Stephens-Howling Leads Cards Past Cowboys In OT
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) – The Arizona Cardinals did it again to Dallas.
For the third time in their three meetings since 2008 — all of in Arizona — the Cardinals beat the Cowboys in excruciating fashion.
LaRod Stephens-Howling caught a short pass from Kevin Kolb and zipped 52 yards for a touchdown in overtime to give the Cardinals a 19-13 victory Sunday, snapping the Cowboys’ four-game winning streak.
“There’s something about the Cowboys,” Arizona wide receiver Andre Roberts said. “I don’t know.”
The loss was made more painful because Dallas probably should have won it, but the Cowboys called a timeout a heartbeat before Dan Bailey’s 49-yard field goal sailed through the uprights for what would have been the game-winner at the end of regulation.
“The play clock was running down. We just wanted to make sure that he had a real clean opportunity at it,” Dallas coach Jason Garrett explained. “It was at about 6 (seconds) and we were still getting settled in, so we banged a time out to give him the opportunity to get the snap, hold and kick as clean as possible.”
Bailey’s next try was short and to the left, sending the game to overtime.
“The first one, I felt like I hit it good. Obviously it went in,” Bailey said. “We called the timeout, but that is my job to regroup and make the next one. I didn’t do that. No excuses. I should have made it despite the circumstances.”
Bailey earlier missed a 53-yarder, snapping a streak of 26 in a row he had made, dating to Week 2.
“I was glad they iced their kicker so I didn’t have to,” said Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt, whose team won at home in overtime for the second time this season.
It was simply a typical Cowboys-Cardinals finish.
Last Christmas, Arizona beat Dallas 27-26 on Jay Feely’s 48-yard field goal with 5 seconds to play. In 2008, the Cardinals won in overtime 30-24 on a blocked punt.
Stephens-Howling, who stands just 5-foot-7, dodged a host of would-be Cowboys tacklers to scamper in with the score.
“It was supposed to be a screen, but the linemen couldn’t get out because the D-line was pressuring us,” he said. “I saw the end zone when I turned around, I knew I had to go, and we had a lot of guys downfield helping me.”
Kolb completed 16 of 25 passes for 247 yards in his first game in five weeks.
Tony Romo was 28 for 42 for 299 yards for the Cowboys.
Arizona (5-7), which has won four of five, beat a team with a winning record for the first time this season. The Cowboys (7-5) remained alone in first in the NFC East because the New York Giants (6-6) lost to undefeated Green Bay.
Each quarterback was sacked five times.
The Cardinals won the toss and got the ball for the first and only possession in overtime.
Kolb’s 16-yard pass to Roberts, who had six catches for 111 yards, advanced the ball to the Dallas 47, but a false start penalty moved it back to the Arizona 48.
On first-and-15, Kolb threw a short swing pass to Stephens-Howling. The play easily got the first down, but the diminutive back stayed on his feet, avoided would-be tacklers and made a couple of nifty cuts en route to the end zone.
“LaRod felt it all get bottled up because the pressure came strong side, then he just kicked it out wide,” Kolb said. “I tried to hold on as long as possible to give him enough room to make a play and then he does what he does best and that’s making people miss in the open field. It was an exciting day and one I’ll never forget, for sure.”
Kolb was thinking field goal, not touchdown, as Stephens-Howling ran downfield.
“As soon as he broke for 20 (yards), I’m screaming behind him `Go down! Go down!”‘ he said. “But when those guys get a chance, they’re not going to, and I’m glad he didn’t now.”
Kolb, out with turf toe and bruise on the side of his right foot since Oct. 30, was rusty early, but after halftime, he was 9 of 14 for 203 yards.
Bryant had eight catches for 86 yards, but DeMarco Murray managed just 38 yards on 12 carries. Beanie Wells gained 67 yards on 20 attempts, including a 5-yard touchdown run.
Kolb directed a quick six-play, 79-yard touchdown drive early in the fourth quarter to tie it at 13. The big plays were his passes of 40 and 22 yards to Roberts. Wells’ TD run up the middle tied it with 13:08 remaining.
The Cardinals had to punt from the end zone late in the game after Early Doucet dropped a third-down pass that would have given Arizona a first down. Bryant returned the punt to the 22, but an illegal block in the back penalty against Orlando Scandrick pushed it back to the Dallas 40
“Of course I think it was a bad call,” Bryant said.
On third-and-11 from the Cardinals 46, Romo threw 15 yards to Bryant to the Arizona 31 as time slipped away. That set up Bailey’s missed field goal.
As usual, there was a huge contingent of white-jerseyed Dallas fans, a fact apparent not only from the color of their apparel but from the loudness of the cheering when the Cowboys did something good.
But the team could not cash in on early opportunities. The Cowboys were in Arizona territory six of the seven times they had the ball in the first half, yet led only 10-3 at the half.
On Dallas’ second possession, Bailey tried a 53-yarder, his longest since coming to the NFL, but was wide right, just his second miss in 28 attempts this season. Later in the first half, Bailey’s 50-yard attempt bounced off the right upright and through to tie it at 3.
Arizona, meanwhile, was mired in awful field position most of the first half.
Dallas finally got the first touchdown late in the opening half. DeMarcus Ware’s 15th sack of the season pinned the Cardinals at their own 2 and Bryant’s 14-yard punt return put Dallas at Arizona’s 33. Romo found Jason Witten over the middle for 28 yards to the Arizona 5, then threw to a wide-open Bryant for the touchdown. That put Dallas up 10-3.
“There were a lot of mistakes out there today,” Romo said. “We can look at a lot of different areas. We are going to be very disappointed in some of the things we did as a football team.”
Notes: The roof at University of Phoenix Stadium was open for the second game in a row. … Ten different players were credited for the game’s 10 sacks. … Dallas TE Martellus Bennett left with a rib injury in the third quarter.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)