DALLAS - After watching his proud defense get strafed for 134 yards on just 15 carries by Cowboys rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott in Sunday's 28-14 loss, nose tackle Domata Peko could only repeat what head coach Marvin Lewis told his team after they slipped to 2-3.
After their big win over Hue Jackson's parade of quarterbacks in Cleveland Sunday in Tom Brady's return, the Patriots wait in Foxboro next Sunday.
"Like Coach said, we have to look at ourselves in the mirror," Peko said. "See if we can improve because next week it ain't going to be easy. We know next week we've got hungry Tom Brady and Bill Belichick and we have to make our corrections. And we have to find a way to win."
The Cowboys appeared to play the game with an adjustment in their run scheme that attacked the perimeter and forced the Bengals defensive backs to tackle the 225-pound Elliott.
On Elliott's 60-yard touchdown romp up the middle untouched, the Bengals said the Cowboys ran a play they hadn't all game and caught the Bengals in stunt. It basically left Bengals middle linebacker Rey Maualuga by himself in the box and when he got blocked Elliott was gone.
"There's nothing more to it. They kicked our butt," said Maualuga, who had one tackle on the stat sheet.
Left end Carlos Dunlap had the defensive play of the day with a sack and strip fumble of Cowboys rookie quarterback Dak Prescott, Prescott's only turnover in his first five NFL starts. But Dunlap was thinking about two runs.
"They did a good job of mixing it up. That's why we got caught a couple of times," Dunlap said. "I left my guys hanging on two plays and they turned into touchdowns."
_Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis came to the podium after the game and said he was going to pull a Tiger Woods and start with something positive.
"We scored twice in the red zone today," said Lewis of a team that had the worst touchdown percentage in the league inside the 20 coming into the game.
But he knew it couldn't begin to explain what happened.
"They outplayed us," Lewis said. "On defense we gave up too many big plays …
"On offense early in the game it seemed like we would stall on third down after doing (well) on first and second….It's disappointing."
Cincinnati Bengals travel to take on the Dallas Cowboys in week 5 of the regular season.