If Ebenezer Scrooge were a football fan, he’d sneer “bah, humbug” at a Christmas night offering consisting of mathematically eliminated teams led by third-string quarterbacks.
But in the spirit of the season, we’ll channel Linus in our assessment of tonight’s Cowboys-Cardinals contest and say that it never was such a bad little game.
Sure, it was a 4-10 Cardinals team quarterbacked by John Skelton against a 5-9 Cowboys team quarterbacked by Stephen McGee, who replaced the injured Jon Kitna. But the 27-26 Cardinals win turned out to be entertaining, with a wild beginning (two interceptions returned for touchdowns in the first quarter) and a thrilling ending (Jay Feely booting a 48-yard field goal with five seconds left).
The Cardinals took a 14-0 lead in the first quarter and a 21-3 lead in the second quarter, and it appeared that we were in for a blowout. But the Cowboys scored a touchdown late in the first half and made things very interesting in the second half.
First, David Buehler hit a 53-yard field goal to bring the score to within 21-13. Then Marion Barber scored on a 24yard run, and the score was 21-20.
Feely then hit a 49-yard field goal to give the Cardinals a 24-20 lead, but that’s when McGee went to work, driving the Cowboys down the field and hitting Miles Austin on a 37-yard touchdown pass to make the score 26-24.
Buehler’s extra point attempt, however, was no good, and every Cowboys fan watching had to know that the missed extra point was going to be the latest example of nothing going right for the Cowboys this year.
Sure enough, Skelton marched the Cardinals into field goal range on a drive that included Larry Fitzgerald’s only catch of the game, a 26-yarder on fourth-and-15. Feely’s game winner put the exclamation mark on a much more exciting game than most football fans expected the Cowboys and the Cardinals to give us for Christmas.