If the Dallas Cowboys defense plays out like Sunday, the Cooper Rush just needs to be good enough.
Rush was good enough for the Cowboys on Sunday to score a big win in their first game without Dak Prescott. As time ran out, Brett Maher hit a 50-yard field goal and the Cowboys beat the Cincinnati Bengals 20-17.
The Cowboys defense went big, including a crucial three and out in Cincinnati’s last possession. Rush then got the Cowboys to field-goal range and Maher won. Rush was 19-in-31 for 235 yards, one touchdown and no interception. The Cowboys would take that stat line from Rush for every Prescott game.
The Cowboys listened all week how they were in trouble without Prescott, who is out after thumb surgery. It wasn’t that bad on Sunday.
Cowboys take early lead
The Cowboys got off to a great start. Noah Brown caught a nine-yard touchdown from Rush. After the Bengals’ field goal, Tony Pollard scored a 46-yard run to the 1 yard line, then punched it in the next game. For a team that lost its quarterback and other major starts the week before, then had to spend an entire week hearing how their season could be done, it was a nice jolt of confidence.
The Cowboys defense, led by Micah Parsons and his two sacks, played well most of the game. This was necessary as the offense came to a halt after halftime. It’s going to happen because Prescott has been sidelined. The Bengals eventually put together a touchdown drive, with T Higgins scoring in the fourth quarter. Cincinnati received a two-point conversion to tie the game 17–17.
The defense at that time did a great job of keeping the team in the game. Once Cincinnati tied it, the offense had to play its part in securing the victory. Eventually, it did.
Offense stopped after halftime
The first drive for the Cowboys began well after Cincinnati was tied, with Rush hitting CD Lamb from 24 yards. In the next game Ezekiel Elliott was dropped for a four-yard loss on a short catch. The Cowboys have little margin for error on the offense without Prescott, and losing the first down four yards usually doesn’t lead to anything good. The Cowboys made it away just before the two-minute warning.
But the defense kept the cowboys alive. Trayvon Diggs took a fine short of first on third and -3 on Tyler Boyd, and the Cowboys offense had another chance. Rush completes a few passes to bring the Cowboys into field goal range. Maher was good from 50 yards.
As long as Prescott is out, Dallas will have to win. Each one will have a ton of value, and the Cowboys can feel great about their unexpected win over the Bengals on Sunday.