GLENDALE AZ - DECEMBER 25: Quarterback John Skelton #19 of the Arizona Cardinals scrambles with the ball past Jay Ratliff #90 of the Dallas Cowboys during the NFL game 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)
When the Arizona Cardinals schedule was released before the start of the season, I chalked up the Christmas day game against the Cowboys as a loss. When the Cardinals got off -- and continued -- their horrible start to the season, I didn't change my mind. Yet somehow, just as the Cardinals do every year, they defeated a team they weren't supposed to beat. That wouldn't be possible without a rookie quarterback with a good head on his shoulders and a strong arm.
John Skelton led the Cardinals past the Dallas Cowboys this past Saturday with all eyes on he and the rest of the team. It helped when starting cornerbacks Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Greg Toler both returned interceptions to the house in the first quarter. In the second quarter, the Fordham product connected on a 74-yard touchdown pass with fellow rookie Andre Roberts. As we know, the touchdown was the first of his career.
That's not what stood out however; it's the play of the rookie in the final minutes of action that made the difference in the ball game. After the Cowboys made the improbable comeback, the Cardinals found themselves staring a two-point deficit in the face with 1:41 left on the clock. On the ensuing drive, Skelton and the offense were in a 4th and 15 whole, with virtually no chance to win the game. The next play revived the fans and the rest of the team. Skelton found Larry Fitzgerald in the deep right field, completing a 26-yard pass. The following four plays show just how much he's grown in three starts this season: 6-yard pass to Tim Hightower, 5-yard scramble out of bounds, spiked the football, and a 19-yard pass to Max Komar. In field goal range, Jay Feely knocked in a 48-yard boot and won the game.
For Skelton's efforts this past Saturday, he earns the game ball of the week.