Dec 13, 2020; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Dallas Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith (54) tackles Cincinnati Bengals running back Trayveon Williams (32) in the first half at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

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Dalton does in former club as Cowboys rout Bengals

Andy Dalton was sharp in his return to Cincinnati, and the visiting Dallas Cowboys took advantage of three first-half fumbles from the Bengals to snap a two-game skid with a 30-7 win on Sunday.

Dalton was a second-round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft with the Bengals before being let go by the club in April. He completed 16 of 23 passes for 185 yards and two touchdowns.

Amari Cooper had four catches for 51 yards and touchdown for Dallas (4-9), which scored at least 20 points for just the second time in the last eight games.

Aldon Smith, Jourdan Lewis and Jaylon Smith each had a fumble recovery for the Cowboys.

Brandon Allen completed 27 of 36 for 217 yards and a touchdown, but Cincinnati gave away the game with fumbles that ended each of its first three possessions. Allen didn’t finish the game due to a lower leg injury in the fourth quarter.

The Bengals (2-10-1) dropped their fifth straight game and have just 10 combined second-half points during the stretch. Cincinnati has scored only 24 offensive points since a season-ending injury to rookie quarterback Joe Burrow.

Dallas, essentially, had just two possessions and was outgained 196-108 in the first half. The Cowboys led 17-7 at the break anyway.

After Giovani Bernard fumbled on the Bengals’ second play on the opening possession, Greg Zuerlein gave the Cowboys an early 3-0 lead with a 34-yard field goal.

Cincinnati’s second lost fumble from Trayveon Williams was scooped up and returned 78 yards for a defensive score by Smith. That gave Dallas a 10-0 lead with 6:28 left in the first quarter.

The Bengals’ third fumble came from receiver Alex Erickson, who had just converted a fourth-and-1 from the Dallas 15-yard line on the first play of the second quarter. The Cowboys turned the takeaway into a 15-play, 88-yard drive that took 8:12 off the clock, and Dalton finished the series with an 11-yard touchdown pass to Cooper with 6:38 left.

Cincinnati used its own long drive, a 16-play sequence that lasted 6:30, to get on the board with A.J. Green’s 5-yard touchdown late in the half. Dallas had time for a single kneel down after the ensuing kickoff.

After neither team punted in the first half, the teams combined for four punts in a sluggish second. Tony Pollard’s 60-yard kickoff return set up Zuerlein’s 20-yard field goal early in the third quarter, and Zuerlein added a 55-yard field goal with 5:12 remaining to make it 23-7.

Dalton flipped a 7-yard touchdown pass to Tony Pollard with 1:55 left on a fourth-and-1 play to finish it off.

–Field Level Media

Field Level Media
Sport Writer & Editor
FLM has a North American focus while tying into regional and hyper-local resources – providing the ability to distribute compelling content through the writing of professional journalists. As the U.S. sports content provider to dozens of digital and print media publishers through strategic partnerships with the likes of Reuters and Nielsen Sports, FLM covers the nuts and bolts with a breaking news desk and game event coverage.

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