It wasn't so much that it was Mon. night (Pandemic fall out had rendered MNF as no different than Wednesday Night Football, Football or Sat.. morning football). So why, then, were we all hyped up over MNF? Then it occurred to us - our opponent was Dallas (aka "Team Felon", "The 'Pukes", "America's (most overrated) Team."
'Pokes were 2 & 5, and had, lost starting QB Dac Prescott for the season. Losses were to Rams, Seattle and Cleveland. They beat Atlanta and the Giants. Cards were without sackmeister Chandler Jones for the duration of the season. Dallas ranked #1 in Passing Yards and Total Yards, but only 22nd in rushing yards. Cards had problems in their previous game vs. Jets "staying out of the penalty box."
It had (make that has) been our our contention that that the Cardinals had not provided fans with a consistent idea of "who they are" (i.e. All World in one week/Cellar Dweller the next). This became the central theme of fan focus as we looked forward to playing Dallas.
"Cards Dismember 'Pokes 38 - 10."
The Bottom Line:
We tuned in to ESPN an hour early. Their on-air people immediately reminded us why we hate the Cowboys so bitterly - Theme - "Too bad about losing Dac."' "Can Dallas win without Dac?" Do you think Dalton can replace Dac?" "Isn't Dac's leadership skills irreplaceable?"
Old habits are hard to break, so we reverted to watching the pre-game show and the contest that followed with the sound turned off.
Cards received and went nowhere. Fortunately, neither did Dallas on their first possession. Neither team scored in the 1st quarter. Then things settled down - the Cards took advanatage of Dallas turnovers, racked up 21 unanswered points and entered the lockerrom at halftime with a 21 - 3 lead. (Third score - an 80-yard home run bomb to Christian Kirk - made all the Tuesday highlight reels)
One analyst the following morning described the contest as tantamount to "The Harlem Globetrotters vs. the Washington Generals exhibition basketball contests. General concensus was that it was a trouncing pure and simple. Still another media-mouth-piece offered the opinion that it was mindblowing that Murray only completed 9 passes en route to the Cards posting "a 38-burger."
We saw the win as the combination of all Cardinal units playing hard, fast and smart, while the Cowboys suffered from communication lapses between the newly-arrived Dalton and his receivers. (i.e. we wouldn't read too much from the Cardinal win other than to raise a red flag that (albeit in a very tough division) they may conceivably be a playoff contender if they can maintain a consistently high level of play. (but that's not a guarantee).
02:02 - Arizona - Kirk 6 yd pass fr Murray (Gonzalez Kick) - Cards 7 - Dallas 0
04:29 - Arizona - Drake 1 yd run (Gonzalez Kick) - Cards 14 - Dallas 0
10:17 - Arizona - Kirk 80 yd pass fr Murray (Gonzalez Kick) - Cards 21 - Dallas 0
14: 50 - Dallas - Zuerlein 34 yd FG - Cards 21 - Dallas 3
07:07- Arizona - Murray 1 yd run - (Gonzalez Kick) - Cards 28 - Dallas 3
06;06 - Arizona - Gonzalez - 26 Yyd FG - Cards 31 - Dallas 3
12:12 - Dallas - Cooper - 1 yd pass fr Dalton - Cards 31 - Dallas 10
13:11 - Arizona - Drake - 69 yd run (Gonzalez Kick) - Cards 38 - Dallas 10
Final Score - Cards 38 - Dallas 10
- First Downs Cards 22 - Jets 27
- Passing: Murray 9 for 24, 188 Yds 2 TD, 0 Int
................Dalton 34 for 54, 266 Yds 1TD , 2 Int
Sacked By: Cards 3 - Dalla 1
Rushing: Cards - Drake 20 for 164, 2 TD...Murray 10 for 74, 1 TD, Edmonds 5 for 23, 0 TD
.................Dallas - Elliott 12 for 49 ..Pollard 10 for 31
Receiving: Cards - Fitz 3 of 4 for 22..Hopkins- .2 of 8 for 73...Kirk - 2 of 3 for 86 2 TDs
Dallas - Elliott - 8 0f 11 for 31...Cooper - 7 of 10 for 79...Lamb 7 of 10 for 64
Tackles - Cards - Hicks 10...Peterson - 8...Murphy - 8
................Dallas - J Smith - 10...Wilson - 9
Interceptions By - Cards - 2... Dallas 0
Fumbles Lost - Cards 0 - Dallas 2 of 3
Penalties - Cards 7 for 3 - Dallas - 6 for 36
Time of Possession: Cards 26:23 - Dallas 33:37
Chalk it up to newbie OJT, but K Peterson was beaten like a drum in the 4q..
While Isabella catches more than he drops, he's still not 100% "money."
We viewed this as an "answer to a question" game - i.e. could we play with the big boys? In Dallas? On Mon. night?
Temptation - so common in the NFL - is to overreact. What we do know is that - when the players commit to playing hard-nosed, smart, mistake-free football, it can hold its own with all but a couple of elite NFL teams. We also know (from the Panther contest) that, when the players decide to "take a few snaps or even a quarter off, they can be rolled up by their opponents
Cards play Seattle next Sunday. We're 4 & 2 (and could enter our Bye week with a 5 & 2 record. Thing of it is - we still have 5 of 6 division games left (- 2 each with the Rams and Seattle plus one with SF (We beat the Niners once).
It really feels good to have taken care of the Cowboys, but the "prize" we must keep our eyes on is the playoffs. Hard nose, smart, technique-sound football should get us there.