ARLINGTON, Texas - Tony Romo's back injury was just severe enough to be held out of the game against Arizona, forcing Brandon Weeden to make his first start with the Cowboys … and it wasn't a good one. The veteran quarterback struggled mightily, leaving the offense highly predictable. Rod Marinelli had his defense up to the challenge, but it simply wasn't enough as the Cowboys fall to the Cardinals 28-17 at AT&T Stadium.
Tony Romo obviously needs to get healthy. The defense did enough to win but you have to score points in the NFL. Rookie cornerback Tyler Patmon scored the only touchdown of the day for the Cowboys and it came on an interception returned 58 yards for the score. Who knows if sitting Romo this game was the right call and there might have been a thought of leaving him in Dallas while the rest of the team goes to London, although both Jerry Jones and Romo said the quarterback is making the team. Point is he needs to be 100 percent healthy for what looks to be a tough stretch run, but the team certainly missed him in this game.
Midway through the fourth quarter with Arizona leading 14-10, the Cowboys had a 4th & 1 on Arizona's 34-yard line. DeMarco Murray gets stuffed and the Cardinals get the ball back on downs and march right down the field to score a touchdown, putting the game on ice. Another big moment was the blocked field goal just before halftime and an interception by Weeden in the third quarter. If the Cowboys score on at least one of those opportunities, maybe they don't need to go for the first down there and can settle for a field goal.
Let's look at first downs. Arizona controlled the game by keeping the chains moving, racking up 22 first downs to the Cowboys 18. The disparity was even larger until that final drive where Dallas picked up seven. This is the second week in a row it's been a role reversal on a winning formula.
Cardinals running back Andre Ellington was a difference-maker. The guy did just about everything for the Cardinals. 95 rushing yards on 19 carries, 39 receiving yards and a touchdown on four catches. Nothing spectacular about this Arizona offense, but they execute.
Don't Forget About...
That eight game streak of 100+ rushing yards for DeMarco Murray because it came to an end against the Cardinals, the third best against the run this year. As usual Murray fought, but this wasn't his day. Murray finished with 79 yards on 19 carries. Don't be surprised if he starts a new streak next week in London against the Jaguars.