Stephen-Howlings Shocks Cowboys

The game was a defensive battle for the most part, but had an ending nobody could expect.  Going into the fourth quarter, it was just a 13-6 game, with the only touchdown coming in the second quarter on a Romo to Bryant connection.  Then Kevin Kolb led his team down the field and Beanie Wells finished it with a 4 yard score to tie it up.  The Cowboys had the ball at the end of regulation to seal the deal.  Dan Bailey was given a long field goal attempt to lead the Cowboys back home with their 8th victory of the season when the unimaginable happened.  He was iced by his own coach.  Jason Garrett took an ill advised timeout as Dan Bailey put it through the uprights.  His second try didn’t go so well.  I don’t have any idea what Garrett was thinking, but the Cardinals certainly didn’t mind.

The Cardinals started with the ball in OT and never let the Cowboys touch it. 5 plays and 80 yards into the extra period,  LaRod Stephens-Howlings finished off the game with an outstanding catch and run for 52 yards.  Looking just like the return man he is, he took a screen from Kolb and dodge several defenders on his way to pay dirt.  The Cowboys were playing hot, winning 4 in a row before this game, but continued to struggle on the road.

This game was extremely efficient on both sides.  There were a total of zero turnovers by both teams.  Each team had 5 sacks as well, so the defense pressure was on all game.  Romo had a solid game, throwing for 299 yards, but could only get the ball into the end zone once all game.  The running game had one its most ineffective games all season as Demarco Murray could only manage 38 yards on the ground and now spell back Felix Jones added 36.  An overall solid defensive performance from the Cards to stop a high powered offense.

Kevin Kolb made his long anticipated return, trying to redeem his woes from earlier in the season.  He looked much better this game, but did not excel.  He was held out of the end zone until the over time period, and even that one was purely because of the amazing run after the catch from Stephens-Howling.  Still, he performed well for the most part.  After Skelton had thrown 6 interceptions in the last 2 games, it was a welcome sight to see zero thrown from Kolb.  He finished the day with 247 yards passing with the one score.  Beanie Wells couldn’t really get it going, managing only 67 yards on 20 carries.  He couldn’t break any down field, his long for the day was just 9.  The big breakout performer for the day was Andre Roberts.  He was the leading receiver with much of the focus on Larry Fitzgerald, and even Doucet was shut down.  Roberts had 111 yards on 6 catches.  He brought in every ball that went his way.  I’m sure he was glad to see Kevin Kolb under center again.

So the Cardinals now sit 5-7, tied for second in the NFC West.  If this were last year, they would be in the thick of things for the NFC title, but San Francisco has run away with it this year.  Still, this team has a lot of talent and would love to bring some momentum into next year.  Despite some key injuries, they have now won 4 of their last 5.  Their only loss in that stretch?  The Niners, who they have again next week.  This time they will get them at home, so maybe this hot team can pull an upset.  Having Kolb back is big, because the 49ers do not give up many points.  The Cardinals will need all of the weapons they can get.

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