Preseason game number two is in the books. For the second-straight game, the Cowboys starters outplayed their counterparts, only to watch the reserves squander the lead. It was fun to watch early, but then not-so-much later. Here are 10 thoughts on the Cowboys loss to the Bengals.
1. Dak Prescott misfired on a few throws
Prescott would finish 10/15 for 86 yards and a touchdown as made some nice plays scrambling out of the pocket. It was a modest performance, but Prescott had a few throws that were just terrible. He had three throws that sailed over his intended receivers head as they never even had a shot to make a play.
Overall, it was a fine performance for the Cowboys young quarterback as he put the ball right on target on several occasions. And his “throwaways” may be him just protecting the ball, but some of those pass seemed to get away from him.
2. First-string dominance
The Cowboys first teamers outplayed the Bengals starters. There was a point in the game where the numbers were completely lopsided.
The Cowboys offense would score on two of their three possessions to take a 10-0 lead. The defense forced the Bengals to go three-and-out on their first two possessions, before Cincinnati finally was able to move the ball near midfield. The defense would stop them, holding the 10 point edge when the starters came out.
3. Rod Smith shows a lot of patience
The Cowboys backup running back didn’t fill the stat sheet with impressive numbers as he only had 49 yards on 13 carries, but he did a good job waiting for the play to develop. There were a handful of instances where he showed great patience and waited for his blocks to open up the running lanes.
4. The injury bug started hitting
First, we got another scare when All-Pro guard Zack Martin left the game with a leg injury.
Cowboys’ Pro-Bowl guard Zack Martin, who injured his knee tonight, is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Sunday morning, per source.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 19, 2018
But rest easy, it doesn’t appear serious.
Jerry Jones said first prognosis of RG Zack Martin's knee injury is positive. MRI coming Sunday: "We’re very positive how it impacts the rest of camp, but we’ll see more after we have a chance to look at it. What we’ve seen I’ll sleep good tonight."— Brandon George (@DMN_George) August 19, 2018
Then Byron Jones came off the field with a shoulder injury (but he would later return). And finally, Xavier Woods would leave the game after he hurt his hamstring trying to lay out for an interception.
Rookie Bo Scarbrough would leave the game due to a hip injury. That’s not a positive sign considering he’s been plagued by injuries his entire college career. Datone Jones also left the game with a knee injury.
Jameill Showers suffered a knee injury early in the fourth quarter while knocking the Bengals receiver out of bounds. There is no report yet, but it didn’t look good.
Most injuries tonight look like guys just got banged up, but Jameill Showers' season might be over.— One Cool Customer (@OCC44) August 19, 2018
5. What a play by Cheeto-bay
The Cowboys starting corners played well. Anthony Brown showed off his great reaction skills early and jumped a route. He’s had success making those plays as two of his three career picks have came from those types of plays (both against the New York Giants). Byron Jones also had a nice deflection that almost allowed linebacker Joe Thomas to get a pick and would also recover a fumble. And then, this happened...
6. It’s Taco’s time
The second-year edge rusher continues to play well as he had a great game against the Bengals. Not only did he have a nice strip that resulted in a takeaway for the defense, but then he flat-out powered through the right tackle for a sack. The impressive part of that was that Taco Charlton was being held on the play. And those are just the big splash plays. Let’s not forget about the little things.
Taco Charlton is having a hell of a game. That I count, it’s four pressures, a sack and a forced fumble and a forced false start— jesus flores (@WFAAJFlo) August 19, 2018
The kid just keeps getting better.
Taco Charlton forced the fumble. VP of player personnel Will McClay last week: "Taco is much, much improved. He’s matured mentally and physically. He’s so much stronger now. He’s working to finish. He’s bought into the Marinelli way of doing things & understanding that it helps."— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) August 19, 2018
7. Chaz Green continues to be terrible
I’m all for giving a guy chances, but they have to draw the line somewhere. Third-year offensive lineman Chaz Green just can’t seem to do anything good for this offense. First, he allowed a sack that caused the ball to be knocked out of Cooper Rush’s hand and then he had a couple holding penalties later in the game. It wasn’t a great game from Cameron Fleming on the other side either, but Green is just really bad.
And if you think they should give someone else a shot, it didn’t get better for the other guys. Third-stringer Jake Campos had two holding penalties.
The Cowboys need to get someone in the building that can play the tackle position. Not only is Green clearly not roster-able, but his atrocious play is not allowing people to see what these reserve offensive players can do.
8. Depth defensive backs looked terrible
Anthony Brown got called for a pass interference penalty. Again. Jourdan Lewis got called for one, too. Duke Thomas and Jameill Showers ran into each other like we were watching an episode of the Three Stooges.
Donovan Olumba and Kam Kelly whiffed on tackles that allowed the Bengals running back Brian Hill to have a 44-yard reception. Hill would cap it off with a three-yard touchdown catch when Charvarius Ward was late in coverage.
It was an all-around terrible game for almost all the reserve defensive backs. Kris Richard cannot be happy with what he is seeing right now because we sure aren’t.
Is it time to make that phone call to Seattle yet?
9. Darius Jackson looked pretty darn good
While it’s unclear the extent of Scarbrough’s injury, anything that lingers could open the door for the Cowboys to keep Darius Jackson. With plenty of touches in the second half, Jackson would finish with six carries for 42 yards (7.0 average) and added another four catches for 22 yards receiving. He was essentially the only offense the reserves had on the day. Well, except for this one play...
10. Rico wins a jumpball
We didn’t see much from the Cowboys super athletic tight, but he showed off his leaping skills late in the fourth quarter when he jumped up and stole the ball from the Bengals defensive back. Gathers would only finish with two catches for 32 yards, but that 25-yard catch and run was sure fun to watch.
At Baylor, he might have gotten called for an offensive foul, but in football, that’s perfectly legal.
What things stood out to you in this game?