Final/OT

Cowboys 24

(4-2, 2-1 away)

Cardinals 30

(4-2, 3-0 home)

Coverage: FOX

4:15 PM ET, October 12, 2008

U of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, AZ 

1 2 3 4 OT T
DAL 0 7 7 10 024
ARI 7 0 7 10 630

Top Performers

Passing: T. Romo (DAL) - 321 YDS, 3 TD

Rushing: M. Barber (DAL) - 17 CAR, 45 YDS

Receiving: M. Barber (DAL) - 11 REC, 128 YDS, 1 TD

Cowboys rally in fourth, but blocked punt gives Cards OT win

Associated Press

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Never before had an NFL team started a game with a kickoff return for a score, then ended it with a blocked punt in overtime for a touchdown.

It was that kind of crazy day in the desert.

J.J. Arrington, inactive the first four games of the season, opened things up with a 93-yard return for an Arizona score.

Fast Facts

• The Cardinals improved to 3-0 at home this season and 4-2 overall, which is their best start since doing so in 2002. They finished 5-11 that year.

• Kurt Warner's touchdown strike to Larry Fitzgerald in the third quarter extended his streak of consecutive games with a passing TD to 14. That ties for the third-longest in Arizona history.

• The Cowboys have now lost two of their last three games after starting the season 3-0.

• Tony Romo threw for 321 yards. That's his 14th career 300-yard passing game, which passes Troy Aikman for the most such games in Dallas history.

-- ESPN research

Several comebacks and many clutch plays later, Sean Morey blocked Mat McBriar's punt, then Monty Beisel scooped up the ball and scored from 3 yards to give the Cardinals a wild 30-24 victory over the Dallas Cowboys.

It was the first time in NFL history that a blocked punt for a touchdown ended a game in overtime.

"I can't remember one that was this crazy," Arizona quarterback Kurt Warner said, "especially toward the end."

Morey rushed untouched off the left side of the Dallas line to block the kick. Beisel, a backup linebacker, picked up the ball at about the 3 and bowled over the goal line.

Morey said that in previous punts, his assignment was to double-team Dallas' Kevin Burnett to set up the return. But this time, Burnett had been moved from tackle to guard.
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"They just had new personnel," Morey said, "so I figured if I have to block the tackle, and the tackle's not going to block me, then I'm just going to make a play at the end of the game."

McBriar was hurt on the play and had to be carted off the field in the din of a crowd that included the usual large portion of Dallas fans.

Dallas (4-2) scored 10 points in the final 2 minutes of regulation, sending the game into overtime when Nick Folk's 52-yard field goal barely cleared the crossbar as the fourth quarter ended.

"It was almost a miracle finish for us," Dallas coach Wade Phillips said.

Almost isn't good enough when you're the Cowboys, who thus far haven't been the dominating team many expected them to be.

"This season isn't going to go straight down this narrow path and be a nice and cozy Sunday drive," said Dallas quarterback Tony Romo, who suffered a sprained pinky finger on his right hand.

Folk was in field-goal range only because a 5-yard offside penalty was called against injured Arizona linebacker Travis LaBoy as he tried to limp downfield. The penalty moved the ball from the 40 to the 35.

That was just one of the weird moments in Arizona's sixth consecutive home victory.

"It didn't seem like the bounces or the calls were going our way and sometimes you have to overcome those things," said Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt, whose team is 9-2 at home since he became coach. "I think our team did that. That's part of growing up and getting mentally tougher."

Arizona (4-2) scored 17 consecutive points, including a pair of touchdown passes by Warner, to go up 24-14 on Neil Rackers' 41-yard field goal with 3:17 left in regulation.

Romo, who threw three touchdown passes but fumbled twice under fierce pressure, connected with Marion Barber on a 70-yard scoring play that cut it to 24-21 with 2 minutes left.

Dallas' defense held, and the Cowboys got the ball at their 32. Romo connected with Patrick Crayton on a 30-yard play to the Arizona 39, where the Dallas quarterback spiked the ball with 4 seconds to play to stop the clock.

LaBoy was far upfield.

"I think we were about 60 yards offsides on the play," Whisenhunt said.

Officials, who had a difficult day all around, huddled for several minutes and even reviewed the play before Folk's tying kick.

The Cowboys scored the last time they had the ball in the first half and on their first possession of the second to take a 14-7 lead.

Romo was sacked three times and had to hurry his throw on several other occasions.

"Today I got hit blindside for the first time in awhile," he said. "But they're good. Their D-line played an outstanding football game. You've got to give them credit. That was, I thought, the difference of the game."

Before the blocked punt, Arizona's biggest play of the game came the next time the Cardinals had the ball and it was third-and-17 on their 33.

Warner's pass was tipped at the line of scrimmage, but the intended receiver, rookie Tim Hightower, still caught it. Hightower powered to the first down, and the Cardinals went on for the tying score.

Larry Fitzgerald's leaping catch between defenders on a 30-yard play led to Warner's 11-yard touchdown pass to Steve Breaston that put Arizona ahead 21-14 with 10:44 left in regulation.

Game notes


The Cardinals' home winning streak is their longest since 1975-76. ... Phillips said the team had doubled its special teams practice time to try to shore up some problems. ... Dallas lost running back Felix Jones with an injured left hamstring in the first half. ... Folk's 37-yard field-goal try at the end of the first half bounced off the left upright.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
DAL
ARI
1st Downs1514
Passing 1st downs
1111
Rushing 1st downs
43
1st downs from penalties
00
3rd down efficiency
6-155-12
4th down efficiency
0-00-0
Total Plays6350
Total Yards374276
Yards per play5.95.5
Total Drives1415
Passing301226
Comp-Att
24-3822-30
Yards per pass
7.37.3
Interceptions thrown
01
Sacks-Yards Lost
3-201-10
Rushing7350
Rushing Attempts
2219
Yards per rush
3.32.6
Red Zone (Made-Att)1-22-3
Penalties12-9312-70
Turnovers13
Fumbles lost
12
Interceptions thrown
01
Defensive / Special Teams TDs02
Possession33:1527:45

Passing Leaders

DALC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Romo24/383218.4303-20
ARIC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Warner22/302367.9211-10

Rushing Leaders

DALCARYDSAVGTDLG
Barber17452.609
Jones3227.3014
ARICARYDSAVGTDLG
James9293.209
Hightower7202.907

Receiving Leaders

DALRECYDSAVGTDLG
Barber1112811.6170
Crayton38428.0155
ARIRECYDSAVGTDLG
Breaston810212.8123
Fitzgerald57915.8139

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERDALARI
ariTD15:00J.J. Arrington, 93 yd kickoff return (Neil Rackers kick is good)
Drive info: 1 plays, 93 yds, 0:00
07
SECOND QUARTERDALARI
dalTD1:10Patrick Crayton, 55 yd pass from Tony Romo (Nick Folk kick is good)
Drive info: 7 plays, 91 yds, 3:53
77
THIRD QUARTERDALARI
dalTD8:17Miles Austin, 14 yd pass from Tony Romo (Nick Folk kick is good)
Drive info: 12 plays, 77 yds, 6:49
147
ariTD3:26Larry Fitzgerald, 2 yd pass from Kurt Warner (Neil Rackers kick is good)
Drive info: 11 plays, 60 yds, 4:50
1414
FOURTH QUARTERDALARI
ariTD10:49Steve Breaston, 11 yd pass from Kurt Warner (Neil Rackers kick is good)
Drive info: 8 plays, 89 yds, 4:58
1421
ariFG3:21Neil Rackers 41 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 9 plays, 43 yds, 4:58
1424
dalTD2:17Marion Barber, 70 yd pass from Tony Romo (Nick Folk kick is good)
Drive info: 4 plays, 77 yds, 1:17
2124
dalFG0:04Nick Folk 52 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 5 plays, 34 yds, 0:50
2424
OVERTIMEDALARI
ariTD14:05Monty Beisel, 3 yd blocked punt return
Drive info: 3 plays, -7 yds, 1:00
2430