They say that strange things happen in Glendale with the Cowboys and Cardinals. Well, though there were some strange things such as Larry Fitzgerald’s arm-deflection catch or Dez Bryant willing through a crowd of Cardinals for the score, it was good to see a win! First, a PSA for all of you on a great Tuesday:
This game was always going to be a battle, pay no attention to those postgame shows that tell you this wasn’t a big win, it was huge. The Cardinals are a good team with struggles but as they get players to return, they’ll be right in it. Sure, they’re 1-2 but so are the Seahawks. Not sure about you but things like this respect just makes me happy:
This game was a grind from start to finish. The Dallas Cowboys came out against a fired up defense in front of their home crowd. Once the Cards easily went down on their first drive and got seven points, it felt too easy. The first half was brutal:
First half stats:— Mike Leslie (@MikeLeslieWFAA) September 26, 2017
DAL -- AZ
5 1stDwn 10
57 NetYds 152
9:41 TOP 20:19
1/4 3rdDwn 4/8
Despite those ugly statistics, the Cowboys were able to tie it up at 7-7 before the half as the Cowboys’ defense stopped Arizona. The Cowboys forced a missed field goal and finally started to come to work:
2 important plays at end of drive...boot leg pass to Brown and QB run. When QB adds dimension of his legs, changes how defense play them.— Derek Eagleton (@derekeagleton) September 26, 2017
Derek Eagleton was right on because Prescott added that dimension and made the Cardinals respect it. When they didn’t, things like this happened:
The Cardinals clamped down again after the half as the Cowboys got nothing. It was frustrating for them to work against such an opportunistic type of defense. Arizona is well-coached and weren’t going to let anything come easy. Dallas went three-and-out as the offensive line wasn’t playing elite and Prescott had quick feet, almost too quick:
Little bit of happy feet from Prescott there. He had room. Got a little impatient, leaving the pocket like that.— Mike Leslie (@MikeLeslieWFAA) September 26, 2017
That’s okay because this Cowboys’ defense stepped up and took it to the Cardinals’ offense, mainly their quarterback, Carson Palmer. Maliek Collins and Tyrone Crawford both put Palmer down but they should have had three sacks in the first half. Demarcus Lawrence’s first sack was negated by a penalty on the defense. So, in the second half, on mostly three-man rushes, Lawrence just went off:
Bruh. DeMarcus Lawrence is unreal.— David Helman (@HelmanDC) September 26, 2017
Granted, that was TE Jermaine Gresham he just abused. But still.— David Helman (@HelmanDC) September 26, 2017
Getting the Cardinals off the field was important for a tired defense:
#Cowboys defense was on the field for 20:19 in the first half, playing 33 plays.— Mike Leslie (@MikeLeslieWFAA) September 26, 2017
That 3 & out was very beneficial.
Starting in Cardinals territory at the 46, the Cowboys started to flex a little bit. You knew that Ezekiel Elliott would be heavily featured but Dez Bryant was a monster to capitalize:
Dez Bryant just dragged the entire Arizona Cardinals team into the endzone— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) September 26, 2017
Dez Bryant’s 69 career touchdowns through his first 100 games played are sixth-most by any NFL WR all-time during their first 100 games.— Brandon George (@DMN_George) September 26, 2017
The Cardinals would bring it back to 14-14 after two unsuccessful drives, one by each team. Larry Fitzgerald abused the Cowboys and got into the end zone in three plays.
After trading punts, the Cowboys were back on the field at the 50-yard line in the fourth quarter. In five plays, they found the promised land. Brice Butler caught an amazingly accurate heave by Dak Prescott to go up 21-14:
Dak just threw a 50-50 ball to Brice Butler vs Tyrann Matheiu with receivers open underneath. Don't tell me he's a dink-and-dunk QB.— Dan Turner (@dtsturner) September 26, 2017
With the Cards back on offense, it was time to clamp down. Despite penalties, failed challenges, and those weird catches, the Cowboys stopped Arizona after 16 plays, forcing the field goal.
Finally with six-and-a-half minutes to go, we saw the Cowboys’ offense put together a long drive without help from their defense or special teams.
On first and 10, Prescott connects with Butler again on a 75-yard touchdown pass. But...wait...Butler was touched down after 53 yards. Though the score was overturned, Butler got that 53 in coverage from the “Honey Badger” who was busted on that play. Butler did what he hasn’t done before, play consistently good football.
On first and goal from the Cardinals eight, Ezekiel Elliott finally found his redemption after a tumultuous offseason that still isn’t resolved.
In less than a minute of play, Maliek Collins thwarted the Cardinals efforts with his second sack of the game. Collins was also dominant in this game, check this sack with another three-man rush:
Maliek Collins with a big time sack pic.twitter.com/62FLPoLwNj— Cowboys Nation (@CowboysNation) September 26, 2017
On the Cardinals’ final offensive possession, with time against them, they were helped by three defensive penalties by the Cowboys. Still, when it mattered most, DeMarcus Lawrence got his final two sacks with less than three minutes left. The Cardinals failed to get into the end zone though they tried desperately.
The Cowboys get their second win with major help from their gutsy quarterback and somehow ferocious pass rush. Other than that hard-fought win, the biggest takeaways were how they lost in almost every offensive statistic but willed themselves to victory. That wouldn’t have been possible without their pass rush (which is hard to even write without taking a second look!) There are plenty of games to play but Lawrence may be a “War Daddy” after all.
Lawrence became 3rd player ever w/ more than 1 sack in each of 1st 3 games of season (Mark Gastineau; 3 in 1984) & Kevin Greene (4 in 1998).— Brandon George (@DMN_George) September 26, 2017
Enjoy this win, CowboysNation! In just a few days, we’ll be back with the Rams-Cowboys game Sunday at noon!