A late offensive surge wasn’t enough to overcome a slow start as the Dallas Cowboys fell to the Arizona Cardinals 25-22. After a scoreless first quarter that saw them down 3-0, the Cowboys found the end zone with 1:30 in the first half on a 21-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Dak Prescott to receiver Michael Gallup. Gallup injured his knee on the play and didn’t return.
The Cardinals used a 12-0 run from the three-second mark in the first half until the 13:49 mark in the fourth quarter when Prescott found receiver Cedrick Wilson for a touchdown. After a field goal, Prescott threw one final scoring pass to receiver Amari Cooper making it a three-point game with 4:42 left. However, the defense wasn’t able to get a stop as the Cardinals ran out the clock securing the win. Below are the four biggest takeaways from tonight’s loss.
Looking at the numbers, one would think the Cowboys played a decent game defending the pass allowing 263 yards on 38 passes to Cards quarterback Kyler Murray. A deeper look shows that nearly every defensive back got beat for a play. Star corner Trevon Diggs allowed a big catch to receiver AJ Green setting up a chip shot field goal. In the second quarter, two pass interference calls kept a Cardinals drive alive that resulted in a touchdown. The third quarter saw corner Anthony Brown beat bad by Cardinals receiver Antoine Wesley for a touchdown while fellow corner Jourdan Lewis dropped an interception in the end zone. The unit has to be better moving forward.
Running back Ezekiel Elliott managed just 16 yards on nine carries, and grabbed a single pass for 14 yards. It’s well known that when Dallas can’t run the ball, they have trouble offensively and, that rang true tonight. As a team, they mustered just 45 yards on 17 carries. The offensive line must do a better job opening holes allowing Elliott and others to get going.
Prescott Fumbles the Bag
Prescott did a great job rallying the Cowboys late, extending plays, and throwing three touchdowns. However, a late fumble on a fourth-quarter scramble led to what became the game-clinching field goal for the Cardinals. This is one of many late-game turnovers throughout his career that have cost the team wins. While it’s tough to solely blame him, he has to do a better job of protecting the ball in late-game crucial situations moving forward.
The hot and cold nature of end Dorrance Armstrong continued tonight has notched five tackles, one for loss, one sack, one deflection, and two quarterback hurries. He and fellow end Randy Gregory did a great job all day of chasing Murray, making him uncomfortable in the pocket. If Armstrong can become more consistent down the stretch, the pass rush could be even more dangerous.