(AP) — FRISCO, Texas On Cooper Rush’s debut series as a replacement for injured star quarterback Dak Prescott, Dallas coach Mike McCarthy went for it on fourth down from his own territory.

The Cowboys converted, defeated Cincinnati when few expected them to after a dismal offensive showing in their season opener, and may have made their journey without Prescott, whatever long it is, a lot easier.

“I hope they see that with me every time I get in front of them, every time I connect with them,” McCarthy said when asked if he was looking for a confidence boost for a squad that had been unsettled by the opening. “I don’t want to be taking ridiculous risks and so on. Most of the time, it’s not worth it. I really enjoy how we started. It was a simple decision.”

On fourth-and-2 from the Dallas 44, Noah Brown received Rush’s 17-yard throw, leading to a touchdown.

Cowboys’ go-for-it attitude helps them on their journey sans Prescott.

Cooper Rush connects with Noah Brown for the @DallasCowboys touchdown!

: #CINvsDAL on CBS: Watch on NFL+ pic.twitter.com/oxBY71tEh6 https://t.co/AyfpfGIkql

September 18, 2022 — NFL (@NFL)
In the greatest game of his six-year career, Brown scores his first career touchdown on a 9-yard pass.

The Cowboys scored on their first two drives in a 20-17 victory over the defending AFC champion Bengals, after being the only NFL club that did not score on opening weekend, losing 19-3 to Tampa Bay.

Following that, Rush struggled to get the offence moving in the first of what may be multiple starts as Prescott heals from a fracture near the thumb of his right hand.

After a great defensive stop when Joe Burrow and the Bengals gained offensive momentum for the first time, Dallas needed around 30 yards in the last minute to get into field goal range.

Rush got them that and a couple more, thanks in large part to another grab by Brown.

Rush became the first Dallas quarterback to lead game-winning drives in his first two appearances when Brett Maher hit a 50-yard field goal as time expired. The first came last year in Minnesota, when Prescott was hampered by a calf issue.

“It’s just a credit to all of the effort we put in, in the facilities,” said Brown, who had 91 yards receiving for the first time in his career. “Not many people have seen Cooper, or myself in the past. However, the work was displayed today.”

Rush only came in once last year, when Prescott was out with a calf issue. The Cowboys are aware that it will be more than that this time.

Prescott might return as early as Week 4, according to executive vice president of personnel Stephen Jones, but a Week 5 matchup against the reigning Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams is more likely.

“We were not going to rush Dak back,” stated owner Jones. “Dak’s repair allows him to play whenever he can handle the ball. And it is hardly a reason to rush him back. He’d be the first to tell you he doesn’t want to play if he couldn’t hold the ball.”


In the first two weeks, defensive coordinator Dan Quinn’s squad has surrendered one touchdown each to offences led by Tom Brady and Joe Burrow. Burrow’s six sacks were the highest for the Cowboys since the New York Giants in 2018. A week after Leonard Fournette averaged 6, Dallas held Joe Mixon to 3 yards per run.