Cowboys vs. Cardinals score: Dallas falls late and loses some key players to injury

It was mostly another low-scoring preseason affair that didn't initially seem all that interesting, but became quite intriguing as the quarters rolled along in a game that saw the Arizona Cardinals hold off the Dallas Cowboys 19-16. It was a night to forget on the health front for the Cowboys, seeing as they lost a total of five (!!) players to injury on the night. It began when starting defensive tackle Neville Gallimore suffered a a reported hyperextended elbow, followed by backup tight end Sean McKeon being carted to the locker room with an ankle ailment, both followed by injuries to receiver Malik Turner (foot), linebacker Anthony Hines (shoulder) and offensive tackle Ty Nsekhe (knee).

That aside, there were tidbits of good to be enjoyed from both teams (and of course the preseason uglies showed their head as well), with Christian Kirk adding some electricity to the contest on a deep catch in the first quarter and, not to be outdone, Cedrick Wilson did the same for the Cowboys -- the latter leading to the first of two field goals for Dallas. One thing the Cowboys could at least appreciate was the fact their defense is flying around, and it was the offense that needed to figure out how to match serve with them for once. It was third-string quarterback Ben DiNucci scoring their first preseason touchdown, and giving the Cowboys a three-point lead in the process after seeing them trail for most of the game. 

Overall, it wasn't a pretty outing by DiNucci, but he did just enough to buy himself more time in the backup battle against Garrett Gilbert and Cooper Rush. And speaking of backup QBs, Colt McCoy again proved he has value in the NFL, and that has to make the Cardinals feel good. 

Well, that and eking out a win.

Why the Cardinals won

It was an inability to keep a struggling DiNucci out of the end zone that lost them the lead in the fourth quarter, but they at least kept it interesting with Kliff Kingsbury decided to kick a field goal and tie the ball game at 16-16, knowing there is no overtime in the preseason. Attempting to settle for a tie shouldn't have been on the platter for Arizona, though, because McCoy played well and running back Eno Benjamin joined him in impressing the football gods, with Benjamin delivering 50 yards on only five carries as he tries to make a name for himself on the Cardinals depth chart. In the end, however, it was a mostly solid defense wavering that nearly cost them the game, but a struggling Cowboys offense (and then defense) allowed the Cardinals to get just close enough for a game-winning 47-yard boot by kicker Matt Prater.

Why the Cowboys lost

There was definitely some perseverance present for Dallas, having trailed for more than three quarters before the aforementioned touchdown from DiNucci. It took three quarterbacks and more than seven quarters to do it, but it almost gave the Cowboys a comeback victory on the road. It wasn't a game filled with highlights by the Cowboys, but with a big play here and there, they got the job done -- helped defensively by a fantastic two-sack effort from veteran pass rusher Dorance Armstrong and a six-tackle outing from rookie fourth-round pick Jabril Cox. It's too bad the dark side of DiNucci again showed its face in the waning minutes of the game, which wound up giving the Cardinals one more possession, and that's all they needed.

Turning point

Daryl Worley made up for getting burned by Wilson by punching this ball away. It led to both a recovery for the Cardinals and a touchdown on the subsequent drive -- the first of the game. It kept the Cowboys pressed against the wall for much of the game.

Play of the Game

Considering the Cowboys can't yet buy a touchdown in the preseason, there can only be one that deserves this nod. 

Harsh, but fair

"Ben DiNucci needs to stick to his day job. I don't know what that is, but it isn't the NFL. Not. For. Long." -- Charean Williams of Pro Football Talk

What's next

The Cowboys will head home to take on the Houston Texans next week while the Cardinals ready to play host to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Catch all the highlights and action from you might've missed in the live blog below.

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Annnndddd another one: Cowboys wideout Malik Turner -- who's impressed in camp -- leaves with an apparent ankle injury. He walked to the sideline with trainers under his own power, and that's at least a good sign.

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And another one: Cowboys UDFA LB Anthony Hines was just carted into the locker room. His injury is unclear at the moment. It's officially Friday the 13th for Dallas.

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Another one: Cowboys backup tackle Ty Nsekhe left and won't return (knee). That's three for Dallas in the first half -- Nsekhe exiting before the half.

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Another chunky play for the Cardinals in this game. The points don't truly reflect it, but they've torn off several big plays in this game.

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Cardinals take advantage of the forced fumble by Daryl Worley on running back Rico Dowdle. Worley makes up big for the play allowed to Cedrick Wilson. Cardinals take a 10-3 lead.

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Sean McKeon got his ankle rolled up on during that tackle. He's being helped off the field now. A talent to watch at TE in camp and preseason. Like Gallimore, he'll now be evaluated as well for possible injury. McKeon was helped to a cart and is heading into the locker room.

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Garrett Gilbert has made some errors, but he's also made some throws that matter -- like the 34-yard dot to Cedrick Wilson on that drive. And what focus by Wilson to reel that in over Daryl Worley. The Cowboys are disrespectfully deep at WR.

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Neville Gallimore (arm, elbow) has been ruled out by the Cowboys and will continue being evaluated for injury.

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Neville Gallimore, the Cowboys talented second-year interior defensive lineman, is down in and noticeable pain. The hope is it isn't serious considering he came on strong as a rookie, had a great offseason and is in line to potentially start at 3-tech.

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Connor Williams is currently a mess of a center. The Cowboys are trying to see what they have in him as a potential backup center in a pinch, but that experiment looks awful thus far.

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That was definitely a brain fart on the opening drive by Garrett Gilbert to not look at the play clock, resulting in a delay of game, followed by another that he escaped an INT on. If you decide to make that throw, you better MAKE that throw. Doesn't look at poised early in this game as he was in the HOF Game. He'll get more reps to try and clean himself up.

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The Cowboys will sit the following against the Cardinals:

  • Dak Prescott
  • Tyron Smith
  • Zack Martin
  • Amari Cooper
  • Dalton Schultz
  • Randy Gregory 
  • DeMarcus Lawrence
  • Ezekiel Elliott

CeeDee Lamb will make his 2021 preseason debut tonight in Glendale.

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