Cardinals Give The Fans A Much Needed Christmas Gift In 27-26 Win Over The Cowboys

GLENDALE AZ - DECEMBER 25: Kicker Jay Feely #4 of the Arizona Cardinals celebrates with teammates after making a 48 yard field goal in the final moments of the NFL game against the Dallas Cowboys at the University of Phoenix Stadium on December 25 2010 in Glendale Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Cowboys 27-26. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

So this is why they were once called the Cardiac Cards.... The Cardinals stormed off to a 21-3 lead against the Cowboys with Interception returns for Touchdowns by Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Greg Toler along with a 74 yard strike by John Skelton to Andre Roberts (the longest pass by a Cardinal in the last two seasons by the way). Then following an injury to Jon Kitna, Stephen McGee went in and led the Cowboys to a 26-24 lead with under two minutes left in the game. After a poor performance for most of the second half, John Skelton delivered a clutch drive that ended with a 48 yard Field Goal by Jay Feely with five seconds left in the game. A lot of people were expecting this game to be a dud, but it wound up being one of the more entertaining games of the year.

Positives:

Jay Feely missed his first field goal, but after that he made his next two kicks late in the game, including the game winner with five seconds left in the game. This is the kind of kick that Neil Rackers (even though he is normally a reliable kicker) tended to miss when he was with the Cardinals. If Feely hadn't endeared himself to the fans with his performance against Denver, he did tonight. He deserves to go to the Pro Bowl this season.

John Skelton struggled for most of the second half after a solid first half, and the Cardinals were horrible in the third quarter. But with two minutes left in the game, on 4th down and 15 he got a great pass off to Larry Fitzgerald (his first of the day) for 26 yards, and he also got a 19 yard pass off to Max Komar that put the Cardinals in position for the game winning kick. John Skelton might not be the permanent starter after this season, but coming through in crucial situations like he did is something that you like to see from a Quarterback. Skelton also admits that he hates the Cowboys, so this win has to feel good for him.

The first two possessions for the Cowboys ended with Interceptions that were returned for Touchdowns by Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Greg Toler. The 11th and 12th return Touchdowns by the Cardinals, one away from tying the record of 13 set by the 2003 Seahawks.

The Cardinals ran the ball better than they did last week against a decent Cowboys Defense. Beanie Wells had one of his better games of the season with 11 carries for 47 yards, he also ran the ball with authority like he was in his rookie season. Tim Hightower also had 6 carries for 23 yards. Beanie also had a beautiful block on a blitzer that allowed Skelton to get off his Touchdown pass to Roberts.

Andre Roberts showed how much he has improved since the year began on his 74 yard Touchdown reception. He might overtake Early Doucet as the 3rd Receiver next season.

The Defense came out on fire, the two Pick Sixes, and throughout the first half they played very well. They also stayed in the 4-3 Defense quite a bit and it was effective. Seemed like the Pass Rush was better in the 4-3 than the 3-4.

Darnell Dockett, Calais Campbell, Clark Haggans, and O'Brien Schofield (1st of his career) each had a sack.

Negatives:

The Cardinals got off to a big lead, then they imploded and after the late Touchdown by Miles Austin, it looked like the game was over. They are fortunate that John Skelton came through in the end of the game.

The Cardinals showed why they don't involve Tight Ends in the passing game very much, Stephen Spach and Jim Dray each dropped easy catches.

Larry Fitzgerald only had one catch, and it was a big one. But Fitz needs to be more involved in the game.

Lyle Sendlein had a bad snap that boucned off of Skelton's helmet when it looked like he was trying to change the play.

After the injury to Jon Kitna, Stephen McGee played better than someone with almost no experience like he has should ever be allowed to play.

Because of the struggles from the offense for most of the game, the Defense was forced to stay on the field a lot.The Cowboys had the ball for 38 minutes while the Cardinals had it for 22 minutes. This is probably the reason the Defense collapsed for most of the second half.

The Cowboys ran the ball 34 times for 183 yards, more than any team who played a Quarterback getting his first real game time should ever get.

Anything said by Matt Millen counts as a negative. Like I said in the gamethread, I think Alex Flanagan is a good sideline reporter, but the people in the announcers booth are so bad you just want to mute the TV and turn on KTAR so you can listen to Pasch and Wolf (something I did)

Even though this was a home game, there was still plenty of Cowboys fans in the stadium who made themselves heard after the Cowboys made a good play.

Overall, even though the game got pretty stressful, it was good to see the Cardinals win and show some heart. They were fighting hard like this was a playoff game even though they are currently 5-10, and Rich Eisen also said this was the loudest NFL Network game he has been to all year according to the Gamethread.



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