ARLINGTON, Texas – For the second straight game, the Cowboys lost a game in the second half after having a commanding lead.
The team is hopeful the game is really the biggest loss of the night.
Holding their breath on injuries is something no team wants to do, especially after a preseason game.
But there were some other things that weren't as noticeable as the rash of injuries and the final score.
This spot is usually saved for the five plays that changed the game. But in the preseason, let's focus on five other players and/or aspects of the game. So this preseason version will include players, stats and sometimes plays that get overlooked.
Third RB Debate: There wasn't much of a race for the third running back spot after last week. It seems like it was Bo Scarbrough's job to lose, and maybe that's still the case. But with the rookie from Alabama suffering a hip injury, one that will be evaluated further on Sunday, it opened the door for a guy like Darius Jackson. The backup tailback, who is making his second stint with the Cowboys, shined bright on Saturday, rushing for 42 yards on six attempts. He also caught four passes for 22 yards, totaling 64 yards of offense in the second half. The Cowboys already cut Jackson once and it might be tough to do that a second time.
Rico's Rebound: He's played in four preseason games in his career and makes a highlight play just about every time. Rico Gathers did it again Saturday night, absolutely stealing an interception away from Bengals linebacker Chris Worley like it was a rebound coming off the rim when he played at Baylor. Gathers plays the game like a power forward, and that sometimes gets him in trouble. But the Cowboys are going to have to make a tough decision on him at the end of camp – one that seems to be getting tougher every time he makes a play like that.
Three-and-Down: The first three offensive series, led by Dak Prescott, were very productive for the Cowboys. The offense totaled 135 yards and scored 10 points. From there, it went sour in a hurry. The backups couldn't move the ball at all for six straight series, resulting in just 22 yards. After that, Darius Jackson gave the offense a little bit of a spark, but overall, the Cowboys had 262 offensive yards. More than half of that occurred in the brief time Prescott and the starting O-line was in the game.
Short Stuff – The Cowboys have said they plan to be more aggressive this year and we've seen more deep balls in practice throughout camp. While they were missing some of their top veteran receivers, including speedsters Tavon Austin and Deonte Thompson, Saturday's game was anything but a deep-ball fest. Of the 24 completions, only six went to wide receivers, and of those catches, only Lance Lenoir had a play over 10 yards with his 19-yard reception. It's early, but right now it doesn't appear as if the Cowboys are ready to unleash that just yet.
Cutting the Flags – Last week, the Cowboys had 13 penalties in the preseason opener with the 49ers, but were able to have a better handle of the flags this time around. Only six penalties in this game – all in the second half. The starters and primary backups were rather clean in the first two quarters, with no penalties and a 10-0 lead. However, while the six penalties occurred in the second half, it counted for 77 yards, more than the Bengals' 67 penalty yards on 10 flags.