CINCINNATI - A dreary afternoon ended with a dramatic victory, but the Dallas Cowboys still left Paul Brown Stadium with heavy hearts.

CINCINNATI — A dreary afternoon ended with a dramatic victory, but the Dallas Cowboys still left Paul Brown Stadium with heavy hearts.

“I’m blessed just to be able to wake up today. I had a teammate who didn’t,” said fullback Lawrence Vickers, his voice quivering.

Dan Bailey’s 40-yard field goal on the game’s final play gave the Cowboys a 20-19 win over the Bengals one day after defensive tackle Josh Brent was charged with intoxication manslaughter in an accident in Irving, Texas, that killed Jerry Brown, a linebacker on the practice squad.

Brown’s death, and the fact that Brent could face imprisonment of two to 20 years, left the Cowboys with mixed emotions after they erased a nine-point deficit in the game’s final seven minutes.

“I don’t know what you’re supposed to do or feel,” quarterback Tony Romo said. “I just know there’s a lot of things that go in and out of your thought process throughout these last 24 hours."

The team learned about the accident that killed Brown while flying to Cincinnati on Saturday.

“All we asked our team (Saturday) night was to understand what happened and to somehow channel their emotions into honoring Jerry today,” coach Jason Garrett said. “It was a hard thing to do. Football is a game of emotion, and somehow we had to process it all and do our job today.”

Police said Brent, 24, was speeding at 2:21 a.m. Saturday when his car hit a curb and flipped at least once before coming to rest in the middle of a service road. Brown, 25, was found unresponsive by emergency workers and was transferred to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Brent, who pled guilty in 2009 to a DUI charge when he played with Brown at Illinois, had started five games this season in place of injured nose tackle Jay Ratliff. He was scheduled to start against the Bengals.

“I was just completely taken aback by the entire accident,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said. “I am completely focused on the tragedy for two people in two families whose lives that were impacted, and obviously, the nature of Jerry Brown losing his life and the impact it has on his family. It’s mind-boggling.”

Garrett spoke to Brown’s mother after the win and said the team was honoring her son with a game ball. The Cowboys plan to hold a memorial for the player on Tuesday.

“It’s a hard, hard situation,” Romo said. “There’s no playbook for this sort of thing in life."

New leg on target

Josh Brown doesn’t know if he has a long-term future with the Bengals, but he made the most of his opportunity after signing three days earlier to replace injured kicker Mike Nugent.

Brown made all four of his field-goal attempts, including a long of 52 yards, and forced the Cowboys to settle for five touchbacks on six of his kickoffs.

“Mike Nugent could be completely healed (today) and I’d be gone,” Brown said. “I’m OK with that. My job is to help this team win and take this opportunity and make it impacting for me so that other teams know I’m not done.”

Nugent’s right calf was injured on Wednesday practicing onside kicks. He said he isn’t sure how long he’ll be out, although coach Marvin Lewis indicated that the injury isn’t serious.

Brown, 33, led the NFL with 33 field goals in 2010, but he was let go by Seattle after struggling last season. He began this preseason with the New York Jets, but they waived him after the third exhibition game. He was out of football until winning a three-man tryout on Thursday with the Bengals.

Brown made his only point-after conversion kick yesterday and converted field goals of 25, 33, 25 and 52 yards.

“This week, we worked hard,” Brown said. “I got into a groove with these guys. It was an easy transition.”