The Dallas Cowboys offense was in shambles in their first game without Dak Prescott at the helm, succumbing to Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals 38-10. Ezekiel Elliott fumbled twice on the night, contributing to the Cowboys’ four total turnovers that the Cardinals converted into three touchdowns and one field goal.
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Story of the Game
As the saying goes, “you don’t know what you have until it's gone.” Many believed Andy Dalton would come in for the injured Prescott and at the very least look like a competent backup. Well, in his first contest as the starter, he struggled to meet those standards. He completed 63% of his passes for 266 yards at just 4.9 yards per attempt. He threw two interceptions and couldn't maintain offensive drives.
The interior of the offensive line did their part even with Zack Martin leaving due to a concussion early in the first half, allowing a combined two pressures and creating running lanes for their backs to hit. Their tackles were a different story, as undrafted rookie right tackle Terence Steele and second-year undrafted left tackle Brandon Knight allowed four pressures while being beaten by their defenders on many more occasions.
Elliott did not help matters, carrying the rock 12 times for 49 yards, zero touchdowns and one fumble. He also reeled in eight receptions but only gained 31 yards while fumbling the ball once more.
Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb still put up decent numbers with the Cowboys throwing the ball 54 times. Cooper caught seven passes for 79 yards and the team’s lone touchdown while Lamb hauled in his own seven receptions for 64 yards and four first downs.
Budda Baker had a career night for the Cardinals, recording a team-high three QB pressures, one sack, one forced fumble and one stellar interception, his first in the NFL.
Murray was unable to find a rhythm throwing the football, completing just nine of 24 passes, but he turned those nine completions into 188 yards and two scores. He was electric as ever on the ground, picking up 74 yards, five first downs and one touchdown on his 10 carries.
Kenyan Drake finally popped off, rumbling over defenders for 164 yards and two touchdowns, albeit one came on a 69-yard scamper into the end zone in garbage time. DeAndre Hopkins reeled in just two of his seven targets but took them for 73 yards, 55 of which came after the catch.
Dallas had two rookies starting on their offensive line. Fourth-round center Tyler Biadasz fared much better than Steele, allowing zero pressures up the middle, though he was called on one holding penalty. Cornerback Trevon Diggs looked better in his sixth game as a pro after having a rough start to his career, allowing two receptions on six targets and forcing one incompletion. Both did go for first downs and one was Hopkins’ 60-yard catch and run downfield.
The Cardinals finished the night with only two rookies having over 15 snaps. Fourth-round defensive tackle Leki Fotu saw 34 snaps but generated just one QB pressure to show for it. First-round linebacker Isaiah Simmons had 18 snaps and was targeted twice in coverage, allowing just one to be caught for six yards while forcing an incompletion on the other.
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