The Cowboys were coming off a rough Tuesday Night defeat against the Baltimore Ravens and were looking to bounce back with an early Sunday game at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati. Quarterback Andy Dalton returned for the first time to Cincinnati after spending nine seasons with the Bengals and helped the Cowboys win 30-7.
Cowboys kicker Greg Zuerlein got things started for the Cowboys with a 34-yard field goal in the beginning of the first quarter. Zuerlein went three for three in field goal attempts, making up from last week’s game where he went one for four in field goal chances against the Ravens.
This was the first time this season that the Cowboys’ defense allowed a single digit game all season. Defensive end Aldon Smith recovered a fumble and returned it 78yards for a touchdown to give the Cowboys a 10-0 lead by the end of the first quarter.
Dalton had a decent game against his former team with 16 completions, 185 passing yards, two touchdown passes and no interceptions. He found wide receiver Amari Cooper for 11 yards for a touchdown pass to give Dallas a 17-0 lead. The Bengals got their only points in the game with a five-yard touchdown catch by wide receiver A.J Green to cut the Cowboys lead to 10 points.
The second half was quiet from both teams. Zuerlein made one 20-yard field goal kick and one long 55-yard kick to boost the Cowboys lead 23-7. Dalton got his second touchdown pass of the game after he found running back Tony Pollard for an 11-yard pass as the Cowboys took the victory 30-7.
This win was especially special for Dalton, who spent years as the starting quarterback for Cincinnati. Dalton never thought he would have had the chance to play against his former team, but with the injury to Prescott, it gave him the chance to shine against his former teammates.
“It feels good to come back where I was for a long time and to get a win,” said Dalton after the game to ESPN. McCarthy also spoke about how special this win was for Dalton. “This is definitely special for him, make no bones about it. He wanted to win this game, but more importantly for everybody in the locker room, they wanted to win it for him,” said McCarthy to ESPN.
The Cowboys’ defense also impressed tonight, having their first solid performance all season. “On a number of fronts, it was a very gratifying victory. Defense stepped up time and time again,” McCarthy said about the defense according to Sports Illustrated.
Aldon Smith made the first and only offensive play for the Cowboys defense this season when he was able to recover the Bengals fumble and run it into the end zone. “I know that I’m like really fast,” Smith said to Sports Illustrated. “So as soon as I picked it up, I just knew that it was just going to be impossible for me to get caught.”
Aldon Smith recovers the fumble and goes 78 yards to the house!
— NFL (@NFL) December 13, 2020
With the Giants losing to the Cardinals, it gives the Cowboys hope for the playoffs. They hope to keep their momentum going as they welcome the San Francisco 49ers to AT&T Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The Bengals have already been eliminated from the playoffs and are just looking to end the season on a high note after losing their rookie star quarterback Joe Burrow to an ACL tear during Week 11 of the season. They will host the 11-1 Steelers for a Monday Night game showdown next week.