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ARI 25, DAL 22: Cowboys Fall Short in Potential Playoff Preview

The didn't make the kind of statement they'd hoped for in their matchup with the . Struggles in all phases of the game, plus a critical fumble by , led to a 25-22 loss against Dallas' potential first-round opponent in the .

The loss dropped the Cowboys to 11-5 and to the fourth seed in the current playoff picture. If the playoffs started now, Dallas would host the fifth-seeded Cardinals again in the round.

After an ugly first half and a 13-7 deficit at the break, the Cowboys did pick it up enough to make things interesting down the stretch. But their early sins, mainly stalled drives and missed field goal by , proved too much to overcome.

Things started to swing Dallas' way late in the third quarter. After forcing Arizona backwards and into a punt from their own 5-yard-line, returned it 17 yards and gave the Cowboys great field position just 31 yards from pay dirt. Dallas capitalized with a touchdown throw to , narrowing the score to 22-14.

After reclaiming the ball from another Cardinals punt, Dak Prescott fumbled on a scramble and gave Arizona easy positioning for what would be the game-winning field goal. Even though Dallas came back again with another touchdown pass to and a successful two-point conversion, they couldn't get the ball back as the Cardinals held on for the win.

The box score was ultimately kind to Prescott; 226 passing yards and three touchdowns for a 105.8 . But in addition to his costly fumble, Dak only went 24-of-38 and had several errant and tipped balls that stymied the .

Perhaps underrated in this failure is Dallas' inability to find any semblance of a rushing attack. was stonewalled most of the day; only 19 yards on six carries. One big run got called back on a holding but otherwise neither he or could get it going.

It also wasn't a great day for the ballyhooed . Arizona was generally able to execute and we didn't get the turnovers or even multiple (just one by today) that have helped the Cowboys succeed in recent weeks.

The “glass half full” view of this game is that Dallas rallied and stayed competitive with another of the top NFC contenders. But their flatness in the first half was scary; a foreboding sign with the playoffs just two weeks away.

Jess Haynie
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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