Cowboys 3

(3-5, 1-3 away)

Bengals 26

(3-5, 3-1 home)

1:00 PM ET, November 7, 2004


1 2 3 4 T
DAL 0 3 0 03
CIN 3 6 7 1026

Schobel's big play leaves Bengals all aglow

CINCINNATI (AP) -- Dallas Cowboys coach Bill Parcells returned to using words like "bad," "awful" and "embarrassed" to describe his team's latest floundering performance -- a 26-3 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.

Allen's Analysis

Eric Allen

Cowboys at Bengals: How stunning is it to see a Parcells team look so sloppy (five turnovers)?

It's amazing how different this team can look from one week to another. One week it looks like they've turned the corner to respectability and the next week it looks like a Pop Warner team. Sunday, the key stat for the Cowboys was the fact they were 3-for-11 on third downs. That isn't going to win any games in the NFL and the Cowboys' players have to realize that. The Cowboys have to find their offensive and defensive personality. Right now they don't have a personality or a dominant player to step up and be the man. Until they get one, I expect the Cowboys to continue with their up and down play.

Eric Allen played cornerback for 14 NFL seasons with the Eagles, Saints and Raiders. He's a regular contributor to Insider.

It was another unsettling setback for the Cowboys (3-5), who have lost four of their last five and fumbled away most of their hope for a second straight playoff appearance.

"Cincinnati played well," Parcells said. "We helped them a lot."

"That's about as bad as you can get," he said. "I'm really embarrassed for that kind of performance. There's no explanation for it, except we're poorly coached and we played bad. I don't know where we go from here, if anywhere.

"I really don't have much to say, fellows, except we were poorly prepared, we played poorly, we were inefficient and we were just awful."

Vinny Testaverde, who turns 41 Saturday, had his worst game with the Cowboys. Throwing to an injury-depleted receiving corps, Testaverde was 18-of-30 for 207 yards with three interceptions and a fumble.

"I feel it's my job to generate energy for our offense," said Testaverde, who has thrown six interceptions in the last two games. "I didn't do that today. It's hard to put a finger on it."

Owner Jerry Jones was already pondering changes for the upcoming game against Philadelphia.

"Vinny's been a real surprise of our season so far," Jones said. "He had been our most positive surprise for us going into this game. Now we may have to look at what our other possibilities are as to any personnel changes. I won't speak to that right now."

Testaverde wasn't the only culprit. The Cowboys failed to take advantage of the NFL's softest run defense, and finished with their worst offensive showing since a 12-0 loss to New England last Nov. 16.

"The way we performed as a team is pitiful," tight end Jason Whitten said.

The Bengals (3-5) didn't put up a bold offense. They pulled off the game's only big play -- a 76-yard touchdown pass to Matt Schobel. They turned four field goals by Shayne Graham and the one big play by Schobel into a soothing win. It was the type of game defensive-minded head coach Marvin Lewis would love to see more often.

Instead of relying on first-year quarterback Carson Palmer to win it with rainbow throws, the Bengals ground it out with short passes and lots of handoffs. Palmer was 21-of-32 for 212 yards without a sack, interception or long pass in a slog-it-out game plan that tested his patience.

"It's extremely difficult," said Palmer, who had a 2-yard touchdown run in the closing minutes. "The fans want to see you go deep, and you want to go deep, get the ball to Chad (Johnson) and see him do something funny."

Graham connected from 35, 47 and 45 yards in the first half -- two of the kicks were set up by fumbles -- and had a 30-yarder in the fourth quarter.

The Cowboys tried to set the tone early, going on fourth-and-inches from the Bengals 22 on the opening drive. Testaverde lost inches, and the Cowboys went into a shell.

Not even the war of words between chatty cousins Keyshawn Johnson of the Cowboys and Chad Johnson of the Bengals was much to talk about. Keyshawn had a fumble and four catches for 58 yards, failing to make much of an impact.

"We need to make changes, whatever they might be," Keyshawn Johnson said. "But it definitely has to be something."

His cousin got so frustrated by Cincinnati's slog-it-out offense that he tackled cornerback Lance Frazier at the end of a play late in the third quarter. Lewis had a long talk with him on the bench, and Johnson had six catches the rest of the way, finishing with eight overall for 74 yards.

"I was fine," he insisted. "I didn't have any problem."

For the first time in franchise history, the Bengals came out in gaudy orange jerseys reminiscent of the XFL. The two offenses looked like something out of the '40s.

Game notes

The Cowboys ran for only 109 yards against a defense allowing an average of 155. Eddie George had only 23 yards on eight carries. ... The crowd of 65,721 was the second-largest in Paul Brown Stadium's five seasons. ... The Bengals also will wear their orange jerseys against the Browns.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Scoring Summary

Drive info: 3 plays, 80 yds, 0:29
cinFG10:03Shayne Graham 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 4 plays, 3 yds, 1:22
Drive info: 3 plays, 80 yds, 0:29
cinFG4:29Shayne Graham 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 6 plays, 19 yds, 2:22
cinFG13:30Shayne Graham 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 8 plays, 30 yds, 3:56
dalFG0:22Billy Cundiff 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 9 plays, 50 yds, 1:51
cinFG12:25Shayne Graham 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 10 plays, 70 yds, 4:11
cinTD2:26Carson Palmer, 2 yd run
Drive info: 14 plays, 66 yds, 8:13
Drive info: 14 plays, 66 yds, 8:13