Bengals off to 0-2 start: What to know about 20-17 loss to Cowboys

The defending AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals are off to an 0-2 start.

A 20-17 loss in Dallas on Sunday followed a similar script to the 23-20 overtime loss at home vs. Pittsburgh in the opener:

Fall behind in the first half, rally in the second half to tie the game, lose on a walk-off field goal.

ExplorePHOTOS: Bengals vs. Cowboys

Brett Maher booted the game-winner Sunday from 50 yards out as time expired.

Here’s a look at the offense, defense and special teams from Sunday’s game:


Early returns on the Bengals’ revamped offensive line are not good.

For the second straight week, Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow was under big-time pressure, especially in the first half. A week after giving up seven sacks to the Steelers, the Bengals allowed six vs. the Cowboys, who were led by outside linebacker Micah Parsons (two sacks).

It’s the seventh straight game the Bengals have allowed at least three sacks.

The Bengals, who replaced 4/5 of their offensive line in the offseason after Burrow was sacked 70 times last season (including playoffs), managed only 85 yards in the first half.

Burrow engineered a monumental game-tying drive in the fourth quarter, finding Tee Higgins for a 5-yard TD with 3:45 to play. That capped a 19-play, 83-yard drive. The Bengals tied the game at 17 on the ensuing two-point conversion when Burrow found Tyler Boyd in the back of the end zone.

Still, it was a slog for much of the game for the Bengals’ offense. Cincy was 6-of-17 on third-down conversions and averaged just 3.8 yards per play. The Bengals longest play of the game was a 19-yard completion to Higgins.


While the line issues made it tough on Burrow and Co. to move the ball in the first half, the defense allowed back-to-back TDs to the Cowboys and back-up QB Cooper Rush, who started for the injured Dax Prescott, to open the game.

Dallas totaled 227 yards in the first half and built a 17-3 lead.

The Bengals’ defense was much better in the second half, keeping Dallas off the scoreboard until Maher’s game-winning kick. The Cowboys had just 110 yards in the second half.

D.J. Reader came up with Cincy’s first takeaway of the season on a fumble recovery.

Rush finished 19-of-31 for 235 yards and a TD.

Vonn Bell led the Bengals with seven tackles.

Special teams

After a disastrous start in the opener -- a missed PAT and missed field goal in overtime vs. Pittsburgh thanks to a back-up long snapper -- kicker Evan McPherson was back to being money.

With rookie long snapper Cal Adomitis starting his first game in place of the injured Clark Harris, McPherson booted field goals 43, 50 and 46 yards.

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