Saturday, December 25, 2010
Rapid Reaction: Cardinals 27, Cowboys 26
By Calvin Watkins
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- This is how a game ends between two bad teams. Arizona kicker Jay Feely made a 48-yard field goal with five seconds left to give the Cardinals a dramatic 27-26 victory in University of Phoenix Stadium.
A missed point-after attempt by Cowboys kicker David Buehler with 1:41 to play -- just after Miles Austin’s 37-yard go-ahead touchdown reception -- gave the Cardinals the chance to win the game.
What it means?: The Cowboys now have 10 losses on the season. That's the first time that's happened since 2004, when a 6-10 mark finished Bill Parcells' second season. The mistakes the team made in this one are another example of just how bad it is.
Jon Kitna gets knocked out: The Cowboys were down to one quarterback when Jon Kitna went out with a hip injury in the first half. Kinta was replaced by Stephen McGee, who completed 11 of 17 passes for 111 yards and one touchdown. McGee rallied his team from a 24-20 deficit with 3:45 to play. He drove the Cowboys 73 yards in eight plays, finding Austin for the 37-yard score. But Buehler missed the extra point, allowing the Cardinals a chance to win in the final two minutes.
Defense is solid until. . . : The defense, which has struggled the past few weeks, gave up only one big play, a 74-yard touchdown pass in the first half. It held the Cardinals' Larry Fitzgerald to one key catch that kept the game-winning field goal drive alive. Terence Newman and Mike Jenkins did a good job of taking him out of the game for the most part. But the Cardinals were able to get a 49-yard Feely field goal to push their lead to 24-20 in the fourth quarter. However, another wide receiver gained over 100 yards, this time Cardinals rookie Andre Roberts, who had five catches for 110 yards and one touchdown. It's the fifth consecutive week the Cowboys defense allowed a receiver to get more than 100 yards. And rookie Skelton moved the Cardinals 46 yards in about 90 seconds to set up Feely’s game-winning kick.
Run game excels: There was concern about how the Cowboys would run the ball with the return of Marion Barber, who missed the past three games with a strained calf. All three backs got their touches, and when the night was over the Cowboys rushed 34 times for 183 yards. Barber did get a touchdown, for 24 yards, but committed a bad penalty by taking off his helmet to celebrate following the score.
What's next?: The Cowboys finish the season on the road Jan. 2 against the Eagles. The game might mean something for the Eagles -- playoff seeding and NFC East title could be on the line depending on what happens Sunday. The Cowboys have decisions to make regarding the quarterback position. Should they bring one in? How healthy is Kitna?