Cowboys’ rough week concludes with mistake-filled loss to Cardinals

Arizona Cardinals linebacker Zaven Collins (25) sacks Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 24, 2023, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) (Rick Scuteri, Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

GLENDALE, Ariz. – Dak Prescott stepped up to avoid the rush, surveyed the coverage and let the ball fly into the end zone. Hit his receiver and the Dallas Cowboys would still have a chance to pull off a road comeback.

One problem: Prescott didn't see Kyzir White.

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The Arizona defensive back stepped in front of Prescott's intended receiver and easily intercepted the pass, ending Dallas' day of mistakes and missed opportunities with a 28-16 loss to the Cardinals on Sunday.

The Cowboys had a difficult week leading up to their trip to the desert.

All-Pro cornerback Trevon Diggs tore his left ACL in practice on Thursday, leaving a big hole in the secondary. Dallas’ offensive line became thin when center Tyler Biadasz, tackle Tyron Smith and guard Zack Martin couldn’t play due to injuries.

“This has been a rough week on a lot of fronts,” coach Mike McCarthy said. “I think the amount of adversity, you go through your preparation process and and we know we didn’t have enough today.”

Dallas (2-1) looked unstoppable after becoming the fifth team in the Super Bowl era to score at least 70 points and allow 10 or fewer in the first two games, beating the two New York teams by a combined score of 70-10.

The Cowboys' run defense wasn't tested much in the first two games, in part because the Giants and Jets fell behind early and had to pass.

The Cardinals went right at the Dallas D, churning out 222 yards rushing at 7.4 yards per carry. James Conner led the way with 98 yards and a touchdown, one of three Arizona players with at least 54 yards rushing.

Joshua Dobbs took what the Cowboys gave him in his third start in place of Kyler Murray, throwing for 189 yards and a touchdown on 17-of-21 passing. He also set the tone early, looking a lot like Murray while racing off for a 44-yard gain on a designed run on the game's second play.

“We've got to get back to our standard and do what we know we can do, be the team we know we can be,” Cowboys defensive tackle Osa Odighizuwa said. “It was execution. I thought we could have executed at a higher level.”

So could the offense.

The Cowboys had some success moving the ball, but kept putting themselves in bad positions due to penalties.

Dallas was flagged 10 times for 72 yards in the first half and negated DaVontae Turpin's 51-yard punt return to the Arizona 23 with holding penalty in the third quarter. The Cowboys finished with 13 penalties for 107 yards.

The red zone also continued to be a problem.

The Cowboys were able to overcome their shortcomings inside the 20-yard line in the first two games, but it cost them against the Cardinals. Dallas turned the ball over on downs at the Arizona 4-yard line in the third quarter, lost the ball on Prescott's interception with three minutes left and went 1 for 5 in the red zone.

“We moved the ball up and down the field and just couldn’t score,” said Prescott, who threw for 249 yards and a touchdown on 25-of-40 passing. “That was the reason for this loss.”

Once seeming invincible, the Cowboys now have a lot of questions to answer if they're going to get back on track.



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