ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — These rookie-led Dallas Cowboys keep winning without Tony Romo and Dez Bryant.
Ezekiel Elliott ran for 134 yards and two touchdowns, fellow rookie Dak Prescott threw for a score and ran for another TD, and the Cowboys beat the Cincinnati Bengals 28-14 on Sunday for their fourth consecutive victory.
“Zeke ran really, really well, but a big part of this game was the efficiency of our passing game,” coach Jason Garrett said. “Dak read things out well, threw it to the right guy, and was accurate. … He’s grown with the experience he gets. He’s goes about it the right way. We’re lucky to have him.”
Without Romo, who hasn’t played yet after his fourth back injury in just less than four years, the Cowboys (4-1) have already matched their victory total from a year ago. Bryant has missed two games with a hairline fracture in his right knee.
The Bengals (2-3) have a losing record a year after being 8-0 midway through the season.
“Everybody needs to take a deep look at their self,” said Bengals cornerback Adam Jones, who was still known as Pacman when he played for the Cowboys.
Romo could be ready to play when the Cowboys play their next home game Oct. 30 against Philadelphia. They are guaranteed to have a winning record then, going to Green Bay next week before their bye.
Prescott had his first turnover, a fumble when he was sacked late in the third quarter. But the fourth-round draft pick was 18-of-24 passing for 227 yards, and extended his NFL rookie record to 155 passes without an interception to start a career.
Elliott, on only 15 carries, became the first Cowboys rookie with three consecutive 100-yard rushing games. He also had three catches for 37 yards.
“It doesn’t surprise me. He’ll deal it up any way you want to have it,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said. “You saw that speed take care of itself out there.”
Elliott put the Cowboys ahead to stay with a 13-yard TD run on their opening drive. Then on their first offensive snap of the second half, Elliott busted through the middle and into the open on the way to a 60-yard score, punctuating the play with what might be called a JerryWorld jump, leaping up a few feet to celebrate with fans sitting in field-level suites in the end zone.
Prescott ran 5 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter. Then he was scrambling to his right before halftime when he threw on the run to Cole Beasley for a 14-yard score.
It was a homecoming of sorts for Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton, who went to TCU about 20 miles away from AT&T Stadium. The 2011 second-round draft pick was visiting the Cowboys for the first time in a regular-season game.
But the Bengals trailed 28-0 before Dalton threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to Brandon LaFell with about 10 minutes left. That duo hooked up again for a 5-yard score with 2:39 left. Dalton finished 29 of 41 for 269 yards.
“They got us in longer situations on third down and we weren’t able to keep moving the ball,” Dalton said. “They took some things away, and we weren’t able to overcome that.”
The Cowboys are the first team in NFL history to have a rookie quarterback with 1,000 yards passing and a rookie running back with at least 500 yards rushing in the first five games of a season.
Dallas Pro Bowl left tackle Tyron Smith returned after missing two games with back issues. Smith had missed just one game in the first five seasons of his career before his back tightened up late in the week before the third game against Chicago.
Dallas defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence made his season debut following a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy. While he didn’t get a sack, he boosted a pass rush that sacked Dalton four times. Lawrence, who led Dallas with eight sacks last season, had a fistful of Dalton’s jersey on one play but couldn’t pull him down.
HOME GETTING SWEET AGAIN
The Cowboys have won their last two home games, following an eight-game losing streak in their showplace stadium. They lost 20-19 to the New York Giants at home in this season’s opener.