a 57 yarder to revive the Cowboys somewhat, giving them a 24-16 lead. The Cowboys special teams, however, allowed another long runback to the Bengals and they then took it the remaining 37 yards in six plays for a TD. After a failed two pt conversion, it was 24-22 Dallas midway thru the fouth. Romo then took the Cowboys the length of the field mixing in running and passing well and then just inside the two minute warning, threw his third TD of the game to Crayton to seal the deal, a 31-22 win for Dallas. And the Cowboys remain minus 4 in the turnover department, something that needs to turn around at some point. The defense doesn't appear to quite be there yet for Dallas. Again the Cowboys at home failed to bury the still winless Bengals when they should have and it turned into a battle much like the game two weeks ago when Cincy took the Giants into overtime before succumbing. The Cowboys are 4-1 despite losing the overall turnover battle for the season. The defense DID recover two fumbles but they still don't have an interception yet. Hard to believe. Eli Manning of the Giants has only thrown one pick so far this year and the Redskins' Jason Campbell hasn't thrown any yet. Neither ofcourse have as many touchdown passes as Romo, who has 11 now. But this being good for one interception a game certainly doesn't sit well with Romo. He'll be the first to say it although it's not always his fault necessarily either. Owens only had two catches on Sunday, one for a ten yard first down reception in the first half and ofcourse the aforementioned 57 yarder that gave the Cowboys some breathing room after they had let the Bengals back into the game.
Consider this: Dallas is not playing their best football yet overall but they are still right there with the Giants and Redskins, who are at the moment, playing their best football. The Cowboys, at their best, are still the best in the NFL. Sunday was one of those games that they had to win and did despite not playing anywhere near their best. The running game got back on track with the Cowboys running for over 200 yards (96 for Felix Jones and 84 for Marion Barber) Look for Romo to get back in sync with T.O this Sunday and the prediction is that he goes his first game without a pick and throws for three or four more touchdowns. The running game will be vital as well so look for the Cowboys to continue to use their dazzling, haven't hit their peak yet by any means-ONE TWO punch of Barber and Felix. Arizona with Kurt Warner, put up a fight this Sunday but the Cowboys, the road studs that they've been the last two years, out fox the Cardinals. Both teams will score, but the Cowboys defense, though not in top gear yet, is still better than the Cardinals. Call it Cowboys 34-24.