ARLINGTON, TX — For the second week in a row, the Cincinnati Bengals offensive line was indeed “offensive.”
Quarterback Joe Burrow was sacked six times and under pressure most of the game, as the Bengals fell to Dallas 20-17 at AT&T Stadium on Sunday — in front of more than 93,000 people.
Burrow finished the game with 199 yards in the air and completed 24 of 36 passes.
His lone touchdown came with 3:15 to go in the game, when he hit Tee Higgins for a five-yard strike in the end zone to close the gap to 17-15.
Burrow connected with Tyler Boyd for the two-point conversion to the tie the game at 17-17.
But the Cowboys’ backup quarterback Cooper Rush took “America’s Team” down the field and set up the game-winning 50-yard field goal by Brett Maher as time expired for their first win of the season.
In the first two games, both losses, Burrow has been sacked 13 times, picked off four times and lost a fumble.
“It’s all frustrating,” Bengals coach Zac Taylor said after the game. “We’ve given ourselves an opportunity to win these games against good teams, so once things settle down, I know that we’re going to be a really good football team.”
Dallas coach Mike McCarthy was happy with the way his defensive line knocked Burrow down 12 times and made him throw under pressure 10 times, in addition to the six sacks.
“Each week you try to create matchups and we have great confidence in our pass rush,” he said. “That’s a big part why we have so many defensive linemen on this team because we have great belief in our pass rush.”
Micah Parsons and Dorance Armstrong each tackled Burrow behind the line twice for Dallas.
“Well, week one there were several sacks on me,” Burrow said. “We’ll go back and watch the film on the ones today and put the blame where it is, I’m not sure. Go back and watch the film and get those corrections made. But week one, there were a lot on me.”
Bengals offensive tackle La’el Collins was lured away from Dallas in the offseason, and was supposed to be a solid link in the front chain.
He’s not pleased with the baker’s dozen sacks in two games.
“We don’t want our quarterback getting hit, getting sacked. None of that,” he said. “But, end of the day, we gotta put this behind us. We have two games in 10 days, so we gotta get ready for it.”
Cincinnati’s lone touchdown drive late in the final period took 19 plays, went 83 yards and ate up 11:35 of the clock.
“That’s how it’s supposed to look,” Burrow added. “That’s what we need to get the whole game. Whatever we’ve got to do to move the chains on third down, find those completions and get those chains moving, we’re going to have to have a lot of drives like that, the way defenses are playing us. We’ve got to bank that one and remember how that feels.”
After the hype about the new and improved Bengals’ offensive line and the two losses, Taylor still believes his team is ready for next week’s game against the New York Jets in the Big Apple.
“I think we’re going to be in good shape,” he said. “Again, ‘settle down’ is not the great word. I think we’re going to be in great position going forward. Any time you lose, it’s going to feel like from everybody that’s watching, that’s the story. I get it. That’s how it should be. We’re going to work hard, just as we have, to go on the road and find a way to win against a good team.”
Rush was solid for Dallas and completed 19 of 31 passes for 235 yards and one touchdown in his second start as a professional.
He was tapped the starter after Dak Prescott injured his thumb last week and will miss the next few games following surgery.
He set the tone early and led Dallas to a 7-0 lead on the first drive that went 75-yards in 12-plays and made the Bengals’ defense resemble Swiss cheese.
“I think we just misplayed some of their runs,” said Bengals defensive end Sam Hubbard. “Just better tackling.”
One thing is certain; the Bengals are showing signs of trouble and lack of communication.
No one is saying that from the podium, but the numbers speak for themselves.
Thirteen sacks, five turnovers, two losses to teams that were depleted.
Teams are adjusting and the Bengals are not.
Opponents could not figure out the Burrow/Ja’Marr Chase phenomenon last season.
Now they have, and Taylor and his staff are bewildered.
Cincinnati travels to play the Jets (1-1) on Sunday, and has a short turnaround to host the Miami Dolphins on Thursday Night Football.
“Every team’s going to go through this, where you face a two-game losing streak at some point,” Taylor said. “Unfortunately for us, it’s the first two games of the season. It’s a long season. Again, we’ve just got to hit the reset button, not in a negative way, but just regroup for Tuesday to get ready for the Jets this Sunday.”
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