The Dallas Cowboys appeared to be cruising toward the playoffs, but they hit a speed bump today in Arizona.
In a game the Cowboys had several chances to put away, they could never seem to do it. And when the game went into overtime, the Cowboys never even saw the ball: The Cardinals received the overtime kickoff and then marched 80 yards for the game-winning touchdown, with a short pass from Kevin Kolb turning into a sensational LaRod Stephens-Howling 52-yard touchdown, as Stephens-Howling winded his way through the Cowboys’ defense to give Arizona a big upset win.
Of all the opportunities the Cowboys had to put the game away, the one that will be most painful came just before overtime, when head coach Jason Garrett iced his own kicker, Dan Bailey: Garrett called a timeout just an instant before Dallas snapped the ball with seven seconds remaining, and Bailey followed through and kicked it through the uprights for what appeared to be the game-winner, until it became clear that the officials had waved the play off. After the timeout, Bailey got another chance at a game-winner, and this time he missed.
Garrett will kick himself for that decision for a long time, but the good news for the Cowboys is that they’re still in control in the NFC East. But today’s loss means that winning next week’s home game against the Giants becomes even more essential for the Cowboys.