The Arizona Cardinals picked up their first win of the season on Sunday with a 28-16 victory over the Dallas Cowboys. It was an unlikely win as the Cowboys entered the game as the league’s No. 1 defense.
The Cardinals had strong performances from several players. Not everything was good but there was plenty to like.
What can we take away from the game?
They learned how to finish
The Cardinals blew a 16-10 second-half lead in Week 1 before losing 20-16. They led 20-0 and 28-7 in Week 2 before losing 31-28.
Against the Cowboys, they had an 11-point halftime lead. They held on and even added a point to the lead.
Cardinals had no issues with vaunted Dallas defense
The Cowboys entered the game No. 1 in points allowed, yards allowed, sacks and takeaways.
The Cardinals scored 28 points on a team that had allowed a combined 10 points through two weeks. They had 400 yards of offense. They rushed for 222 yards. They scored on their first five possessions. They did not turn the ball over. They did all that with a backup quarterback.
Red-zone defense was difference for Cardinals
The Cowboys had more yards than the Cardinals. They dominated time of possession (34:33 to 25:27). They were better on third down.
Almost nothing on the stat sheet would suggest the Cardinals should have won the game. That is, nothing but one stats.
The Cardinals held the Cowboys to 1-for-5 in the red zone. That included a turnover on downs and an end zone interception. The Cardinals went 2-for-2 scoring touchdowns in the red zone.
More defensive injuries
Josh Dobbs getting better
Dobbs was an effective 17-for-21 for 189 yards and a touchdown. He did not turn the ball over and he also added 55 rushing yards.
He made plays and protected the football.
Dominant rushing performance
As a team, the Cardinals rushed for 222 yards. James Conner nearly had 100 yards for the second consecutive week. He finished with 98 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries. Dobbs had 55 yards, including one for 44 yards. Moore had 54 yards on three carries, including a 45-yard rushing score.
Matt Prater still has it
Prater made all three of his field goals and it included one from 62 yards as time expired in the first half.
He now has 14 career field goals with the Cardinals in 19 attempts of at least 50 yards. The team record is 16, held by Neil Rackers, who needed 34 attempts to get to 16.