The Dallas Cowboys clawed their way back from an early 21-3 deficit only to collapse in the final stages of the game Saturday, falling to the Cardinals in Arizona, 28-27.
Dallas fell into a 14-point hole early, the result of two first quarter interceptions returned for touchdowns. On the first interception, Miles Austin slipped on the turf at University of Phoenix Stadium, allowing Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie to snatch Jon Kitna’s pass ad take it 32 yards to paydirt. On the second, the pass hit Roy Williams in the shoulder pads, bounced up and was corralled by Arizona’s Gregory Toler, who took it 66 yards for the score.
Dallas opened the second quarter with a 10 play drive of just 37 yards, which culminated with a 42 yard field goal by David Buehler to put Dallas on the board.
Less than a minute later, fans saw possibly the lowest point of the half. John Skelton hit Andre Roberts for a 74 yard touchdown pass, a play on which Mike Jenkins was called for an obvious pass interference.
The Cowboys found the end zone for the first time Saturday on the ensuing drive, with a touchdown pass from Kitna to Jason Witten to cap a 13 play drive of a little under seven minutes. But this was a rare bright spot in the former half.
Kitna left the game with a hip injury in the second quarter, and, despite returning for a drive, remained on the sidelines after the break.
David Buehler tied his career-high with a 53-yard field goal in the second quarter to pull to within a score of Arizona and, after a three-and-out by Arizona, and set up with a short field, Dallas drove 47 yards over six plays, scoring on a 24-yard touchdown run by Marion Barber. Dallas opted to kick the extra point, bringing the score to 21-20 Arizona.
The Cardinals added a 49-yard Jay Feely field goal to eliminate any idea Dallas had of taking the lead with a field goal.
All the same the Cowboys finally did overtake the Cardinals on their next drive, an 8-play 80 yard march, culminating in a 37-yard touchdown pass from McGee to Miles Austin. However, Buehler missed the extra point.
It wouldn’t have mattered, had the defense not allowed the Cardinals to convert on a 4th and 15 on their next drive. But alas, they did, and a few plays after that, Jay Feely hit a 48-yard, game-winning field goal. Meaning that that missed extra point mattered. A lot.
The final tally on Christmas Day: Arizona 27, Cowboys 26.
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