When games like this happen, the best thing to say is "good teams find ways to win these games; bad teams find ways to lose them."
You can kind of place that sentiment on the Dallas Cowboys' 31-22 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals.
Dallas jumped all over the Bengals early, building a 17-0 lead. They ran the ball down Cincy's throat and instantly put the meek Bengals on the ropes.
Yet, they seemed to let off the gas a bit. Cincinnati, sensing the opportunity, used an effective mid-level passing game to get back into the game. Carson Palmer, returning after missing last week with an elbow injury, threw 39 passes for 217 yards and two big TDs to T.J. Houshmandzadeh. The Bengals had a chance to tie the game in the 4th quarter, but failed on a two-point conversion attempt.
Three plays just symbolized the Bengals season.
Down 17-3 in the third, Chris Perry bulldozed a 17-yard TD that would have gotten the Bengals within seven. However, Houshmandzadeh was flagged for holding downfield and the play was nullified. Cincinnati would settle for a Shayne Graham field goal.
Trailing 17-16 in the fourth quarter, the Bengals successfully recovered an onside kick. With momentum (they had just scored 16 straight points) and great field position, Perry would then fumble on the drive's 3rd play. Two plays later, Tony Romo hit Terrell Owens over the middle for a 57-yard touchdown.
Then, after getting the game to 24-22, the Bengals watched a Romo pass go through Miles Austin's hands, past a defender and into Patrick Crayton's mitts for the game clinching score.
This was a game that fit both these teams' expectations:
-The Cowboys' win makes them 4-1 and the Bengals 0-5.
-Tony Romo threw an interception for the 8th straight game.
-Terrell Owens catches a TD pass
-Chris Perry has another huge fumble
-The Bengals go into an NFC East stadium, give good effort, but fall short.
-Chad Johnson didn't score and didn't kiss the star
-On the very first play of the game, Carson Palmer throws an interception to a defensive lineman
Good teams win 'em. Bad teams lose 'em.
For Dallas, it won't be a win that will make many of the highlight reels but it is a win nonetheless. Dallas now has to head to Arizona to face an offensively explosive Cardinals. The Bengals take their 0-5 record back to New York to face an equally hot Jets offense.