GLENDALE, AZ—Despite what the score may indicate, the Dallas Cowboys played a sloppy game against the Arizona Cardinals in Dallas’ third preseason contest. The Cowboys committed 5 turnovers all in the first half, with all of them coming from first and second team players.
Cowboys third-year wide receiver Dwayne Harris committed the first turnover, a fumbled punt at the Dallas 22 on the heels of the first team defense forcing a three-and-out on the Cardinals’ opening possession. Thankfully, the Cowboys defense was able to stiffen again and only hold the Cardinals to 3 points.
Dallas’ first team offense wasn’t able to make a first down, except for a roughing the passer call on Cardinals linebacker Jasper Brinkley. After in essence going three-and-out, the Cardinals received the ball at their own 11. Carson Palmer led the Cardinals on an 85-yard drive down to the Cowboys 4 that the Cardinals turned over on downs with Cardinals runningback Rashard Mendenhall dropping a converting catch.
“Our defense did a good job of hunkering down and playing good red zone defense,” Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett said at the halftime break.
With two trips into the red zone, one of which was aided by a Cowboys turnover, the Cardinals only led by three.
The turnover woes did not cease for the Cowboys. On the ensuing drive, after Romo hit Dez Bryant for 25 yards and Miles Austin for 16 yards, Lance Dunbar caught a dump off and took it 43 yards until he fumbled the ball in midair after Yeremiah Bell tripped him. Immediately thereafter, the Cardinals went three-and-out.
Dez Bryant was the next fumbling culprit. After catching a slant for 9 yards and beating double coverage for 13 yards, the fourth-year wideout caught a 27-yard pass and seemed to be running. All too reminiscent of Roy “Thanksgiving” Williams’ disastrous fumble against the Saints in 2010, Bryant held the ball loosely in his inside arm toward Cardinals cornerback Jerraud Powers. When Powers caught up to Bryant, he jarred the ball loose and Jasper Brinkley recovered. The Cardinals did capitalize on that turnover and made it a 6-0 game. Then Garrett pulled out the first team offense.
The second team offense didn’t do any better. Kyle Orton threw two interceptions, though Cowboys rookie linebacker DeVonte Holloman did pick off Cardinals quarterback Drew Stanton, adding his second interception this preseason for Holloman.
“If you don’t take care of the football, you have no chance of winning,” said head coach Jason Garrett at halftime.
Tony Romo went 7/10 for 142 yards. Dez Bryant had 4 catches for 74 yards. Rookie wide receiver from Baylor, Terrance Williams, did not have an impressive showing with the first teamers, failing to extend for a pass intended for him a go route on the opening offensive series. George Selvie had a sack in the first half, as did Ben Bass. With the five turnovers, the Cardinals dominated the time of possession 20:46 to 9:14.