The Dallas Cowboys got their most dominant win of the season when they won the battle on both sides of the ball en route to a 30-7 win over the Cincinnati Bengals. It was a contest of two struggling teams that were, previous to the game, in the third and fourth spots in the 2021 draft. So while it wasn’t exactly the top quality game on the docket Sunday, the Cowboys played it like it mattered. Given the questions around effort and finishing lately, they answered the bell.
There was one player who wanted more than anything to play well, and that was Andy Dalton. The Cowboys current starting quarterback spent his whole career playing for the Bengals and most assuredly wanted to show his old club that he still had it. Dalton got what he wanted and gets our game ball.
To be clear, it wasn’t exactly a statistical barn-burner for Dalton. He only had 185 yards passing in the game, but he did everything else with efficiency. He connected on 16 of 23 passes for a crisp 69.5% completion rate. He also threw for two touchdowns and finished the game with a 122.6 QB rating.
He was in control and avoided any killer turnovers; basically he looked the part of the experienced veteran quarterback who takes the field position provided by the defense and special teams, and makes it work. This is exactly the type of play the Cowboys were hoping to get if they lost Dak Prescott. Obviously it was against a Bengals team that is really bad, so we are grading on a curve. But for Dalton to go home and play like he did is truly satisfying.
Aldon Smith - If you score a 78-yard touchdown on defense, you have to get a shout out.
Defense (turnovers) - DeMarcus Lawrence and Darian Thompson get some love for creating two fumbles. Aldon Smith, along with Jourdan Lewis and Jaylon Smith, get props for recovering fumbles.
Amari Cooper - Sure, only 51 yards, but another touchdown and just another productive day.
Tyrone Crawford - Two sacks for the longtime Cowboy.