Sputtering Arizona beats mistake-prone Cowboys
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — The Dallas Cowboys had a gift for Bruce Arians in his first home game as Arizona coach.
Six of them, actually.
The Cowboys committed six turnovers, five in the first half, and the Cardinals sputtered to a 12-7 preseason victory Saturday.
Arizona’s Jay Feely kicked field goals of 25, 53, 40 and 22 yards. He missed one from 30.
Dallas’ Tony Romo completed 7 of 10 passes for 142 yards but was undone by two fumbles by his receivers. He also overthrew a wide-open Terrance Williams for what looked to be a sure touchdown.
“Obviously, turnovers are going to get you beat in this league. It is paramount that we don’t let that happen again,” Romo said. “We are going to have some hard teaching sessions going over this tape, and it will be good for guys.”
The Cowboys scored on a 5-yard pass from fourth-string quarterback Alex Tanney to Gavin Escobar with 10:55 to play, the first points allowed by Arizona (2-0) in the preseason. The Cardinals won at Green Bay 17-0 last week.
“I think special teams is exactly where it needs to be and defensively I like where we’re at,” Arians said. “Offensively, we’re a work in progress.”
Arizona’s Carson Palmer was 7 of 15 for 66 yards.
Dallas, which entered the game with two turnovers total in its first two preseason contests, fumbled the ball away three times, then backup Kyle Orton threw two interceptions, all before the half came to an end. Arizona got another interception with 1:40 to play.
Arizona managed just nine points despite Dallas’ five first-half turnovers.
“It’s not anything we were physically beat on or beat with speed,” Palmer said, “it was silly, sloppy things. I put that on my shoulders and it’s unacceptable to have nine points off the opportunities that we had.”
Arizona has had red-zone issues in both of its games.
“Just like last week, we play extremely well all over the field until we get inside the 20, and then we have a ton of mental errors,” Arians said. “It baffles me.”
Dallas coach Jason Garrett called the six turnovers “inexcusable” but he praised the defense for its response to that adversity.
“To have six turnovers and give up 12 points is pretty darn good,” he said.
Cardinals cornerback Jerraud Powers recovered two fumbles and intercepted a pass. Rookie Tony Jefferson had two interceptions.
The first Dallas turnover came after Arizona went three-and-out in its first possession.
Dwayne Harris gathered in Dave Zastudil’s 56-yard punt and was in immediate distress. Justin Bethel stripped Harris of the ball, then Stepfan Taylor jumped on it for Arizona at the Dallas 22. The Cardinals made it to the 7, but Palmer threw incomplete short to Andre Roberts on third-and-6, although Michael Floyd appeared to be open in the back of the end zone. Feely’s 25-yard field goal made it 3-0.
The first offensive series for Dallas ended when, on third-and-one from the Arizona 47, the rookie Williams broke open down the sideline but Romo overthrew him.
Arizona took the punt and drove from its 11 to the Dallas 7 on its next possession, but on fourth-and-2 Palmer underthrew Mendenhall.
“It was a bad throw,” Palmer said. “He did a good job, he was open. I’ve got to give him the chance to make a play, and I didn’t.”
On the first series of the second quarter, Romo threw short to Lance Dunbar, who evaded tacklers at the line of scrimmage and raced downfield to the Arizona 7, with the ball coming loose as the receiver went down. The ruling was he was down by contact, but Arians challenged and was successful, with Powers recovering at the Cardinals 4.
The next time the Cowboys had the ball, Romo threw long to Dez Bryant at the Arizona 28. But Bryant fumbled as he went down and Jasper Brinkley recovered for the Cardinals at their 24. Arizona moved to the Dallas 36, and Feely’s 53-yard field goal made it 6-0.
Orton’s second pass of the game was picked off by Powers at the Cowboys 30, but Feely’s subsequent 30-yard field goal try was wide ride.
Before the ugly half came to an end, Orton threw one more interception. Jefferson picked it off at the 31 and Feely’s 40-yard field goal as the half ended put the Cardinals up 9-0.
Tanney completed 11 straight passes in one stretch, eight of them on Dallas’ touchdown drive. Jefferson’s pick of Tanney’s pass came with 1:40 to play to clinch the victory.
Notes: Although there were some empty seats, the game was sold out. The Cardinals have sold out all 74 games since University of Phoenix Stadium opened. … Cowboys SS Will Allen was shaken up on a collision in the end zone and left the game early. … Arizona rookie S Tyrann Mathieu had some coverage issues starting in place of injured Rashad Johnson. … Third-string Dallas QB Nick Stephens did not play. … Arizona’s Patrick Peterson, in his first action on offense in the preseason, caught a lateral pass from Palmer for a 6-yard gain. … Arizona has one turnover to its opponents’ eight in the first two games. … Cowboys owner Jerry Jones says LB Alex Albright will require back surgery and miss the season. Albright, a top special teams player, was injured early in camp.