ARLINGTON, Texas – How different a week made. For the second straight Sunday, the Cowboys defense came to play against a really good quarterback.
Only this time, the offense pulled its weight, too. Add it up and the Cowboys were able to sneak away with a 20-17 win at the final buzzer.
Here's a quick analysis from the Cowboys' staff writers after the game:
Nick Eatman: Well, wrong again. But I'm sure you guys are happy for this one. In a way, I am as well, because we have to cover this team for the next four months and it's certainly an easier ride when there's hope. That's what we saw today – a lot of hope for this season. Sure, it's a last-second win in a game that wasn't always pretty. But you know what was a thing of beauty? That final drive by Cooper Rush and this offense, especially when nothing had worked the entire second half. What I liked the most about this game – is the guys that have been given second and third chances, shined the brightest. Cooper Rush, Bßrett Maher and Noah Brown have a lot of trust from this organization. And after today, maybe from the fans as well. Really nice win for this team that needed more than we probably even realize.
Patrik Walker: It was an episode of Cardiac Cowboys in Week 2, but winning in the NFL isn't easy so take the victory however you can get it, and especially when it helps you avoid an 0-2 start to the season (and at home, no less). In defeating the Cincinnati Bengals at AT&T Stadium on Sunday, the Cowboys rise to 1-1 and immediately swung momentum back toward possibly repeating as NFC East champs in 2022 - defeating one of the two Super Bowl LVI teams; and with Cooper Rush under center.
Rush entered the matchup as starter in the wake of the Cowboys losing Dak Prescott to a fractured thumb on his throwing hand, and with a small sample size that made it difficult to ascertain if he could replicate his 2021 victory in Minnesota without Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup in tow.
And while it wasn't the most electric game for Rush, it was impressive in how he commanded the offense to an early touchdown pass to Noah Brown - who went on to deliver a breakout game - and in how Rush battled through adversity.
He ultimately channeled his clutch gene (again) with key passes to Brown and Lamb on the final drive before Brett Maher nailed the coffin. In a contest that saw Micah Parsons, Trevon Diggs, Dorance Armstrong and the defense flat-out dominate Burrow and Co. to the tune of six sacks, all the Cowboys needed was Rush to make the big throws in the big moments and, well, he did exactly that.
Rob Phillips: Just a massive win. As big an early-season win as the Cowboys have had in a while, just based on historical math: per USA Today, in the Super Bowl era only 9% of teams that start 0-2 have rebounded to make the playoffs. The Cowboys dodged that statistic with a complete victory: a balanced offense around Cooper Rush, a dynamic pass rush for most of the game, some key hidden yardage on special teams (most notably a 14-yard punt return by KaVontae Turpin before the winning drive) and the deciding field goal by Brett Maher, whom the Cowboys chose as the kicker because of his big leg and career experience. Without Dak Prescott on Sunday, it took everybody raising their game.