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Special Win: Kickoff Return and Blocked Punt Equal Cards Win over Cowboys

If anyone says that special teams are a part of the game that is not important, for sure didn’t watch Sunday’s thriller between the Cards and the Cowboys. Helped out by a kickoff return to start the game for a score, and then a blocked punt for a score in overtime that clinched the win, the Cards moved to 4-2 with a 30-24 victory over the Cowboys.

The blocked punt took place after the Cardinals defense held the Cowboys to minus seven yards on their first OT drive. Pressure on Cowboys QB Tony Romo resulted in a sack on first down, then two incomplete passes set up a 4th-and-17 from the 15. Coming with pressure up the middle, the punt was blocked clean by Sean Morley, and then picked up and walked in by Monty Beisel for the game-winner.

The Cards did give up 10 points in the final two minutes of the 4th quarter to tie the game at 24. Missed tackles on Marion Barber turned what should have been a short pass into a 70-yard score that made it 24-21 with exactly two minutes left. Then after a Cardinals three-and-out, the Cowboys got one big pass play that set up Nick Folk for a 52-yard field goal at the buzzer that sent the game to OT.

Arizona’s defense did a number on Romo most of the day. He was forced to escape pressure most of the day, and by the end was sacked three times for minus 20 yards. He did complete 24-for-39 passes for 321 yards and three TD’s. The Cowboys did put up 374 yards, but the Arizona D did enough to hold them to two TD’s before the last two minutes of regulation.

Kurt Warner led an offense that was able to move the ball when they needed to. He threw for 236 yards with two TD’s and one pick. Warner used the combo of Steve Breaston and Larry Fitzgerald for 13 catches for 179 yards and two scores. The 11-yard TD catch by Breston was his first as a pro. Fitzgerald caught a nifty two-yard score late in the third quarter that tied the game at 14.

The running game did little for the Cards, as they ran for just 50 yards on 19 carries, a 2.6 yards per carry average. In the end though, it was that big kick return of 93 yards by J.J. Arrington to start the game and the blocked punt that turned into the game-winning TD that made all the difference.

Atop the NFC West, the Cards are on the bye next week, and return to action on 10/26 at Carolina vs the Panthers.

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