GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 04: Wide receiver Dez Bryant #88 of the Dallas Cowboys scores on a 5 yard touchdown reception past cornerback Patrick Peterson #21 of the Arizona Cardinals during the first quarter of the NFL game at the University of Phoenix Stadium on December 4, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Whenever the Arizona Cardinals get the opportunity to play the Dallas Cowboys, it always proves to be a game that keeps fans on the edge of their seats until the end. Such was the case when Dallas visited University of Phoenix and the Cards rolled to a 19-13 overtime victory. In a game that lacked consistent offensive movement (although it wasn't as bad as an LSU-'Bama matchup), it looked as if the Cardinals were going to need another special teams miracle to pull off a win.
Instead, the defense was able to take care of business and the offense was able to muster up some energy to perform in the second half. However, this game had it's fair share of ugly moments. Let's take a look at five of those negatives after the jump.
No Boost From Special Teams:
OK, maybe I am getting a bit too used to having the amazing Patrick Peterson make some dynamic return plays. Today, the Cardinals were unable to get much at all from their special teams. Peterson was contained to the sidelines by Mat McBriar for one yard on one return and LaRod Stephens-Howling only had an average of 22 yards on his kick returns. Most of this was due to the good scheming by Dallas, but it seemed that LaSH would have been better off downing it in the end zone a couple of times.
To top it all off, Felix Jones was almost able to take a kick return to the house. He ended up getting tackled at the Cardinals 35 yard line and the Cowboys got no points out of it, but it could have proved fatal to the Cards' chances at victory.
First Half Offense:
This first half gave fans no indication that the Cardinals were going to pull out a W on Sunday. By halftime, Kevin Kolb had a total of 23 passing yards and Beanie Wells rushed for 11 yards on seven attempts. Kolb was sacked four times, disallowing him to keep the Cards' defense off the field. Arizona walked into the locker room with a mere field goal on the board. Whatever Ken Whisenhunt said to the guys to get them to come out and play inspired in the second half, thank goodness for it. It could have been a long day at the pace they were going.
Offensive Line Play:
This has been a mainstay to the weekly five negatives post. The offensive line simply cannot seem to keep defenders off of Kolb's back. He was sacked a total of five times during the game. Also, the O-Line collected it's fair share of penalties. Brandon Keith and Daryn Colledge both received holding infractions, while Colledge and Levi Brown each felt like contributing a false start as well.
A couple of the sacks can be attributed to Kolb holding onto the ball for way too long, but the offensive line still has some work to do.
Third Down Efficiency:
The Cardinals were up against a good defense in the Cowboys, but they were 4-13 on third down conversions. If the defense wouldn't have been able to hold Dallas to an equally poor 4-12, the Cardinals would have been left in the dust.
Costly penalties coupled with crucial drops (see: Doucet, Early) kept the Cardinals from maintaining drives.
Home Field Advantage?:
Like we see every year the Cowboys come to town, the Cardinals seemed to be playing in Jerry Jones' palace as opposed to the friendly confines of UoP stadium. The announcers estimated that 40% of the fans within the arena were wearing blue, rooting the Cowboys to victory.
The negative? Because of the "Protect the Nest" ticket plan, many of the Cowboys fans would to have had to purchase their entry passes from Cardinals fans. This negative goes to the lack of a home crowd. Hopefully with this victory, red jerseys won't have to be picked out of a sea of blue in the next game.
What were your five negatives of the game? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.