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ARI 19, DAL 16: Boys Look Better but Still Fall to 0-2 in Preseason

The Cowboys scored their first touchdown of the preseason and were up in the 4th quarter tonight against the Arizona Cardinals, but ultimately surrendered two late field goals to lose 19-16. Dallas drops to 0-2 thus far in 2021 preseason play.

QB Ben DiNucci led a 14-play, 80-yard drive and ultimately found WR Brandon Smith in the endzone to put Dallas up early in the final quarter. It was a slightly better showing for DiNucci from his work last week in the Hall of Fame Game but later he regressed to some of the erratic throws and poor decision making that we’ve come to fear.

In fairness, very little about the Cowboys offense stood out in this one. Outside of one beautiful 34-yard connection between Garrett Gilbert and Cedrick Wilson in the first half, plus some tough running by undrafted RB JaQuan Hardy, it was a very quiet night on that side of the ball.

Dallas’ defense was not so quiet, though, and certainly gave the team a chance to win.

The standout tonight was DE Dorance Armstrong, who had two sacks and a near INT on his own tipped ball in a strong individual performance. Already seen as a likely member of the 2021 roster, Armstrong showed tonight why he’s still here and is arguably the team’s best backup at defensive end.

Also strong tonight was rookie LB Jabril Cox with eight tackles and some nice moments in pass coverage. Fellow draft classmates Osa Odighizuwa and Quinton Bohanna were making some plays late, and we also got some good glimpses of pass rusher Ron’Dell Carter.

As it always seems to be with preseason games, the real stories coming out of the night were injuries to some of the locked-in or at least likely members of the 2021 roster.

DT Neville Gallimore, perhaps Dallas’ top interior defensive lineman right now, hyperextended his elbow and left the game in pain. A full diagnosis and recovery timeline are still forthcoming

Also exiting tonight with injuries were TE prospect Sean McKeon and potential swing tackle Ty Nsekhe. While the veteran OT’s injury did not appear serious, McKeon needed a cart after hurting his ankle.

Like last week, many of the Cowboys’ starters and other key players didn’t play at all tonight. However, we at least got brief looks at Michael Gallup, CeeDee Lamb, Blake Jarwin, and a few others that weren’t playing against Pittsburgh.

Will we seen even more of our favorite Cowboys in next week’s game against the Houston Texans? With this new three-game preseason format, which game will now be treated as the “dress rehearsal?”

What do you think?


Written by Jess Haynie

Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!


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  1. Rush looked better than Gilbert in my opinion what time I was awake! I still believe we better be investing in a veteran backup that has the ability to come in run an NFL offense! I realize that is easier said than done but I know there are some guys out there that have to be better than what we have!

  2. Good analysis Jess. Cox, Armstrong, Hardy, etc, all showed up well. Tough loss of Gallimore.

    CF Ed, it does not look like they are going to upgrade the QB2 position. Apparently they’re rolling with one or two out of that trio. At this point in time, not much out there anyway, outside of maybe B Bortles.

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