The first team offense looked pretty good until they hit the red zone. They have been struggling in the same situations in practice so that shouldn't be a surprise. The offense definitely needs red zone work. Felix Jones had a fumble in the red zone wiped out by an offside penalty. Fumbles in the red zone are unacceptable.
Tony Romo looked ok, but didn't seem totally comfortable yet. A few of his throws were off target and his timing seemed a little off.
Buehler wasn't great kicking the ball. His field goal was short but he didn't have any trouble. His second field goal was a 34 yarder and it was good but it was heading left and didn't make it by much. The third attempt was missed from 49 yards but he shanked it badly to the left. Fourth attempt was a short one and he nailed it down the middle.
Doug Free did a great job run blocking and pass blocking. On a few plays he blocked more than one man during the play. I feel a lot more comfortable about him but I won't be totally sold until I see him against a premiere pass rusher.
I didn't notice Alan Ball when the first team defense was in the game. That is a good thing because that means he didn't make a mistake.
John Phillips caught a pass from Tony Romo with the first team offense. That doesn't mean he is ahead of Martellus Bennett on the depth chart yet, but Phillips always seems to get the job done whenever he gets a shot. Phillips made two more nice catches later on a seam route and a deep out thrown by Kitna. Phillips hurt his knee in the 2nd quarter but early reports didn't mention the severity of the injury. Did I mention that Phillips blocked well too? Marty B. is going to have a hard time sleeping tonight.
Stephen Bowen had a nice quarterback pressure. Overall, the starters looked pretty good against the Bengal's first team offense. Keith Brooking really knows how to time his blitzes and get penetration. I hope Sean Lee and Jason Williams are taking notes.
Kitna actually looked decent running the offense outside of a fumble. I know he is a proven player but I wasn't impressed when I saw him early in training camp. He is no Tony Romo, but he could at least fill in for a few games if needed.
The second team defense did a very good job against the Bengals #1 offense. Jamar Wall and Cletis Gordan blanketed T.O. and Chad Ochocinco.
Alex Barron looked pretty good but all his action was against the Bengals #2 defense so it is hard to judge. But at least he didn't false start and he blocked well.
Stephen McGee has improved a lot over the last year but he still has a long way to go if he is going to follow in Romo's footsteps. Most of his passes were thrown hard and accurate but his accuracy was horrible with rushers in his face. McGee just doesn't seem to have the field awareness needed to be a quality quarterback in the NFL.
I really like the way Barry Church plays. He is quick to the ball and he delivers a big hit when he gets there. He might sneak onto the final roster if he keeps it up.
Brandon Williams made a nice interception the third quarter. His knee looked great as he rumbled down the field on his return. If he can rush the passer like the coaches think he can then Ware will get a few plays off this year.
The last quarter and a half was hard to watch with so many guys on the field who won't make either team.
Overall it was a decent showing by the Cowboys. It is very early in the preseason so I expected an ugly game and that is what we got. Both sides of the ball and special teams need a lot of work. But a win is a win even if it is the preseason.
***Update - it looks like Martellus Bennett might not have to worry after all. John Phillips may have torn his ACL during the game last night.