The Arizona Cardinals definitely got a nice Christmas gift Saturday in their 27-26 win over the Dallas Cowboys.
The first quarter was a showcase of the Cardinals' defense at their finest this year, with two interceptions returned for touchdowns. The first was a 32 yd. return by Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, and the second was a 66 yd. return for Greg Toler. After the first quarter, the Cardinals were up 14-0. With these two interceptions early in the game, the Cardinals' defense looked great for the first time in a long time.
Starting off the second quarter, the Cowboys scored first with a 42 yd. field goal, making it 14-3. The Cardinals answered right back with a 74 yd. pass from John Skelton to Andre Roberts for the touchdown, and the Cardinals now had a sizable lead of 21-3. The Cowboys pushed their way into the end zone before the end of the half, with a touchdown by tight end Jason Witten, making the score 21-10.
Before halftime, Jon Kitna left the game with a left hip injury, and was replaced by the backup Stephen McGee.
The third quarter featured a desperate Cowboys team trying to make a run at the Cardinals, starting off with a 53 yd. field goal by kicker David Buehler, and finishing the quarter with a 24 yd. touchdown run by Marion Barber. This closed the gap in the score and made it anybody’s game at 21-20, Cardinals lead.
The Cardinals scored first in the fourth quarter to put them up 24-20. Now the Cardinals defense needed to step it up. Unfortunately, they didn’t look like they had in the first quarter, and gave up a 37 yd. touchdown pass from Stephen McGee to Miles Austin.
But wait, it wasn’t over yet, as kicker David Buehler missed the extra point making it 24-26; Cowboys up by 2.
With less than two minutes left, the Cardinals were just looking to get into field goal range for kicker, Jay Feely, to win it.
Quarterback John Skelton, looked good in the final minutes, running the hurry-up and pushing his team closer and closer to the end zone.
Jay Feely lined up of the 48 yd. field goal with ten seconds left to win it, and just barely cleared the uprights, for the Cardinals win 27-26.
The Cardinals were up by 18 points earlier in the game, and the Cardinals' defense returned to their lackluster self and gave up 23 points before the game was over.
Luckily, the Cardinals got their Christmas gift from Dallas Cowboys kicker, David Buehler, as he missed the extra point late in the fourth quarter.
“Turned out to be a pretty good Christmas present today,” coach Ken Whisenhunt said after the game.
Skelton completed 11 of his 25 passes for 183 yards and one touchdown. Receiver Andre Roberts had five receptions for 110 yards, with his long being the 74 yd. pass from Skelton in the second quarter.
The Cardinals got lucky on Christmas night, but a win is a win, and I’m sure the Cardinals, and most Cardinals fans, will take it.
The Arizona Cardinals finish the season against the San Francisco 49ers in San Francisco next Sunday, Jan. 2nd at 2:15 MST.