Three straight forced fumbles including a 78-yard scoop and score powered the Dallas Cowboys to a 30-7 road win over the Cinncinati Bengals. The Bengals became the first team since the New England Patriots in 2013 to lose a fumble on three straight possessions.
The fumbles began on the opening drive as end Demarcus Lawrence stripped Bengals running back Giovanni Bernard resulting in a 34-yard Greg Zuerlein field goal. On the following drive running back, Trayveon Williams ran into the back of his lineman resulting in a fumble that was picked up and returned 78-yards to the house by end Aldon Smith. That’s the longest fumble return for Dallas since 1999.
Dallas opened the second quarter with a Darian Thompson forced fumble on a fourth and one resulting in an 11-yard touchdown pass from Andy Dalton to Amari Cooper. The 17 point lead and 10 point half-time lead are the biggest of the season for the Cowboys. The dominance continued in the second half as Dallas pitched a shutout outscoring the Bengals 13-0 on a pair of Zuerlein field goals and a Dalton to Tony Pollard touchdown.
Despite the Bengals starting backup quarterback Brandon Allen, the defense looked energized flying around the field for four quarters. On the day they held Cincy to 309 yards and 18 first downs on 70 plays and holding them to just 1-of-3 in the red zone. Another plus was the run defense as they allowed just 101 yards on 30 carries. Linebacker Jaylon Smith led the charge with 11 tackles while end Tyrone Crawford registered the unit’s only sacks, his first two of the season.
Offensively Dalton had a solid outing in his return to Cincy throwing for 185 yards and two touchdowns with just seven incompletions. Running back Ezekiel Elliott led on the ground with 48 yards on 12 carries but did have a season-long 26 yarder only his second 20 plus yard run of the season. Out wide Cooper led with four catches for 51 yards and a score while rookie CeeDee Lamb finished second with two for 46. Most importantly the unit didn’t have a turnover.
With the win, Dallas moves to 4-9 on the season and takes on the San Fransico 49ers next week.