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Cardinals Finish Off Cowboys In Impressive Fashion For First Win

Brown touchdown, White interception in fourth quarter seals 28-16 decision

Wide receiver Michael Wilson races for 69 yards on a key fourth-quarter touchdown drive that helped the Cardinals over the Cowboys on Sunday.
Wide receiver Michael Wilson races for 69 yards on a key fourth-quarter touchdown drive that helped the Cardinals over the Cowboys on Sunday.

The clock ticked down and Jonathan Gannon – his first win as an NFL head coach in hand – received the obligatory Gatorade bath.

Gannon, a man who has talked constantly about process over results, accepted it as several players celebrated around him after the 28-16 win over the Dallas Cowboys Sunday at State Farm Stadium. But afterward, his feelings were plain.

"They wanted to do that," Gannon said. "I'm not a fan, honestly."

Told this, linebacker Kyzir White – the man who made the game-clinching end zone interception late in the game to all but end Dallas hopes – just broke into a big grin.

 "He ain't like it?" White said. "He'll be alright."

Keeping the journey even keel has been a tenant of Gannon's coaching, which is why his postgame presser after the win didn't feel much different than the ones he had after the losses to the Commanders and Giants. But it was most certainly a different game, both with the result and how the Cardinals (1-2) got there.

The halftime lead – this week, 21-10, after kicker Matt Prater lasered a 62-yard field goal to tie his own franchise record – stood up this time. That was in part because the Cardinals were able to move the ball and score often, totaling 400 yards against a Cowboys defense that had allowed 348 yards total in their first two games.

The Cardinals ran for 228 yards. Explosive plays on the ground were constant. Quarterback Joshua Dobbs broke off a 44-yarder on the first series. Wide receiver Rondale Moore, lined up at running back, took the handoff on a normal outside zone run play and streaked 45 yards down the middle of the field for a touchdown. James Conner had his longest run of the season at 26 yards and came just two yards shy of a second straight 100-yard game.

Most of the game, all-everything Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons was kept in check (although he did have a sack.)

And while the Cowboys moved the ball well in the second half – they ended up with 416 yards of offense themselves – all four of their second-half possessions ended without a touchdown even though all four got inside the Arizona 10-yard line.

"We told each other, 'Bend, but don't break,'" White said.

The Cardinals' first home win on a Sunday since Oct. 24, 2021 (they did win a Thursday night game last season) came down to the fourth quarter, which, given how the young season had played out, was fitting.

"It just gives us validation of what we already know about ourselves," said wide receiver Hollywood Brown, whose 2-yard touchdown catch provided the Cardinals' final points.

The lead sliced to five with more than seven minutes left, Dobbs found rookie wide receiver Michael Wilson – no one within 10 yards of him, when he wasn't the primary receiver on the play – for a 69-yard catch-and-run.

That drive ended with the Brown TD, and gave the Cardinals needed control.

"That's just the football gods on my side on that, because I'm really the alert and the through route," Wilson said. "I'm thinking just catch the football and get north.

"Anytime you can create an explosive that changes the field, it can really change to outcome of the football game."

For Dobbs, who was wired for sound for the game, his celebration after his TD pass will be one to watch.

"I am interested to see what I said," said Dobbs, who brought his game ball to his postgame press conference. "Hopefully they cut some stuff out so my Mom doesn't get mad at me. I was pretty fired up."

The Cowboys responded and had a chance to make it close with three minutes left. But quarterback Dak Prescott (25-of-40, 249 yards, one touchdown) threw his first interception of the season to White, who was dropping in the middle of the end zone as Brandin Cooks tried to sneak behind him.

"(I thought) 'Don't drop it. Don't drop it,'" White said. "I was surprised he threw it, to be honest."

The Cardinals then grinded out the clock to end the game in victory formation.

"You're excited (for the pick) but then you have to refocus," Dobbs said. "That's the hard part. The interesting part. When you are removed from the game, you're not out there playing, you can naturally go with the emotions of the game. But when you are playing, you enjoy it for a second but then you snap back into the situation."

The Cowboys committed 13 penalties, which was going to cost them. The Cardinals also averaged 7.5 yards per play, and now face another team in the 49ers that have been excellent on both sides of the ball. This time, it will be a road game.

But after three games, the Cardinals have shown they are going to be trouble for opponents, and one of the reasons is Gannon's push for process.

"It's going to be short-lived," cornerback Marco Wilson said. "We're going to go to work tomorrow watch film and get ready for the next week."

Gannon was asked about getting his first win as a coach, and the response was to be expected.

"Hopefully, one of many," Gannon said. "But back to the drawing board tomorrow."