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Arizona Cardinals dominate early, fade late in 28-17 loss to Dallas Cowboys

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The Cardinals had a great first quarter, then the Cowboys got things rolling and held on for the win

Dallas Cowboys v Arizona Cardinals Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images

It was the start we had hoped for, but the final three quarters showed the deficiencies the Arizona Cardinals have in 2017, especially on offense, specifically the offensive line.

It all came to a head, as the Cowboys beat the Cardinals on Monday Night Football, 28-17.

The Arizona Cardinals had their best first quarter of the 2017 season. They were methodical, they were effective and after one quarter, they had run 21 plays to the Dallas Cowboys 3.

Heading into the second quarter, the Cowboys defense started to tighten up a bit and the Cardinals, again had a missed field goal attempt, this time a 36 yarder for Phil Dawson.

It's been a rough start for Dawson.

This didn't help the Cowboys, though.

There offense remained stagnant for much of the first half.

Until just before the two minute warning, when the Cardinals had a quick three and out on offense that ended with a sack or Carson Palmer. Andy Lee punted deep from his own endzone and Ryan Switzer had a nice return that set the Cowboys up for their first points of the night and Dak Prescott responded with a 10 yards touchdown run.

From there, it became a battle of wills, and early in the third quarter, the Cowboys imposed theirs.

After a short drive, the Cowboys pinned the Cardinals deep and the Cardinals offense looked done. The Cowboys were able to force a three and out which resulted in a powerful, statement like drive by the Cowboys and their offensive line.

The Cardinals desperately needed a response on offense, to give their defense a break and to put some pressure back on the Cowboys.

They didn't get points, but they did flip field position. Putting the onus back on the defense.

They responded with a three and out and finally, finally the Cardinals made them pay.

It was all Larry Fitzgerald and Carson Palmer on the drive.

Palmer hit Fitzgerald for 37 yards, then on second down, Palmer found Fitzgerald in the back corner of the endzone and the Cardinals had pulled even, 14-14.

Heading into the fourth quarter, the Cardinals faced a must convert 3-1 from inside their own 15. It would set the tone for the fourth quarter.

They didn't get it, as Demarcus Lawrence continued to wreak havoc against the Cardinals offensive line and the Cowboys again got the ball on the Cardinals side of the field.

It resulted in a fantastic play by Dak Prescott, who completed a 37 yard pass to Brice Butler for a touchdown and a 21-14 lead for the Cowboys.

It wasn't over though, especially with Larry Fitzgerald on the field.

Fitz made one of the best catches you'll see all year.

This gives you a better idea of how improbable of a play that was:

The Cardinals stalled inside the 20 and settled for a field goal to cut the score to 21-17.

Then, in one of the weirder plays you'll see, Prescott threw a jump ball to Butler, who made the catch and went down, and Tyrann Mathieu made a very lethargic touch of him to get him down. It had to be reviewed and was overturned and not a touchdown. But it set the Cowboys up for an easy touchdown run for Ezekiel Elliott.

It put the Cowboys up 28-17, which with the Cardinals 2017 offense, felt like a massive mountain to climb.

The Cardinals made a valiant effort late, driving down inside their own ten, but the pressure was just too much.

The Cowboys completely dominated the line of scrimmage, late in the game and the Cardinals offensive line could not hold up.

The Cardinals fall to 1-2 on the season and take on the NFC West rival San Francisco 49ers next Sunday at home.