ARLINGTON, Texas — The NFL playoffs haven’t begun yet, but it sure feels like they have in watching the Dallas Cowboys host the Arizona Cardinals at AT&T Stadium. The former is 11-4 and looking to hold onto the No. 2 seed after seeing both the Los Angeles Rams and Tampa Bay Buccaneers escape upsets, and they’re trying to sidestep one of their own — as the Cardinals look to right their ship to start January. The first quarter was far from a barnburner as both defenses made their presence felt, but the Cowboys are doing more damage to themselves than their opponent.
Their first two offense drives were stalled by a holding penalty and false start on Tyron Smith (who returns this week from an ankle injury that caused him to missed the past few games) and center Tyler Biadasz, respectfully. They could only muster a field goal attempt, but kick Greg Zuerlein went wide left on a 43-yard try to keep it a three-point game in favor of Arizona.
And things didn’t get much better for the Cowboys to start the second quarter, with Budda Baker taking down Dak Prescott on third-and-11 to end Dallas’ third drive with no points, while Kyler Murray also feels the heat from a defense led by Micah Parsons and Co., which should make for a very interesting second half for both clubs. Murray was able to draw first blood as far as touchdowns go, aided by penalties against the Cowboys (see aforementioned self-inflicted wounds for more).
But to keep things interesting, Prescott found Michael Gallup for a 21-yard touchdown, as both offenses begin to slowly wake up as the game rolls along. Gallup, however, left the game with a knee injury after the play and will not return — something that becomes a headline injury to watch in the days to come.
Glue yourself to your seat for the remainder of this bout, because there’s a lot on the line and a ton of football left to play.