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Dallas Cowboys' dynamic rookie backfield comes through vs. Cincinnati Bengals

By Art Garcia, The Sports Xchange
Dallas Cowboys' dynamic rookie backfield comes through vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott gets free for a 60-yard touchdown run against the Cincinnati Bengals during the first half at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas on October 9, 2016. Ian Halperin/UPI | License Photo

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Dallas Cowboys are leading the NFC East.

They can thank their dynamic rookie backfield for leading the way.

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Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott once again carried the load in Dallas 28-14 thumping of the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday afternoon at AT&T Stadium.

The first-year quarterback and running back accounted for four touchdowns as the Cowboys won their fourth game in the row. Dallas (4-1) leads the NFC East after Philadelphia (3-1) suffered its first loss of the season Sunday.

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"It's a ton of fun," Prescott said.

The Cowboys put the game away on their first three possessions, driving down the field with ease. And instead of settling for field goals, as had often been the case earlier this season, Dallas found the end zone.

Prescott was equally effective staying in the pocket and on the move. The fourth-round pick found six different receivers, completing 18 of 24 passes for 227 yards and a touchdown without an interception.

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Prescott extended his NFL record to start a career without a pick to 155 attempts and is seven throws away from Tom Brady's overall record. He also ran for a 5-yard score early in the second quarter.

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"Really seemed Dak read things out well," Dallas coach Jason Garrett said, "threw it to the right guy. He was accurate, made big plays when he needed, made a lot of good decisions throughout the game to keep the drive alive, made a lot of big throws.

"He's just continuing to execute week in, week out, and he's growing with the experience he gets. He goes about it the right way. We're lucky to have him."

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Cole Beasley caught four passes for 53 yards and a 14-yard touchdown late in the second quarter. Terrance Williams had five catches for 70 yards.

Elliott regained the NFL rushing lead after racking up 134 yards on 15 carries and two touchdowns, including a season-long 60-yard scoring burst through the middle early in the third quarter to make it 28-0.

The Bengals struggled to wrap up or catch up to Elliott. The Ohio State product carried the load on Dallas' first drive, capped by a 13-yard touchdown less than four minutes into the game.

Elliott is the first Cowboys rookie with three straight 100-yard rushing games.

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"It makes my job a little easier knowing I've got to get the ball to those playmakers," Prescott said.

The afternoon was far less successful for the Bengals, who dropped to 2-3 after their third loss in four games. Cincinnati has plenty to fix before traveling to New England next week,

"We have to look at it very hard and make corrections," Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said. "And move forward quickly."

Cincinnati's Andy Dalton and A.J. Green were kept in check by an aggressive Dallas defense. The Bengals were held to their fewest points and second-lowest yardage total (345) this season.

"Anytime you lose you're going to look in the mirror," Dalton said. "You're going to look at the film and see what you can do better and you've got to move on from it.

"We've got then potential to do some really good things and everybody has got to play to that potential. That's what it comes down to. That's where we're at. We're 2-3 right now. We've got to find a way to get to 3-3 next week."

Dalton, a graduate of nearby TCU, couldn't get the ball downfield and into Green's hands. Cincinnati's quarterback continuously checked down in going 29 for 41 for 269 yards and two touchdowns to Brandon LaFell.

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One week after torching Miami for 173 yards and a touchdown, Green caught four balls for 50 yards.

LaFell's two fourth-quarter touchdowns were his firsts of the season.

The Bengals didn't come close to scoring until their opening possession of the second half. The march ended with Mike Nugent missing wide left on a 50-yard field-goal try.

Not only are the Cowboys leading their division, they've matched last season's win total.

"It's not really time for that tough," Garrett said. "It's time to get back to work ... and get ready for a great challenge that's coming up this week in Green Bay."

NOTES: Dallas DE DeMarcus Lawrence made his season debut after a four-game suspension for violating the league's substance-abuse policy. Lawrence had a team-high eight sacks last season. ... Bengals inactives: TE Tyler Eifert, WR James Wright, QB Jeff Driskel, CB KeiVarae Russell, CB Chykie Brown, G Christian Westerman and DT DeShawn Williams. Cowboys inactives: QB Tony Romo, WR Dez Bryant, RB Lance Dunbar, RB Darius Jackson, T Chaz Green, CB Orlando Scandrick and DE David Irving. ... AT&T Stadium opened the doors at both ends for the sixth time since the facility opened in 2009. The roof was closed.

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