|Date of game: 11/2/2014
Recap: Dallas vs. Arizona
Arlington, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - Carson Palmer threw three touchdown passes and the Arizona Cardinals took advantage of Tony Romo's absence in recording a 28-17 win over the reeling Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium.
With Romo held out after sustaining two small fractures in his back during Monday's overtime loss to Washington, the Cowboys' offense wasn't the same with backup Brandon Weeden at the controls.
Dallas (6-3) mustered a meager 266 total yards and didn't produce an offensive touchdown until Dez Bryant's 3-yard touchdown grab from Weeden with 1:08 remaining. Weeden completed just 18-of-33 passes for 183 yards and tossed a pair of interceptions, while Bryant didn't register a catch until the late TD drive.
The Cardinals' third-ranked run defense also limited DeMarco Murray to 79 yards on 19 carries, the first time the star running back was held under 100 in nine outings this season.
"I don't think we were consistent enough on offense," said Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett. "I don't think we were consistent enough in the passing game. We need to be more effective when they're playing that type of defense."
Palmer shook off an early interception that Tyler Patmon returned 58 yards for a touchdown to finish 22-of-34 for 249 yards for the NFC-leading Cardinals (7-1), who ended a string of 14 consecutive regular-season losses in Dallas and are off to their best eight-game start since 1974.
"The confidence in this locker room right now is through the roof," said cornerback Patrick Peterson, who shadowed Bryant for most of the game. "No matter who we step in the field with, no matter what the scenario is, we feel we are the best team on the football field."
Andre Ellington totaled 95 rushing yards on 21 attempts in the win, while adding 39 yards and a touchdown on four receptions.
A day that ultimately ended in frustration got off to a very promising beginning for Dallas, as Weeden was handed a 7-0 lead before he even took a snap. Palmer's down-the-middle throw into coverage on the opening drive was picked off by Patmon, with the rookie cornerback racing untouched along the sideline just over four minutes into the contest.
Weeden guided the Cowboys to a field goal on his initial series, aided by a well-executed screen that Lance Dunbar turned into a 40-yard gain to set up Dan Bailey's 52-yard field goal.
Arizona answered with its best drive of the first half, a 13-play, 80-yard sequence in which Palmer went 5-for-7 and converted three third-down chances, the last coming on his 7-yard bullet to John Carlson that got the Cardinals within 10-7 early in the second quarter.
After Dallas' next two possessions went three-and-out, Arizona marched 63 yards in eight plays to move ahead. A 20-yard catch-and-run by Ellington brought the Cardinals into the red zone, and Palmer hit Jaron Brown on a third-down slant route three plays later for an 11-yard touchdown 4:34 prior to the intermission.
Murray's powerful 17-yard run just before the two-minute warning got the Cowboys to the Arizona 16 and positioned Bailey for another field goal try. However, Justin Bethel swooped in to block the kick and keep the Cardinals up 14-10 at intermission.
The Cowboys' defense kept them in it through three quarters of play, but mistakes continued to plague Dallas on the other side of the ball.
Weeden was intercepted by Tyrann Mathieu at the Cardinals' 10-yard line on Dallas' second drive of the second half, and Murray was stuffed by Deone Bucannon on 4th-and-1 from the Arizona 34 to thwart another scoring chance with 9:36 remaining.
"That (blocked field goal) and the red zone interception that we had ... those two were two good scoring opportunities that we didn't take advantage of," Garrett said.
The Cardinals proceeded to churn out 65 yards in nine plays to create a two- score differential.
"That's when the game shifted," said Cardinals' nose tackle Dan Williams of the fourth-down stop.
Following the change of possession, Ted Ginn Jr. came down with an acrobatic 27-yard catch at the Dallas 28 and Ellington followed with a 17- yard run in front of Larry Fitzgerald's 10-yard reception to the Dallas one. Shortly after, Palmer found a wide-open Ellington in the flat for a short touchdown that gave Arizona a 21-10 lead with six minutes to play.
Antonio Cromartie then jumped a route to intercept Weeden deep in Dallas territory on the ensuing possession, with the turnover leading to Marion Grice's 1-yard touchdown that all but sealed the outcome with 4:20 left.
Weeden engineered a 12-play, 87-yard drive in the closing moments that was capped with Bryant's snare of a fade toss in the end zone.Game Notes
The Cardinals' most recent regular-season win in Dallas occurred on Oct. 29,
1989, though they did come through with a 20-7 victory in Texas Stadium in a
1998 NFC Wild Card game ... Cowboys middle linebacker Rolando McClain left
with an apparent leg injury in the fourth quarter ... Dallas also played
without a pair of offensive line starters in right tackle Doug Free (fractured
foot) and guard Ronald Leary (groin) ... The Cardinals now are plus-10 in
turnover margin for the season ... Brown and Grice each scored their first
career touchdowns ... Bethel's blocked field goal was Arizona's 18th since
2008, the most in the NFL over that span ... Weeden fell to 5-16 as a starter
for his career.