ARLINGTON, Texas — It was supposed to be a statement game for the Dallas Cowboys, and it did turn out to be, only it wasn’t the statement they were hoping to send in Week 17. Fresh off of a 56-point explosion against the Washington Football Team that saw them nearly perfect in all three phases of the game, they found themselves again sputtering offensively when Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals walked into AT&T Stadium on Sunday, en route to losing a 25-22 nail-biter that mostly wasn’t one at all.
Due to a rash of first-half penalties that combined with execution issues (e.g., drops), Dak Prescott and his offense simply could not establish a rhythm early in the game. And while the Cowboys defense initially did a good job of stopping the Cardinals offense — holding them to only 13 points in the first half — an inability to extend drives offensively made things difficult for a tiring defense as the game wore on.
“They definitely did [disguise their defense],” said Prescott following the loss, a confirmation to Cardinals safety Budda Baker noting that’s what Arizona planned to do. “I feel like every team that I play does that more than they do [though] — other guys, I guess you could say. So, it’s just important for me to watch my film study and see the post snap. I think I did a solid job of it.
“They did a good job of disguising, trying to show some blitzes and then got out of there, brought a couple of them. They did a good job of getting their hands up on some DB pressures, batting the ball down and things like that. Obviously put us in second and long, in a situation you don’t want to be in. Credit to those guys for what they did, but we’ll see them again.”
Now, they’re almost assured to, after relinquishing the No. 2 seed in the NFC while also eliminating the possibility of chasing down the No. 1 seed. As it stands, the Cowboys are back in the No. 4 seat in the…