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It's safe to say people are ready for football.
Sunday's Hall of Fame game between the Dallas Cowboys and Cincinnati Bengals was the highest rated preseason game in six years. The 7.6 rating was the highest since the Cowboys and Tennessee Titans squared off in a preseason game on Aug. 30, 2004.
The game was a 31% increase in viewers from last year's Hall of Fame game between the Titans and Buffalo Bills.
The ratings for the 2010 Hall of Fame game beat out the Yankees and Red Sox on ESPN.
The Cowboy defense picked up where it left off in 2009, pushing around the Bengals en route to a physical 16-7 in the Hall of Fame Game. To Blogging The Boys, this game confirms some things they’ve known about the Cowboys so far this off-season. Some of which is good and some not-so-good.
The game confirmed much of what we and others have reported during the first two weeks of camp. The Cowboys possess a deep, talented defense and have strong skill position offensive players, but face a shortage of offensive line depth.
The Cowboys first offense got just one series and marched from its own 28 to the Cincinnati five in thirteen plays. The unit mixed plays from the base 21 set and the 11 package and saw Miles Austin get an early first down with a deep out on Bengals standout Leon Hall.
While the second team skill position guys made plays, the second team line showed by depth remains a big concern. The right side looked shaky and became even moreso when Robert Brewster moved to left tackle to spell Alex Barron, who left with an ankle sprain. Pat McQuistan and Sam Young struggled to protect Stephen McGee, who took over from Kitna after the number two completed two series.
One week. That’s the amount of time the Cincinnati Bengals had on the practice field together before Sunday night’s 16-7 loss to the Cowboys. Knowing this, Cincy Jungle wonders just how much Bengal fans can read into the issues they saw during the exhibition opener.
If you were to write one sentence on what you thought about tonight, what would it be? Would you make the point that the Bengals had practiced only a week during training camp before kicking off the preseason? Would you make a point that the first preseason game is perhaps the second most meaningless (behind the final game) to judge a team with? Would you make the point that the Bengals largely didn’t plan, nor prepare, for the Cowboys strictly using an evaluation process for the individual players?
Or would you find faults with the club? Faults that the Bengals coaching staff will unquestionably address with more than a month to address them.
Canton, OH (Sports Network) – Tony Romo connected on half of his passes during his lone offensive series and the Dallas Cowboys kicked off the preseason with a 16-7 win over Cincinnati in the annual Hall of Fame Game.
Both starting quarterbacks saw limited time. Romo led his team on a 14-play, 63-yard drive, which ended on a 20-yard field goal from David Buehler. Romo completed 5-of-10 passes for 59 yards for the defending NFC East champions.
Cincinnati’s Carson Palmer played the first two offensive series and ended 2-of-5 for 18 yards for last year’s AFC North winners. Palmer’s younger brother, Jordan, connected on 10-of-20 passes for 102 yards, including a one- yard TD pass to tight end Darius Hill with 51 seconds left in the game.
Rookie linebacker Brandon Sharpe picked off Jordan Palmer and scored on the six-yard return early in the fourth quarter for Dallas’ lone touchdown.
Better late than never, the Bengals get on the board in Sunday’s Hall of Fame Game. Jordan Palmer hit Darius Hill for a one-yard TD score to make the game 16-7 with :51 remaining in the 4th.
Not that it all matters in the end, but A for effort to the Bengal back-ups.
A touchdown, finally!
Former Texas Tech LB Brandon Sharpe intercepted a pass by Bengals QB Jordan Palmer and returned it six yards for the score. Making sure he was involved in all scoring this evening, David Buehler kicked the extra point.
Congrats to Sharpe who might have just earned himself an official roster spot with that TD.
Owens? Romo? Ochocinco? Palmer?
Sorry, if you’re looking for those kind of names to light up the stat sheet you’re going to have to wait a few weeks. For now, the name of the game is David Buehler. His third field goal of the evening, a 20-yarder at the 9:25 mark of the third quarter, makes it 9-0 Cowboys in the 2010 Hall of Fame game.
And because you know you’re wondering, Terrell Owens has two catches for 18 yards.
Dallas Cowboys TE John Phillips went down with a knee injury in the second quarter of the Hall of Fame game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
The severity of the injury is unknown but he won't be returning.
Phillips is fighting for playing time with Jason Witten and Martellus Bennett.
At the time he left the game, Phillips was the leading receiver with four receptions for 60 yards.
The Dallas Cowboys added another field goal to make it 6-0 over the Cincinnati Bengals through one-and-a-half quarters in the 2010 Hall of Fame game in Canton, OH.
The Cowboys started on their own 45 and drove 39 yards on eight plays to get in field goal range for the 34-yard David Buehler kick.
Third stringer Stephen McGee was the quarterback. He was 3/3 for 37 yards on the drive.
The Cowboys lead 6-0 nearing the end of the first half.
The Cincinnati Bengals couldn't get any points on the board in their first drive of the 2010 Hall of Fame game against the Dallas Cowboys.
Carson Palmer went 1/3 for seven yards with the lone completion going to Owens. They're clearly trying to develop a rapport early as Palmer actually targeted Owens four times on the first drive. They connected on one, two were incomplete and the other was called back on a penalty.
Cedric Benson took two handoffs for seven yards.
The Dallas Cowboys got the ball first in the 2010 Hall of Fame game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Staring on their own 35, Tony Romo drove the Cowboys down to the Bengals two yard line only to settle for a field goal.
The Cowboys lead 3-0.
Romo went 5/10 for 59 yards on the drive including a 21 yard completion to Roy Wiliams, 16 yard completion to Miles Austin and two completions for 14 yards to Patrick Crayton.
Pacman Jones made his presence felt on the first play of the drive knocking the ball away on a pass intended for Austin.
The Cowboys fumbled inside the five yard line and the Bengals recovered but the play was called back on a penalty.
It doesn't have to be amazing, star-studded, or even competitive. It might even fail on all three fronts. It won't matter: it's football, and it's back for another season.
Also a matter of tradition is the usual practice of starters not lasting past the first quarter in this game, and viewers should expect nothing different tonight; Cowboys stars Tony Romo, Jason Witten, Marion Barber, and Miles Austin will only guide the offense for a series or two, and Carson Palmer probably won't throw more than a couple passes toward Chad Ochocinco or his new partner in mischief, Terrell Owens. The Bengals have a laundry list of regular players that won't even suit up at all. By the fourth quarter, only a scant few of the players on the field will even make the Cowboys' and Bengals' final rosters.
But all the same, so what, because nobody's under the impression that there's any consequence to this game; it's the ceremonial return of televised football, and we're going to have over another month of exhibitions like this before the real games begin. And that's fine. It's been a long offseason, and we're all thirsty for just about anything NFL-related. Well, aside from Brett Favre. He's not invited tonight.