Before Sunday’s game between the Arizona Cardinals and the Dallas Cowboys, Cowboy fans could be heard around the blog-o-sphere chanting “Trap Game” and “Strange things happen in Arizona”. But at the end of the day, it was predictable play-calling, penalties and a wrongly taken time-out that decided the game’s outcome. Despite a very weak offensive performance, the Cardinals were still able to defeat the surging Cowboys in overtime, 19-13.
The game that ended the Cowboys winning streak, also started by ending another streak. This one was rookie kicker Dan Bailey’s streak of consecutive field goal makes. Bailey’s streak of 26 made field goals ended when he missed a 53 yard attempt mid-way through the first quarter. Arizona’s veteran kicker, Jay Feeley would take advantage of his opportunities. Feeley hit a 48 yard attempt late in the first quarter to give Arizona the 3-0 lead.
Dallas would be unable to take advantage of a huge 69 yard kickoff return by Felix Jones near the end of the quarter. But they would come back in the 2nd quarter on the heels of a 36 yard pass play from Tony Romo to Laurent Robinson. That big gain led to a 50 yard field goal by Bailey, tying the score at 3-3.
Near the end of the first half, a big 28 yard pass play to Jason Witten set up a five yard touchdown grabby Dez Bryant. Dallas would take the 10-3 lead into halftime. The Cardinals recorded just 40 yards of total offense in the first half.
Kevin Kolb and the Arizona offense started the second half on fire. An 18 yard pass play to Larry Fitzgerald and a 17 yard scramble by Kolb got Arizona the ball on the Cowboys one yard line. But Dallas’ defense was able to hold and force Arizona to kick a field goal. Feeley would make the 23 yarder to make the score 10-6, Dallas.
With under a minute to play in the third quarter, Bailey would kick a 37 yard field goal to extend Dallas lead 13-6.
To start the fourth quarter, Kolb would find Andre Roberts for two major pass plays. One for 41 yards and another for 22 yards. Those plays lead to a four yard touchdown run by Beanie Wells, tying the game at 13.
With just under three minutes to play in the fourth quarter, Dez Bryant would have a 35 yard punt returned called back due to a special teams penalty by Orlando Scandrick, his second of the day. Despite the loss, Romo was able to get the ball into field goal range with only seven seconds left in the game.
Just as Bailey attempted the 49 yard field goal to win the game, Dallas Head Coach Jason Garrett called a timeout, essentially “icing” his own kicker. Bailey made the field goal, but it didn’t count due to the timeout. On a replay, special teams coaches Joe DeCamillis and Chris Boniol can be clearly seen asking Garrett to call it.
After the timeout, Bailey missed the field goal sending the game into overtime. Arizona won the coin toss and LaRod Stephens-Howling would end it with a 52 screen play for the game-winning touchdown.
My Thoughts on the Game:
Jason Garrett has never been a head coach before, and it showed. I still think his play-calling is awful.
Arizona needs to take better care of it’s field. Everybody was slipping out there.
Laurent Robinson’s touchdown streak ended as well today. But he showed a lot of guts coming back to play with a bad shoulder. That’s big for someone with the injury history he has.
Martellus Bennett injured his ribs. Why am I not surprised at all?
Mike Jenkins played well. Although I said to myself “not again” when he was on one knee and took his helmet off at one point.
Tony Romo seemed a little off today. He just didn’t deliver the ball the way he did last month. It is December after all.
DeMarco Murray had a rough day with only 38 rushing yards and no receptions. I think it’s a credit to the Arizona defense with eight in the box and partly due to predictable Garrett play-calling.
The Cowboy offensive line was terrible at times. And other times, Romo looked indecisive. Bad penalty late by Montrae Holland, but Dallas had a chance to win regardless.
Dan Bailey really did lose this game. It’s his job to make kicks, no matter what. And he missed twice. Let’s see how he comes back from the loss. It’s hard to blame him though, he’s been so good this season.
Scandrick needs to be taken off special teams.
Felix Jones has officially returned and found a way to contribute.
Why was DeMarcus Ware on the sidelines so much?
If Shaun Chapas was brought on to run block, why was tight end John Phillips still playing full back out there so much?
Sorry Cowboy fans, but how can Dallas win in the playoffs if it can’t beat freakin’ Arizona? Seriously.
What do you think???