Matt Prater makes game-winning 47-yard field goal as time expires, giving the Arizona Cardinals a 19-16 win over the Dallas Cowboys. The Cardinals special teams carry them to victory, while the Cowboys continue to struggle catching passes that should be easy completions.
Colt McCoy Looked Good, Chris Streveler More Entertaining
.@cstrevy said 💪 pic.twitter.com/91mfObOv7n— Arizona Cardinals (@AZCardinals) August 14, 2021
Colt McCoy got the start, and looked the part. He completed 6/7 passes for 69 yards, and looked like the quarterback we would expect him to be. No surprises there, but then when Streveler came in, I did not expect to be entertained as much as I was. He was using his legs to pick up yards while fearlessly running over defenders in the secondary. He was able to complete some short passes as well, though he finished the day with a 50% completion percentage. However most important is the fact that he helped get the team into field goal range allowing Matt Prater to do what he does best.
Rondale Moore Was Everywhere
Whether it was catching passes or being utilized in the run game, Arizona did all they could to get the ball in their playmakers hands. Moore racked up five total first-half touches totaling 39 yards (3 receptions, 2 rushes). Moore could be an interesting number three option for the Cardinals behind their superstar duo of receivers in DeAndre Hopkins and AJ Green.
Beautiful Sideline Passes
This game featured a pair of picture perfect throws down the right sideline. First was Colt McCoy hitting Christian Kirk with a perfectly placed pass gaining 34 yards. On the very next drive, the Cowboys Garrett Gilbert completed the exact same pass deep down the right sideline to Cedric Wilson for a 34 yard gain.
Scary Hours.@ckirk x #RedSea https://t.co/bNLl6xhHt8 pic.twitter.com/q2Hs1OI8xn— Arizona Cardinals (@AZCardinals) August 14, 2021
WOW, @cedwilson95 👀— Dallas Cowboys (@dallascowboys) August 14, 2021
📺: #DALvsAZ on @NFLNetwork (or check local listings) pic.twitter.com/kc13jd1PLx
Shoutout to Cardinals Special Teams Getting The Win
Kicking and punting often get overlooked by fans, but no one can deny the important role they play in the overall outcome of a game. The impact is a bit more obvious in this case considering the Cardinals won the game because of a Matt Prater field goal. In addition to that, punter Andy Lee had a great game as well landing two punts inside the 10 yard-line. The ability to rely on and expect consistency in kicking and punting makes winning so much easier.
.@MattPrater_5 already making game-winning kicks for the @AZCardinals!— NFL (@NFL) August 14, 2021
Good night! #DALvsAZ pic.twitter.com/MKfXIv9KLD
Dropped Passes Plague Dallas
The Dallas Cowboys stuffed the stat sheet in one area that is never helpful, dropped passes. Last season the Cowboys led the league with the most dropped passes, and it appeared as though they may face a similar struggle in 2021. Michael Gallup dropped an incredibly easy 3rd down completion over the middle, on a pass that was in stride and hit him right in the hands. Luckily he was able to catch the pass on the following play to convert on a 4th down attempt.
How did Gallup drop this??? pic.twitter.com/XsThnjvJ36— Alex. 🦅💵 (@Dubs4O8) August 14, 2021
New 4th Down Strategy For Cowboys?
Dallas went for it on 4th down four times, and managed to convert three of them into first downs. Could this level of aggressiveness carry over into the regular season? In fairness these attempts were made while on the Cardinals side of the 50 yard-line, but still these would have otherwise been field goal attempts or punts previously.
It’s difficult to determine much after the first week of the preseason, but some things tend to present themselves that could be worth keeping an eye on. Dallas wide receivers continue to drop very catchable passes, making it difficult for their offense to put together scoring drives. Cardinals offense could be deeper than expected, though the defense needs to perform better on 3rd downs moving forward if their going to be successful this season.
IMG CREDIT: Tom – stock.adobe.com