Tuesday, December 28, 2010
NFC West Week 16 decisive moment
By Mike Sando
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The Arizona Cardinals were dangerously close to blowing another fourth-quarter lead.
They had done so spectacularly during narrow defeats to Minnesota (27-24) and Tampa Bay (38-35) earlier in the season, and it was happening again in Week 16.
The Dallas Cowboys had turned a 21-3 deficit into a 26-24 lead at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Cardinals faced fourth-and-15 from their 19-yard line with 1:17 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Larry Fitzgerald's 100-game streak with a reception was in danger of ending. Rookie quarterback John Skelton had completed only 8 of 20 passes for 132 yards.
Moments don't get much more decisive. Either the Cardinals would improbably complete a pass for at least 15 yards or they would lose the game.
Skelton's 26-yard strike to Fitzgerald gave the Cardinals a chance. Skelton followed up with a 6-yard pass to Tim Hightower and a 19-yarder to Max Komar. Two clock-stopping spike passes stood as Skelton's only incompletions after the fourth-down play.
Jay Feely's 48-yard field goal with 10 seconds remaining won the game for Arizona.
"On that last drive, it got pretty shaky there for a while on fourth-and-long," Skelton told reporters after the game, "but Larry ran a great route, found a soft spot in the defense and I was able to hit him. That one play got the momentum going for the rest of the drive."