Observation deck: Bengals-Cowboys

In the Cincinnati Bengals' sloppy 24-18 preseason loss at Dallas, the mistakes made by cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick stand out the most. Here's the nightmarish performance by Kirkpatrick: one touchdown allowed in coverage, two pass-interference penalties and three missed tackles.

A first-round pick from a year ago, Kirkpatrick had a strong start to training camp. But he was physically overmatched at times versus Dallas.

In the second quarter, he was in position to make a play in the end zone, but he lost the fight for the ball against wide receiver Dez Bryant, who scored a 5-yard touchdown. Kirkpatrick was also flagged twice for pass interference, both of which converted third downs and totaled 28 penalty yards. Then, in the third quarter, he had the first of three missed tackles by the Bengals on running back DeMarco Murray, who caught a short pass in the flat and ran into the end zone for a 7-yard touchdown.

The Bengals are starting Leon Hall and Terence Newman at cornerback for a second consecutive season. With Adam Jones injured, the Bengals are looking at Kirkpatrick to step up in nickel defense. The Bengals can't have a lot of confidence in Kirkpatrick after this rocky effort, but it should make for an interesting episode of "Hard Knocks."

Here are some other thoughts on the Bengals' third preseason game:

  • The Bengals' starting offense wasn't sharp in the first half. Wide receiver Marvin Jones fumbled at the Cowboys' 4-yard line to end the first drive, and quarterback Andy Dalton threw an interception down the middle of the field (where it was Mohamed Sanu and three Dallas defenders) on third-and-15 to end the second drive. Dalton finished 12-of-16 for 113 yards.

  • There are no concerns about A.J. Green's health after watching him play 2½ quarters. He looked smooth in making three catches for 42 yards. Green, who missed the first two preseason games with a knee injury, nearly had a touchdown in the right corner of the end zone, but it was ruled that one foot went out of bounds.

  • I've always thought Adam Jones was the most dangerous returner on the team, but Brandon Tate made his case to keep the job by running a punt back 75 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter. The score came after Cowboys punter Chris Jones hit the scoreboard and had to kick again.

  • Right tackle Andre Smith tweaked his left knee and didn't return after playing two drives. He was replaced by Dennis Roland. The Bengals were already playing without left tackle Andrew Whitworth, who hasn't played this preseason after having offseason knee surgery.

  • Rookie sixth-round pick Cobi Hamilton fumbled on an end around, but he vindicated himself later. He converted a fourth down in the red zone on a pass from Josh Johnson and then finished off that drive with a 4-yard touchdown on which he had to stretch the ball into the end zone.

  • Some numbers that aren't going to make defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer happy: The Cowboys were 9-for-16 on third downs, 3-for-4 in the red zone, totaled 358 yards and controlled the clock for 39 minutes, 31 seconds.

  • In the battle for the backup quarterback job, Johnson was 6-of-13 for 35 yards. He was picked off on the Bengals' final drive, which ended any chances of a comeback. John Skelton didn't play.