That was hardly the performance most Dallas Cowboys fans were expecting when the team hosted the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday. Back at their home stadium, and coming off a stellar performance last week, it was reasonable to expect the Cowboys to play some quality football. Sadly, they didn’t really get going until late in the game, and then they ran out of time. Cardinals 25 - Cowboys 22.
It was a costly loss for the Cowboys as they take a big hit in their playoff seeding. They drop from second to fourth in the NFC, and now have to close the season on the road against the Philadelphia Eagles.
There aren’t many candidates for a game ball for Dallas. No one player stood out head and shoulders above the rest, but there were a couple of guys who put in quality games. We’ll discuss one on offense, and one on defense.
On the defensive side of the ball, a much-criticized player stepped up and was solid throughout. Linebacker Leighton Vander Esch had 10 total tackles on the night, eight of them solo, and was instrumental in slowing down the Cardinals run game. Arizona had some success on the ground, mainly on a few big runs and Kyler Murray at the end of the game. But for much of the game, the Cardinals struggled to run the ball consistently. Shout out to Vander Easch.
On the offensive side of the ball, Cedrick Wilson did what he could to keep his team in the game. Wilson saw a bigger role than usual because of the injury to Michael Gallup which took him out of the game, and possibly longer. Jerry Jones has said they think Gallup tore his ACL.
Wilson stepped up by filling up the stat sheet. He tied Dalton Schultz for the most catches by a Cowboys player in the game (six), and he caught every pass thrown his way. One of his catches was a touchdown, and he caught a two-point conversion. For good measure, he threw a pass for 31 yards to Tony Pollard.
Wilson has shown his versatility before and was a key player earlier in the season when Gallup was out. If Gallup is going to miss more time, then the Cowboys will need Wilson, There is no reason to think he is not up to the task.
We’ll give the game ball to Wilson over Vander Esch, but just barely. Both did well in a game when many Cowboys players didn’t show up.