GLENDALE, Ariz. – Here are some plays that might not be remembered, but were significant to the final score.
One play not on this list was a flag on Devin Harper that wiped out a long punt return by KaVontae Turpin, only because the offense was able to get down to the same spot on the field moments later. That was one of the few penalties that didn't seem to hurt the Cowboys too much.
False start on Steele – Setting the tone is important, especially in a game where one team is heavily favored over the other. On the first series of the game for the Cowboys, right tackle Terence Steele had a false start penalty that pushed them back from third-and-4 to third-and-9. Dallas didn't convert the play and it ignited a fire in the Arizona defense that bothered the Cowboys all day. It also set the tone for a penalty-fest against the Cowboys, who were flagged 13 times.
Defensive holding on Jourdan Lewis – With the Cardinals leading 9-3 and the Cowboys trying to take back the momentum, Arizona had third-and-11 near midfield. Dallas had an offside penalty but also a holding call on Jourdan Lewis that gave them an automatic first down. From there, the Cardinals scored on a long touchdown run by Rondale Moore to build a 15-3 lead.
CeeDee offensive P.I. – With the Cowboys trailing 18-10 late in the first half, they had plenty of time to get down the field and grab some points. But on an apparent first-down catch by CeeDee Lamb, he was called for offensive pass interference. That not only wiped out positive yards, but set the Cowboys back and forced a punt. It also allowed the Cardinals to have enough time to kick a 62-yard field goal. That penalty was a six-point difference.
Decision to pass up FG attempt – Down by eight points late in the third quarter, you can't fault the Cowboys for trying to score a touchdown and possibly tie the game. But on fourth-and-3 from the 4-yard line, the Cowboys tried for a pass and it fell incomplete. The Cardinals were able to get out of their own end zone without being affected by the poor field position. So kicking the field goal there would've changed the way the fourth quarter was played.
Cowboys' first-down goal-line runs – Too many times in the second half the Cowboys got down in the red zone and had to settle for field goals or even missed on a fourth-down pass attempt. But the plays that hurt them the most were on first down. They had four first-down runs inside the 11 and got 2, 3, 2 and minus-2 yards on those plays. None of those drives led to a touchdown and only two ended with field goals. The lack of three starting linemen probably hurt, but also they couldn't get a consistent push down by the goal line.
P.I. picked up on pass to Gallup – The Cowboys were running out of time but it wasn't in panic-mode just yet, especially if they had kept a pass interference call that was thrown in the end zone on a pass to Michael Gallup. But after a discussion with the officials and probably New York replay officials, they decided to pick up the flag. The Cowboys eventually turned it over on an interception that ultimately decided the game.