Tony Romo directed Dallas to a field goal on his first and only drive of the game and the Cowboys defense frustrated the Bengals all night long in a 16-7 victory in the NFL's annual preseason kickoff contest.
Romo led Dallas to the Cincinnati 2 before the drive stalled leading to a David Buehler 20-yard field goal. The Dallas signal caller was 5-for-10 for 59 yards before giving way to Jon Kitna.
"It felt good to get out there," Romo said. "We were able to move around a little and get into a rhythm. Some of the things we were working on in training camp carried over, and it was nice to see that we were able to move the ball."
Buehler, who is trying to win the starting job after the erratic Nick Folk was let go mid-season a year ago, added field goals of 34 yards in the second quarter and 23 yards in the third.
The Bengals were only able to muster a touchdown thanks in large part to rookie Jordan Shipley, who ran back a punt 63 yards shortly after the two-minute warning in the fourth quarter.
QB Jordan Palmer hit rookie tight end Darius Hill for a 1-yard score two players later to provide the lone highlight of the night.
The lone Dallas score came via an interception from rookie linebacker Brandon Sharpe. Sharpe read a pass out in the flats by Jordan Palmer, caught it while jumping backwards, before returning in six yards for a score early in the fourth quarter.
Of course, the big news leading into the game was Cincinnati's signing of former Dallas wide out Terrell Owens.
Owens played the first series, caught two passes with teammate Chad Ocho Cinco also on the field, and promptly left the game with many of the Bengals' starters.
The game was sloppy overall, featuring 16 penalties, including 12 by Cincinnati for 90 yards.
Then again, it was just a preseason game.
"You just have to continue to work on the things we've been doing through the offseason and in training camp," Romo said. "You're never sure until you get into a game-like mode, and some of the new stuff, it was nice to see it work out really well. It's a start. We have to build off of it, but we still have a ways to go, and we're on the way."
Dallas was led in rushing by Tashard Choice with seven carries for 41 yards. Reserve tight end John Phillips, who was spectacular at times, led all pass-catchers with four catches for 60 yards but left with an injury in the second half.
Phillips will get an MRI on Monday, but the initial prognosis is not good after early reports have indicated he may have a torn ACL.
"I'm going to stay positive and wait for [Monday] and see what the doctors get confirmed," Phillips told the media after his injury. "Regardless of what they say something's got to be confirmed on a screen so until they show it to me, I'm going to stay positive."
Cowboys win preseason opener
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