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Cardinals Get First Victory In Explosive Fashion

Gannon's emphasis on big plays helps offense flourish

Cardinals wide receiver Rondale Moore breaks off a 45-yard running play for a touchdown in Sunday's win over the Cowboys.
Cardinals wide receiver Rondale Moore breaks off a 45-yard running play for a touchdown in Sunday's win over the Cowboys.

Michael Wilson jokingly admitted following the Cardinals' win over the Cowboys that he was going to lose sleep because he didn't score on his 69-yard reception.

But when the alarm went off Monday, the final score made up for it.

"I think there's no greater feeling in life than waking up the next morning with a victory," Wilson said.

Yes, Wilson is still getting a lot of smack from his fellow wide receivers, but "at the end of the day, I'm never going to get frustrated over a 70-yard catch."

The only frustration on Sunday came from those wearing blue and silver. The Cardinals found a way to finish in the 28-16 win, helped by the explosive plays coach Jonathan Gannon has preached about since he arrived in Arizona.

"In the run game we had some explosives, in the pass game we had some explosives," Gannon said. "We kept down the explosives down on defense. Special teams we were positive in that phase and that component of the game."

Gannon alluded to the rushing game, and while James Conner was incredibly impressive, rushing for 98 yards on 14 carries, the two major runs came from non-running backs.

Wide receiver Rondale Moore had a rushing touchdown that went for 45 yards and quarterback Joshua Dobbs took the second play of the game 44 yards using his legs.

"They gave me a pull read and then it was great to make a play, really ignite the offense, the team," Dobbs said. "We wanted to be the aggressor. We wanted to come out and start fast."

Conner had a season-long 26-yard run himself.

The Cardinals had seven plays of at least 20 yards, and Greg Dortch had a 19-yard punt return. The Cowboys only had four plays of at least 20 yards. Kicker Matt Prater also had a 62-yard field goal for the Cards.

"We know it (explosives) is a winning stat every week," Gannon said. "They did a good job with it."

There was a minor scare as shades of the Commanders and Giants outings when the Cowboys scored early in the second half.

But, with 9:26 remaining in the fourth quarter, Cardinals only up by five, Dobbs found Wilson for the biggest explosive of the afternoon.

"Our offensive coordinator (Drew Petzing) has done a great job of calling plays and I think sometimes when you're able to run a lot of crosses, defenses can get confused and drop guys," Wilson said.

Wide receiver Hollywood Brown caused most of the Cowboys defense to bite on his route, which allowed for Wilson to be on an island by himself. Despite having nobody within 10-yards of him, the anticipation made it a challenging grab.

"I personally think those are some of the toughest catches in football," Wilson said. "Because when it's so easy, I think you want to take your eyes off the ball really quick and see how many yards you can get downfield. But in my head, I'm looking at this ball and I'm catching it and then seeing what I can get downfield."

Dobbs spoke last week about finishing as a team. Finding Wilson in that critical moment was massive for the win.

"Mike ran a great route, getting open on the back side to be able to find him down the field, and then the run after the catch, get the ball all the way inside the 10," Dobbs said. "It was huge, huge for momentum."


Gannon said linebacker Zaven Collins hadn't looked great after being poked in the eye during Sunday's game, but that Collins was "doing OK right now." His status is TBD. ...

Kyler Murray can come off PUP next week -- when he is first eligible -- but Gannon wasn't committing. "We know the timetable but we have our own timetable." ...

Starting left guard Elijah Wilkinson played well Sunday, Gannon said, and the only reason backup Trystan Colon got 14 snaps there was to get Colon some game experience.