“I can’t lie: He actually promised me,” Stephens-Howling said. “He promised me I’d win the game.”
Surely, Lutui couldn’t have envisioned a fourth quarter featuring the Cards’ lone touchdown drive of regulation, or a defense that suddenly can’t be beat. He definitely couldn’t have seen the déjà vu of a missed field goal at the end of fourth quarter, when Dallas kicker Dan Bailey left his 49-yarder short, forcing overtime.
Lutui forecasted Stephens-Howling correctly, though, with a twisting, winding 52-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown that gave the Cardinals another emotional 19-13 overtime win – just like the last time they played at University of Phoenix Stadium when they beat the Rams.
“Overtime games here are crazy,” coach Ken Whisenhunt said.
It’s seemingly unpredictable, although given the opponent, maybe not.
The Cardinals (5-7) have now beat the Cowboys (7-5) three straight times, all at home, all with fantastic endings. In 2008, it was a punt block for a touchdown in overtime. Last season, it was a fourth-and-15 conversion to spark a game-winning field goal on the final play.
It’s possible, given the circumstances, the most recent was the most improbable. The Cardinals got
Then? “It was definitely a game of two halves,” Kolb said.
Kolb, who looked rusty and inaccurate in the first half, suddenly was solid. The Cardinals went on a long drive to start the second half of 73 yards, and while they couldn’t finish with a touchdown, there was relief.
Roberts made a 40-yard catch to set up the Cards’ first touchdown, a four-yard run by running back
The Cardinals held the Cowboys to 75 yards rushing, and while quarterback Tony Romo had a good day – 28-for-42, 299 yards, a touchdown – he was sacked five times and couldn’t get his team to the final score they desperately needed.
“You could tell (the Cowboys) were just thinking, ‘Win,’ ” defensive tackle
That’s when it got odd. Romo came up to the line but deliberately made sure everyone was lined up before spiking it with seven seconds left. Then, just as Bailey went to try the field goal – a kick he followed through on and made – the Cowboys called time out.
“We felt like the play clock was running down,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. “We just wanted to make sure he had a real clean opportunity at it.”
Said Whisenhunt, “I was glad they iced the kicker there at the end so I didn’t have to do it.”
Bailey, who missed a 53-yarder earlier in the game, indeed was iced. His second try never was close, coming up short and to the left. The Cardinals had life.
“You have to play the game out,” linebacker
The Cardinals won the toss and got the ball first in the sudden-death world of NFL overtime. Kolb was up for it. He finished 16-for-25 for 247 yards and a touchdown, but it was overtime that was the foundation – he was 3-for-3 for 82 yards and the score on that final drive.
The call was a screen to Stephens-Howling, and while he didn’t have a lot of linemen blocking – the Cowboys’ blitzed – it was a timely call from offensive coordinator Mike Miller.
“Mike dialed it up at the exact right time, and LaRod felt it got bottled up and he kicked it out wide,” Kolb said. “I tried to hold on to it as long as possible so he could make a play and then he does what he does best.”
Kolb said he figures he’ll be sore after not playing for a month. “I have no energy left because it was an emotional second half, but everything else will be good,” he said with a smile.
The Cards completed their last home game in overtime, by the same winning score, when
“To have them trust me at the end was a great feeling,” Stephens-Howling said. “To have your teammates jumping on you or picking you up (in celebration), that’s what you play for.”