Arizona 27, Dallas 26: Every Stupid Mistake, Revisited

Our friend Jerry had a "gut feeling" that David Buehler was the right choice as the team's kicker. One of many, many, many stupid mistakes in 2010.

Our dumb-as-manure Dallas Cowboys put up a fight against the 4-10 Arizona Cardinals, who were playing with their third-string quarterback and who were coming off an ugly 19-12 loss to Carolina. Commentators suggested that the Cowboys had been healed from their early-season woes and would win this game easily.

So, did you think that the Cowboys’ receivers had quit letting balls bounce off their hands and into the hands of defenders?

Did you think that the Cowboys’ secondary would stop making heroes of otherwise nobody quarterbacks?

Did you think that surely, no member of the Cowboys would be called for unsportsmanlike conduct after scoring a touchdown?

Did you think that David Buehler would actually make all of the important kicks for the rest of his year?

Did you think that when the defense could win the game with one more stop that the Doomed Defense would make that stop?

Did you think the Cowboys wouldn’t ruin two of our holidays with last-second losses this year?

If you answered yes to all of the above, you would be wrong. One by one, let’s take a look:

(1) The Cowboys were down 14-0 after seven minutes had elapsed thanks to two interception returns for touchdowns by the Cardinals. On the first, Miles Austin slipped, allowing Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie to snag the pick and return it 32 yards for a touchdown. On the second, Jon Kitna threw behind Roy Williams, who tipped the ball in the air and into the hands of Greg Toler, who returned it 66 yards for a score.

(2) Rookie QB John Skelton didn’t look great all night, but he extended the Cardinal lead to 21-3 when he hit Andre Roberts, who had run past Mike Jenkins (who interfered with Roberts on the play). Roberts ran 74 yards for a score. Skelton also made the plays at the end of the game to set up the game-winner.

(3) Marion Barber had a couple of great runs, including a 24-yard touchdown in the third quarter. However, he surely drew the ire of every person who even mildly likes the Cowboys by tearing off his helmet on the field, drawing a 15-yard penalty. Jason Garrett says that Barber knows better and that “it’s not going to happen again.” Really, Jason? Really?

(4) Kitna was injured late in the first half, and he did not play at all in the second half. Stephen McGee played a decent game, though Dallas played very conservatively for much of the time. McGee’s biggest play was a 37-yard touchdown pass to Miles Austin with less than two minutes left.

And then…

David Buehler clanked the extra point off the left crossbar. Of course, that extra point was the difference in the game.

(5) The Doomed Defense could have effectively won games against the Bears, Titans, Vikings, Saints, and Eagles. In each game, the opponent found a way to put together drives to win each of the games.

Arizona got the ball at its own 24 with 1:41 left, and the Cardinals had to get into field goal range with their rookie QB. At one point, the Cardinals faced a 4th-and-15. Dallas rushed three and dropped eight. Skelton at that point hit Larry Fitzgerald, who was camped out between linebacker Keith Brooking and in front of strong safety Gerald Sensabaugh. Fitzgerald gained 26 yards on the game.

Needless to say, the game slipped away from there. Dallas decided to blitz onĀ  2nd-and-10 from the Dallas 44, and Skelton hit Max Komar for a 19-yard gain to set up the game-winning field goal.

(6) The Thanksgiving loss to New Orleans was sad. This one was just funny.

Bah! Humbug!

Anyway, here’s some “good” news: The Cowboys are on a good position now to have a pick in the top eight. In fact, when the Cowboys are absolutely destroyed by the Eagles in Philadelphia next week, the Cowboys will finish with a 5-11 overall record and a conference record of 3-9.

  • Dgrey147

    I particularly liked the comment about the Cowboys ruining two holidays this year, well liked really isnt the word. I have a huge family of Cowboy haters, like Skelton sd about his dad last night after the game, “his favorite team is whoever is playing the Cowboys.” Thanksgiving and last night my house was full of these non-commital idiots who dont have a team, they just revel in my anguish of being the biggest Cowboy fan in Kansas. I thought the Cowboys and therefore I was going to come out on top both times but as you know, they/ I did not. I havent had a good holiday season with this crowd since ’92, ’93, ’95. 40 year Cowboy fan.

  • Jbaronet

    I personally like Jason Garretts reactions to being the main man coaching wise, but someone ought to remind him that whenever youi have a chance to tie the ball game with a two point conversion, you take it no matter how much time is left on the clock. That bonehead decisions and his ultra conservative reactions to almost every situation has made him the most predictable coach in the league. There was absolutely no down side to going for two in that situation and a hell of alot to gain. Lets see: score would be tied, a field goal by the other team would be just a three point lead instead of four (I don’t think there are many four point scores in football) and if you miss you are still looking at two field goals to try and win with a less than automatic kicker (as we saw). I really don’t think that Mr. Garrett is showing the maturity as of right now it takes to get the Cowboys out of this funk they are in. They can’t hope to compete in this league without being able to win a close game, and as they have portrayed this year, they cannot remain focused throughout an entire game to succeed. That is a coaching problem, no matter how you slice it comes down to keeping yourself alert and putting your players in a position to make the plays that you are paying them to make. That dosen’t mean that you get so conservative at the end of a game that you drop everybody soo back from their recievers that they have no chance of stopping a completion for a first down on fourth down and fiveteen, and to top it off, let’s make sure the third string quarterback has plenty of time by rushing only three and of course let him know threre will be no pressure by telegraphing all of this to reassure him. It looked like high school out there at the end.
    From the play calling to execution, this team has alot of work for this off season to regain any amount of respect from the rest of the league or from the officiating crews (and I use that term almost laughingly). This has been probably the worst year for consistant officiating I think I have ever seen, but that is another story all together…

  • B Arnold

    Jerry Jones is a No Football guy Azzhole!

  • Sjaymes

    Absolute joke … Jerry this is not a team. We have a core group of individuals that look for individual glory not team succes. Roy Willims in several games while the team was playing poorly would celebrate one catch for 10 yards, Miles Austin, most recently Marion Barber classless removal of his helmet after a TD …UNPROFESSIONAL ..this group of individuals will continue to under achieve because they celebrate such minor accomplishments.

    Winning programs … New England, Colts, Steelers, want and expect more of their players. I agree Jerry as a FAN I am mad as hell, and these clones or Coaches is not the answer you need to shake up this program and it begins with you.

  • Anonymous

    “This has been probably the worst year for consistant officiating I think I have ever seen, but that is another story all together… ”

    I didn’t mention it in my post, but the Cowboys got almost no calls yesterday until the very end of the game. Austin was clearly being mauled on one of the long passes in the first half, but no call. If that were Mike Jenkins, there’s no doubt it would have been illegal contact or pass interference.

  • Bhari

    JBaronet – I agree with most of what you said, except the part about the 2 point attempt. Getting the 1 point would have won the game if we made the extra point.

  • Bhari

    Calls, Schmals… we stink.