At the time, it didn’t seem a big deal. The Cardinals forced the Cowboys into burning their first timeout of the second half with 4:04 remaining in the third quarter.
It ended up being one of the biggest plays of the game.
The Cowboys had burned their final timeout right before Chase Edmonds fumbled and Dallas recovered with less than three minutes remaining. Officials ruled Edmonds down, and the Cowboys couldn’t challenge it because they were out of timeouts.
“Yeah, they had told me up top [the Cowboys] were out [of timeouts],” Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury said. “I knew that they couldn’t challenge it, so we kind of slowed it back down and ran the play we wanted to get into.”
The Cardinals said they had no intention of going for it on fourth-and-five from the Dallas 8-yard line, holding a 19-7 lead late in the third quarter. They left much of their offense on the field, along with kicker Matt Prater, in hopes of getting the Cowboys to do what the Cowboys did — call a timeout. (The Cardinals kicked a field goal after the Cowboys called the timeout.)
“Yeah, we did,” Kingsbury said. “[Special teams] coach [Jeff] Rodgers had that one up. A tremendous thought by him, and it ended up being a huge play in the game. They didn’t have that challenge left, so [you’ve] got to give him a lot of credit for that call.”
It’s something the Cardinals practiced last week, quarterback Kyler Murray said, and the confused Cowboys failed to cover Christian Kirk, A.J. Green or Zach Ertz before calling the timeout. Murray also was on the field.
“At the end of the day, that was a crucial moment in the game,” Murray said. “I don’t know if Chase actually fumbled the ball, but they couldn’t do anything. That was crucial.”
Edmonds did actually fumble the ball before he slid to the ground with 2:51 remaining in a three-point game. Osa Odighizuwa recovered for the Cowboys for what should have been their ball at their own 29.
“[If] they get the ball with Dak Prescott with a minute left and down three, that’s not a situation we wanted to be in,” Kingsbury said.
Give Rodgers and Kingsbury credit for one of the coaching moves of the week.