After LaRod Stephens-Howling did his primal scream after his touchdown and then was mobbed by his teammates – and it was a serious mob – linebacker O’Brien Schofield grabbed The Hyphen and tossed him over his shoulder like he was his little brother.
He carried him “probably, like, 15 yards,” Schofield said. “I was so happy. It was one of those moments where you gotta pick him up. He put the team on his back on that play.”
What exactly are the odds of two straight home games ending in a Cardinals’ 19-13 overtime win? Astronomical, obviously. Suddenly, a .500 record – remember, one goal at a time – is reasonable, with the Cards back to 5-7. This team was 1-6 and Kolb had just gotten injured. That seems like a long time ago.
The difference has been the defense. “You don’t see guys laying around talking about, ‘Woulda, shoulda,’ ” defensive tackle Darnell Dockett said, and while that’s a good sign, a better sign is simply how you see the Cards playing. They are getting more pressure because they can handle coverage when they blitz and they are simply making more plays. Patrick Peterson flashed against Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant – after missing a tackle on his very first chance of the game – and Tony Romo never got in a rhythm. Dallas’ running game certainly never did.
That was good enough until Kevin Kolb and the offense came around, and then the Cards got a little luck with the late missed field goal.
– Kolb’s return looked very shaky when he started. The one that stuck out was his third-down pass to tight end Rob Housler right before the Cards’ first field goal. Housler was wide-open, and Kolb’s pass went diving into the turf as he looked like he aimed it instead of throwing it.
“It’s just disappointment,” Kolb said. “I got caught in between trying to take off and trying to make the throw. Wow, what a bad play. Thank God we came back and won it.”
– Kolb might have had a comeback in regulation. He made a fantastic laser throw against his body on third down that picked up a first down with three minutes left in the fourth quarter – except Early Doucet dropped the pass. Sure, the drive could have stalled right away, but the Cowboys may not have had a chance to drive for a field goal. I didn’t get a chance to talk to Doucet, but I’d guess he was very, very happy with the way it turned out.
– No Peterson punt return fun today. Cowboys punter Mat McBriar is one of the best directional punters in the game, and he killed it on this day. Of his five punts, Peterson field just one that he tried to return, and that was so tight up against the sideline that Peterson grabbed it and basically fell out of bounds for a one-yard play.
“I knew that was going to happen,” Peterson said. “They didn’t want me to attempt to break the record in my backyard. That’s what four touchdowns come with – pinning me out of bounds, giving me a coffin kick, and not giving me an opportunity.”
– Everyone wanted to know why the Cards wanted Dave Zastudil to be the punter. Today was why. He had some booming kicks, averaged better than 50 yards a punt, and rescued the Cards from some very poor field position.
– When the Cards were struggling on offense, Dockett was asked, what was the defense thinking? Dock pondered it for a moment. “We got a running style-team,” Dockett said. “I don’t know how y’all look at it, but me, we’ve got some bulldogs up front. Run the ball. It wears them down. So me, I was just like, ‘Give it to 2-6.’ ”
Beanie Wells wasn’t great but he was good. He had 67 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries. In the end, the Cards ran it 25 times and threw it 25 times. Even if you count two of Kolb’s three rushes as passes that turned to scrambles, it was still 23-27. Pretty balanced.
– When the Cards played the 49ers, nearly-automatic kicker David Akers missed more field goals that day (three) than he had all season in 25 previous attempts (two). Cowboys kicker Dan Bailey had made 26 straight field goals coming into Sunday, before missing two of his four tries.
– Here’s your walk-off quote for a Cowboys game. Kolb, when he was asked if beating the Cowboys meant more to him since he is a Texas native: “Before today, that would be a no, but after today, absolutely. All my friends probably had Dallas jerseys on. They’re die-hard, so I’ll be happy to slap them in the face whenever I see them.”
I promise, The Hyphen is somewhere under that pile of teammates.
Tags: Cowboys, Darnell Dockett, Dave Zastudil, Kevin Kolb, LaRod Stephens-Howling, O'Brien Schofield, Patrick Peterson
Posted in Blog | 72 Comments »