Even behind a good offensive line and a more than capable running game, Brandon Weeden is an interception machine, and not someone who can help the Dallas Cowboys overcome the absence of Tony Romo. The Arizona Cardinals won again, 28-17, holding DeMarco Murray to less than 100 yards on the ground and continue to rely on a mostly efficient offense but also the best defense in the NFL.
The Cowboys actually took a 10-0 lead after a pick six off of Carson Palmer by Tyson Patmon and a 52-yard field goal by the excellent Dan Bailey. But that was where things got bad and slow for the Cowboys. The Cardinals are incredibly difficult to run against, with Murray being held to 72 yards on 19 runs. Maybe the Cowboys should have used him a bit more, the same question on everyone’s lips after losing to the Redskins at home a week before.
Brandon Weeden was a great college football quarterback. He was a nice twist as a very old rookie, but that’s where his usefulness ends. As a backup you can find worse options, but almost every other quarterback in the NFL is better suited to try and bring his team back from behind. Weeden forces passes like no one else, ending up with two interceptions. He looked good against the Redskins because of limited exposure. Playing a full game shows why he failed to help the Cleveland Browns rise from their usual rut.
So without Murray getting enough touches considering the quarterback and without the quarterback being good enough to cover for the one that’s missing due to his back falling apart at the seams, a big reason for the Cowboys to worry as they fall to 6-3 and everyone starts thinking about another 8-8 season, there wasn’t a whole lot stopping the Arizona Cardinals coming from behind and taking over the game quickly.
Carson Palmer threw three touchdown passes, spreading the love of 22 completions (out of 34) and 249 yards between eight different receivers. Marion Grice ran for one touchdown while Andre Ellington, John Carlson and Jaron Brown each caught a touchdown pass. Dan Williams, on the defensive side of the ball, did an excellent job with 7 tackles, one sack and two tackles for a loss. Tyrann Mathieu and Antonio Cromartie caught the two interceptions off of Weeden.
Out of all the teams, the Cardinals are in control of the toughest division in the NFL, the only team in the league with just one loss so far. The record might be about to be changed: They still have to play Seattle twice, San Francisco on the road and the Rams twice, not to mention the Lions and the Chiefs. Yet they’ve set themselves apart and in an excellent position to make the playoffs for the first time since the days of Kurt Warner tossing the ball around.
For the Cowboys, panic is suddenly starting to send it’s long tentacles and spread. Two consecutive losses at home, Tony Romo’s back getting the best of him and maybe a way to slow down Murray, not reaching 100 yards for the first time this season. After four years of not making the playoffs this season finally looked like the Cowboys’ way of breaking the streak of negativity, but the football gods work in mysterious ways.