Week 10 Game Recap: Dallas Cowboys 27, Arizona Cardinals 10
What you need to know
Whatever problems were ailing the Cowboys prior to this game seemed to vanish in the desert air. The offense moved the ball, scored, and did not turn the ball over. The defense pressured the quarterback, caused turnovers, and only gave up ten points.
Tony Romo showed remarkable poise, completing 20 of 29 for two touchdowns and zero interceptions. His mobility enables him to scramble away from the pass rush, buy some time, and find the open receiver. It’s the difference between keeping drives alive and punting, a skill that veteran quarterback Drew Bledsoe sorely lacks.
Julius Jones and Marion Barber combined for 29 carries, 110 yards and one touchdown. The Cardinals were forced to bring down secondary help, which opened up the passing lanes, allowing Dallas ultimately to amass over 400 yards of offense.
Patrick Crayton caught five passes for 104 yards and a touchdown, while Terrell Owens added 96 yards and another score. Jason Witten continued his workhorse ways with five more balls for 58 yards.
On the downside, the Cowboys came into this game leading the league in penalty yardage. While those blunders have burned them in the past, they were able to overcome eight flags and 69 more penalty yards in this contest.
Terry Glenn sat out this game with a knee injury. Dallas took another hit when DE Greg Ellis had to leave the game with what was initially called an Achilles injury. Ellis leads the team with 4.5 sacks.
Since becoming head coach of Arizona, Dennis Green is 2–0 coming off bye weeks, and was hoping to turn around this disastrous season with a win against the Cowboys. As a team, the Cardinals enjoyed a four game home winning streak over Dallas dating back to November 15, 1998. But since Mike Kruczck replaced Keith Rowan as Offensive Coordinator following the Chicago collapse, the Cardinals’ attack has struggled.
On Arizona’s first possession, at their own 42 yard line, they elected to go for it instead of punting. Matt Leinart managed to sneak for the first down on second effort.
Leinart completed 20 of 38, which is an improvement over his previous two games in which he only completed 40% of his attempts. He was intercepted twice, threw no touchdowns, and had to hurry many of his passes. In the fourth quarter, trailing 27–3, he scrambled for Arizona’s only touchdown.
Larry Fitzgerald returned to the Arizona lineup after missing three games with a hamstring injury and managed to catch six balls for 80 yards. He seemed to inject a little electricity into the Offense, but one player can’t do everything.
Edgerrin James averaged a little over four yards per carry on 15 attempts but had to fight for every inch he got. He has yet to post a 100 yard rushing game this season. Anquan Boldin added five receptions for 53 yards but had trouble getting open and took a few hard shots from the Cowboys’ secondary.
The Arizona defense had few answers for the Cowboys’ attack. They gave up over 300 passing yards and another 100 yards on the ground. The Cardinals were considered playoff contenders, but at 1–8 they now have the worse record in the NFL.
What you ought to know
|QB Tony Romo, Pass: 20 - 29 - 308 - 2 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 2 - 7 - 0|
He again showed remarkable poise, completing 20 of 29 passes for 308 yards and two touchdowns. His mobility enables him to scramble away from the pass rush to either buy some time until a receiver gets open or to run for a first down on his own. He nearly led the Cowboys back against the Redskins, and put up 35 points against Carolina. After this performance, Romo gives the Cowboys real hope at making a playoff run in these remaining games.
Barber accounted for the only rushing touchdown. He shows exceptional vision, and his cuts make some defensive backs look awkward. He continues to split carries with Jones, though Barber carried more in the second half.
Jones started the game and continues to be the feature back. In the second half, with Dallas leading 20–3 and then 27–3, Jones found himself on the bench.
On the Cowboys’ final possession, the SMU rookie got the ball on four straight carries until they ran out of downs.
Despite dropping the first pass thrown to him, Romo feels comfortable looking for Owens early and often despite the elaborate defensive coverages. Owens’ 51 TD reception is his longest as a Cowboy. He easily beat Eric Green in single coverage down the sideline and Romo hit him in stride. Romo seems to actively be looking for ways to get Owens the ball.
Taking advantage of his increased role with the injury to Terry Glenn, Crayton scored the first Dallas touchdown. The third year receiver will have an increased role in this offense if Glenn misses substantial playing time.
|WR Sam Hurd, Rec: 4 - 42 - 0 (8 targets)|
The rookie free agent credits making the team with the amount of time Terrell Owens spent with him in training camp. He also took most of his reps with Romo on the second team, which helps both players at this point. Hurd was forced into action because of the injury to Terry Glenn, and had his first touchdown pass of his career called back on an interference penalty.
Glenn sat out with a knee injury.
With Owens drawing so much attention in the secondary, the middle of the field is often wide open. Witten is a monster when he can catch a pass in space and turn up field and Romo is clearly comfortable looking for him.
Vanderjagt hit field goals from 24 and 38 yards and was three for three on PATs.
Edgerrin James was held to 68 rushing yards, and when Dallas extended their lead in the second half Arizona had to all but abandon the run. Leinart scored the only Cardinal touchdown on a three yard run around left end in the fourth quarter.
Trailing the entire game, Arizona was forced to attempt 38 passes. Fitzgerald and Boldin caught their share but they were both held out of the end zone. DeMarcus Ware recorded a sack, while Akin Ayodele and Pat Watkins each intercepted a pass.
|QB Matt Leinart, Pass: 20 - 38 - 216 - 0 TD / 2 INT, Rush: 4 - 18 - 1|
Leinart completed 20 of 38 for 216 yards but no touchdown passes. He was intercepted twice and had to hurry many of his throws. Gone from earlier games is his cool demeanor when he was able to keep finding open receivers all over the field. The Cowboys were able to limit the Cardinal ground game and concentrate on bringing pressuring. In the fourth quarter, trailing 27–3, Leinart ran around left end for Arizona’s only touchdown. At 6’4 and 225, Leinart’s athleticism is often overlooked, but he registered a 37” vertical at the combine. On his TD run he was able to freeze Roy Williams with a pump fake and then beat him to the flag.
James averaged 4.5 yards per carry, better than his 2.8 average coming into this game, but only carried 15 times. He added two catches for 11 yards.
Arrington saw limited duty on offense, but averaged 19.5 yards on five kickoff returns.
|RB Marcel Shipp, Rush: 1 - 0 - 0, Rec: 1 - 7 - 0 (3 targets)|
Shipp spelled James but was a non factor.
The Cardinals went to Fitzgerald frequently, and he made some great catches, but he was coming off a hamstring injury. Reports before the game indicated that he would not play the entire game. He energizes the offense, however, and it must be difficult to leave him on the sidelines if he is able to play.
Fitzgerald said the hamstring did give him some trouble. "The hamstring was getting so tired," said Fitzgerald, who also said that he didn't expect to miss time this week. "It didn't feel the same way when I did it against the Chiefs, but it didn't feel good. I didn't want to be down for a couple more weeks without being there with my teammates
Johnson’s role has been reduced because Fitzgerald is back in the lineup and he has dropped too many passes.
With Fitzgerald returning to the lineup, Boldin was more of a number two receiver. He made some difficult receptions, but Leinart didn’t have time to seek out his second and third reads.
Bergen has good hands but he needs to work on his blocking. He caught every pass thrown to him for 30 yards.
The rookie from Georgia caught one pass for seven yards.
Rackers hit a 29 yard FG and his only extra point.
Jones and Barber combined for 110 yards with Barber getting the touchdown. The Cardinals appeared over matched at the line of scrimmage, and while they averaged just less than four yards a carry, the Cowboys converted nine of 14 third downs.
Arizona was unable to either sack Romo or record an interception. They gave up over 300 yards through the air, with Owens, Witten, and Crayton doing the most damage. Even when they tried to blitz, Romo was able to scramble out of trouble.