Cowboys Vs. Cardinals: Arizona Wins Wild Game In Desert, 27-26

The Dallas Cowboys and Arizona Cardinals have been two of the NFL's biggest disappointments this year, but they will look to close their seasons on a high note in a Christmas night game on NFL Network.

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Cowboys Vs. Cardinals: Arizona Wins After Weird Fourth Quarter Features Penalty Flag In Facemask, Dueling No-Name Quarterbacks

In the fourth quarter of the Christmas Day game between the Cowboys and the Cardinals, there was a penalty flag thrown in Dallas quarterback Stephen McGee's facemask. It might have been the third-weirdest thing to happen in the period.

After that facemask flag, McGee recovered to throw a go-ahead touchdown pass to Miles Austin with under two minutes left to put the Cowboys up 26-24. It was the second-year quarterback from Texas A&M's first career NFL touchdown pass, and came on a great throw that went through a defender's hands.

But then Cowboys kicker David Buehler missed the extra point that would have made it a 27-24, leaving the back door open for ... John Skelton?

The Fordham product had a chance to come back and win the game for the Cardinals. He did, somehow, converting a fourth and 15 and finding Max Komar over the middle to set up a game-winning Jay Feely field goal.

Except! There was an illegal formation penalty on the Cardinals that made Feely's try to put the Cardinals up 27-26 a 48-yarder, which momentarily added drama to the kick ... until Feely put it through with five seconds left.

But! The Cardinals were flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct after the kick, forcing Feely to kick off from the Arizona 15 ... which he did, brilliantly, putting the ball down near the sideline deep in Dallas territory — and then that ball bounced close to the sideline and toward the end zone without either going out of bounds or for a touchback. Subtle, sure, but that kick sealed the game after Feely won it, and ranks as one of the most improbably great kickoffs anyone will ever see.

Arizona won this game, 27-26, on the strength of clutch play from the first Fordham quarterback the NFL has ever seen and two interceptions returned for touchdowns in the first quarter. Dallas lost this game, 27-26, despite gutty efforts from its third-string quarterback, who had a penalty flag chucked through his facemask and threw his first NFL touchdown pass through a defender's hands on the same drive.

Nothing was at stake in this game, which involved two teams eliminated from playoff contention. But the end of it was improbably fun.

Football's weird. Sports are great. Merry Christmas.


Cowboys Vs. Cardinals: Dallas Storms Back In Third Quarter Behind Marion Barber

Don't tell the Cowboys this game doesn't matter!

Dallas scored 10 points in the third quarter, and cut Arizona's lead to 21-20.

"This is a heavyweight fight," Joe Theismann said of the game, between two teams that cannot make the playoffs. That's not accurate, and neither was Theismann's assessment of the unsportsmanlike conduct penalty Marion Barber was flagged for. The NFL Network announcer called Barber taking his helmet off after a 24-yard touchdown run "rinky-dink"; Barber's helmet removal was no more dramatic than any other player's removal, but it happened to happen on the field rather than on the sideline. The NFL sometimes deserves its No Fun League epithet.

In fantasy news, anyone with Larry Fitzgerald might be getting a bit antsy. The supremely talented wide receiver has been kept off the stat sheet, with no catches so far. Fitzgerald's only finished one game in his career with zero catches — and that was in 2004 against Buffalo.


Cowboys Vs Cardinals: Teams Trade Scores In Second Quarter

If you have any of the players in tonight's Cardinals-Cowboys game and are still vying for a fantasy championship, you're probably in a really, really bad fantasy league. But Andre Roberts is just the latest unknown name to come up big in 2010.

Roberts has three catches for 86 yards and hauled in a 74-yard touchdown pass from rookie starter John Skelton, helping the Cardinals to a 21-10 halftime lead.

It was also a lead that looked like it might be insurmountable when Jon Kitna headed to the locker room with an unknown injury. Kitna has since emerged from the locker room and was throwing on the sideline, but Dallas turned to Stephen McGee late in the second quarter. McGee did not throw a pass in his limited action.

The Cowboys' lone touchdown in the game so far came on a Kitna pass to Jason Witten. Witten has been a bright spot for the Cowboys under Jason Garrett, and has four catches for 28 yards and that touchdown tonight.


Cowboys Vs. Cardinals: Jon Kitna Handing Out Christmas Presents, Cardinals Defense Returning Them

Jon Kitna gave the Arizona defense a couple of presents early in tonight's Christmas Day NFL action. The Cardinals defense wasted no time returning them.

Kitna threw interceptions to Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Gregory Toler in the first quarter in Glendale, and both were returned for touchdowns, giving the Cardinals a 14-0 lead. That will help the Cardinals, who are 4-10 and starting rookie quarterback John Skelton, try to score a rare win in the 2010 season.

It's also just another poor start for the Cowboys, who came into this game averaging 1.9 turnovers per contest. Kitna, who was inserted as Dallas' starter at midseason after a season-ending injury for Tony Romo, has 12 interceptions on the year.

On the bright side, it was a bit more excitement than fans could have reasonably expected this game to produce. Neither team can make the playoffs, so there's little more than pride — and, likely, contract incentives — on the line in this one.


Cowboys Vs. Cardinals: Improved Dallas Travels To Desert To Take On Struggling Arizona

When the 2010 NFL season began, this Christmas night matchup between the Dallas Cowboys and Arizona Cardinals was projected to be a key late-season showdown between two playoff teams. Both teams made the playoffs in 2009, and were expected to return this season. 

Instead, though, both teams have disappointed, giving this Christmas night matchup on NFL Network at 7:30 at different character. The Cowboys are just 5-9 after a woeful start, while the Cardinals have floundered recently and are just 4-10. Dallas has played much better since Jason Garrett took over for Wade Phillips after a 1-7 start. They are 4-2 since then, with the two losses coming by three points to the New Orleans Saints and Philadelphia Eagles. They are coming off a 33-30 win over the Washington Redskins last week.

Arizona is coming off a 19-12 loss to lowly Carolina, which is especially disappointing because they had a 43-13 blowout win over Denver the week before. Arizona has dropped eight of nine since a 3-2 start, and the loss to Carolina was a new low.

Rookie quarterback John Skelton will make his third straight start despite an unimpressive performance in Carolina. Tony Romo was originally projected to return to the lineup for the Cowboys, but instead, Jon Kitna will start. The Cowboys placed Romo on injured reserve on Tuesday.

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