Cowboys vs. Cardinals: 8 Things We Learned from Arizona's 19-13 Win

Jason Henry@thenprojectCorrespondent IDecember 5, 2011

Cowboys vs. Cardinals: 8 Things We Learned from Arizona's 19-13 Win

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    There are a few words that come to mind when one thinks of the Dallas Cowboys after today's loss to the Cardinals. Words like, failure and shock. Maybe regret and justified should be included in that category as well.

    The Dallas Cowboys traveled to Arizona to face the Cardinals in a game where many thought the Cowboys would take care of business and continue their march toward the playoffs. Their next "real" game would be against the Giants, and that's when their "real" season starts. Problem with that logic is that the Cowboys may have looked too far ahead.

    Thanks to a putrid defensive effort, a poor showing by the offensive line and an overall lackadaisical attempt to play a football game by the Cowboys, they exit the state of Arizona with a record of 7-5 instead of 8-4.

    In essence, the Cowboys had no business losing this game as their opportunities were abundant to beat the Cards. But the play of the game came with about seven seconds remaining in regulation.

    The Cowboys were all lined up to kick the game-winning field goal when just before the ball is snapped Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett calls a timeout to ice his own kicker. Dan Bailey hits the field goal, but it doesn't count due to the timeout called by Garrett. On the very next play, Bailey misses the 49-yarder as the game heads into overtime. Long story short, the Cardinals win and the Cowboys lose.

    Is this game on Jason Garrett's awful time management skills or the entire team? I think it's a collection of things, but Garrett deserves the lion's share of the blame.

    Here are eight things we learned from the Cowboys after their humbling loss to Arizona.

Cowboys Had Lack of Offensive Balance

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    How off did the Cowboys offense look today?

    DeMarco Murray had his lowest output of the season since taking over as starter with only 38 rushing yards on the day. Then again, he had only 12 carries on the day with five coming in the first quarter alone.

    The Cowboys offensive line looked bad today as well, but no way should Garrett have completely abandoned the run in the second half.

    Jason Garrett made a few questionable decisions today so maybe he just had a bad coaching day. But the way he called plays today makes me wonder if Jason will ever change.

Rob Ryan May Be Overrated

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    Is it fair to ask that question yet?

    The Cowboys are 12 games into their first campaign with Ryan, and over the past few weeks, his defense has looked, well, normal.

    They gave up 327 total yards and over 100 on the ground. The Cardinals had 16 first downs and averaged over four yards per rush. Ryan has to make some changes or some type of adjustments because either the Cowboys opponents have noticed defensive tendencies from the Cowboys or his scheme has gotten stale.

    Either way, he'll have to have a different look against the Giants and their red-hot quarterback Eli Manning.

Cowboys' Secondary Looked Bad

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    At times on Sunday, the Cowboys' secondary looked awful. Terence Newman had a stretch of plays that he would surely like to forget. He was flagged for pass interference late in the game and was beat up on by Larry Fitzgerald. Frank Walker looked bad, and the secondary overall just didn't have a good day.

    Cards quarterback Kevin Kolb has looked lost at times this year, but against the Cowboys, he had a pretty decent day. He threw for 247 yards and one touchdown with no turnovers. Cards receiver Andre Roberts had 111 receiving yards on six catches, and Larry Ftizgerald was good for 55 yards.

    Rob Ryan has to find some kind of way to hide the deficiencies he has in the defensive backfield. Maybe, they just had a bad day, but against a quarterback like Eli Manning ,no way will the Cowboys survive.

Romo-Vember is Officially Over

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    Tony Romo is 18-2 in November as a starter and 9-10 in December. He didn't have an interception today, but for some reason, the Cowboys are just average in December. That could be due to the teams they play or just the wear of a long NFL season.

    Romo looked good at times against Arizona, but he rarely had time to find receivers. Dez Bryant was his primary receiver with eight catches for 86 yards, but Tony was sacked five times and I'm sure his hits/hurries were in the double digits.

    Before the bashing starts, this loss isn't on Romo, but because he's the starter, he'll get the majority of the blame.

    oo bad it's not November again.

Cowboys Offensive Line Isn’t That Good

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    They just aren't that good are they? Maybe, they're still growing and trying to find their way, but the Cardinals defense looked like the Giants front four on Sunday.

    Doug Free is having a down year, and Tyron Smith is still a rookie. When Arizona blitzed, Dallas looked ill-prepared to handle it, and they had a mighty hard time trying to open holes for Murray.

    I say again, they'll have to get better in a hurry before they face the Giants.

Laurent Robinson Is Tony’s Best Receiver

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    I say that because he seems to have the best chemistry with Robinson. He had four catches for 72 yards on the day, but he did hurt his shoulder for a stretch of the game.

    When Romo scrambles, he usually finds Robinson because Laurent seems to know what to do when Tony is under duress—get up the field.

    He had a very acrobatic catch to keep a drive alive late in the second half after Romo was flushed from the pocket.

    While Witten remains Romo's top target and Dez is still trying to find his way in the Cowboys offense, Romo and Robinson continue to make great music together.

Cowboys Have Disturbing Number of Penalties

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    The Cowboys had seven penalties for 49 yards with ignorant false-start calls and a key blocking in the back penalty on a long Dez Bryant punt return.

    Against the Dolphins, they had 11-for-69 and 9-for-48 when they faced the Redskins. Penalties are a part of the game, but Dallas always, I repeat, always have way to many of them.

    I thought that the undisciplined nature of this team went out with Wade Phillips, but it seems that this trend of racking up unnecessary penalties only took a brief vacation.

    The Cowboys have a lot of work to do and a brief moment of time to do it in. Get the penalties under control Mr. Garrett.

Cowboys Fall to 7-5, Face Giants Next

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    Dallas falls to 7-5 on the season and move on to face the New York Giants. Although New York lost to the Packers today, they looked pretty good. Quarterback Eli Manning had over 300 passing yards and three touchdowns.

    The Giants had 100 yards rushing but ran into an a human being playing on another level by the name of Aaron Rodgers.

    Dallas has to get better quickly if they have any hopes of beating the Giants. Yes, New York is on a skid but look at both teams and tell me which one is trending upward?

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