The Dallas Cowboys were able to overcome a slow start to beat the Arizona Cardinals 28-17 in a huge road win behind a strong defensive effort.
The Cowboys did not start the game well as the Cardinals took the opening drive 82-yards for a touchdown as quarterback Carson Palmer found wide receiver Jaron Brown for the 25-yard score that ran five minutes off the clock. Following a stop, the Cardinals would drive down the field taking up 8:58 but came away empty as kicker Phil Dawson would miss a 36-yard field goal to keep it a 7-0 game.
Following a series of stops, the Cowboys were finally able to pick up their first first down of the game with 7:35 to go in the second quarter but was forced to punt the ball away yet again. After a Maliek Collins sack and a Ryan Switzer punt return, the Cowboys would finally get the offense going as quarterback Dak Prescott would keep it on a read-option and dive into the end zone for a 10-yard touchdown run to cap off a three play 33-yard drive to tie the game 7-7 at the half. The defensive line had a great showing registering six tackles for loss and two sacks with mainly just a three-man rush. The offense, however, was a different story as they were only able to muster 57 yards of offense and just five first downs.
After a pair of stops to open up the second half, the Cowboys would capitalize on good field position as Prescott would find wide receiver Dez Bryant who powered his way through numerous Cardinal defenders on his way to end zone capping off a four play, 46-yard drive that put the Cowboys up 14-7. The touchdown was Bryant’s 69th in 100 games placing him sixth all-time in NFL history for the most touchdown catches in a player’s first 100 games.
The Cardinals would respond on the next drive as Palmer would hit wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald for a 15-yard touchdown to cap off a three play, 54-yard drive that tied the game at 14-14 late in the third quarter. The Cowboys would come back with a touchdown of their own as Prescott would evade pressure and find wide receiver Brice Butler in the back of the end zone for a 37-yard touchdown to reclaim the lead 21-14 early in the fourth quarter. The Cardinals would then go on an impressive 16 play, 56-yard drive that ate up 5:12 off the clock but could only tack on three points as Dawson chipped in a 37-yard field goal to cut the lead to 21-17 with 6:35 left in the game.
A few plays later Prescott would roll to his right and launch a deep pass to Butler for a huge 53-yard gain to the Cardinal 22-yard line and two plays later running back Ezekiel Elliot would punch it in from 8-yards out to make it a 28-17 game with 4:57 left in the game. The Cardinals would not go down without a fight as they would move the ball all the way down to the two-yard line before safety Byron Jones deflected the fourth down pass to secure a 28-17 win for the Cowboys.
The defensive line was a huge reason why the Cowboys were able to come away with the win as they totaled six sacks and continuous pressure with just a three-man rush. Defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence was the driving force behind it registering three sacks with Collins chipping in two himself. Lawrence 6 1/2 sacks lead’s the NFL. Jones and rookie cornerback Jourdan Lewis had good games as well. However, cornerback Anthony Brown struggled all game and the secondary as a whole gave up big yardage plays that need to be fixed moving forward.
The Cowboys offense showed great improvement from last week even if it didn’t show in the stat book. Prescott had a huge game making big plays both through the air and on the ground as he totaled 199 total yards of offense and three touchdowns. Elliot was able to more than double his rushing output from last week gaining 80-yards on 22 carries and one touchdown. Butler led in receiving with 90-yards on two catches and one touchdown with Terrance Williams chipping in three catches for 47-yards.
The Cowboys will look to keep the positive momentum going as they host the Los Angeles Rams this Sunday.