Its' All Arizona

"Right now, it is all Arizona!'' It was a dramatic declaration by Fox play-by-play man Dick Stockton, and admittedly, it came at an exciting time in the game, at an imperfect moment for the Cowboys, and at a stand-on-your-feet period for the many fans (of both teams) assembled Sunday in the desert.

Right now, it is all Arizona!

Yeah, but, um, Stockton issued that declaration 15 seconds into the game. So "right now'' wasn't supposed to last forever. Right?

Dallas' crushingly sloppy 30-24 OT road loss to the temporarily-contending Cardinals was eventfully flawed in many ways. Most specifically – but not all necessarily due to his fault – almost everything previously golden kicker Nick Folk touched with his foot turned to mold. The Cowboys sustained a penalty on an extra-point try, accidentally looped a kickoff out of bounds, missed a first-half-ending field goal and were generally a special-teams disaster.

Once again this week, I was prepared to preach the "win-is-a-win'' sermon. This is an exhausting way for a fan (and maybe for a team) to collect victories. But there is was, improbably, at their fingertips … and toetips. … because Folk capped a typically bizarre sequence by nailing a 52-yarder to sent the game to a fifth period.

Surely this would work out, right? Dallas was down a TD and an FG but caught and made break after break, including MB3's dazzling 70-yard catch-and-run, to score the requisite 10 points in under two minutes.

Dallas had the better team. (I think.) Dallas had the momentum. (I know.)

And then the special-teams unit was asked to execute a routine punt. Mat McBriar and Co. lined up in their own territory, and needed to root the thing out of there so the defense and then the offense could take their respective shots.

Instead, the punt team collapsed under the weight of confusion. Some Cardinal named Sean Morey flooded in on McBriar and stuffed the punt (and the punter; McBriar might be hurt). Some other Cardinal named Monty Beisel recovered the loose ball and tumbled into the end zone for the game-winner. it up and walked three yards into the end zone for the Cardinals' win.

I cannot be prepared to excuse that away. Because after all the foolishness, it borders on inexcusable.

Of course, that doesn't preclude the Cowboys from trying to make ‘em.

Said owner Jerry Jones, trying to remain positive about a team that is, after all, 4-2: "I didn't think we'd be sitting here (and be) 6-0. I really wouldn't have thought that back in training camp. Not in our division. Not coming out here with a much-improved Cardinals team. We said this in training camp: '(The media) would be about setting expectations. We'd just get out here and see what we do.'''

I admit it. I'm guilty. I – as a member of the media – had expectations. I expected the Cowboys to not fumble four times. I expected the Cowboys to get punts off. I expected the Cowboys to block, run, tackle. … you know, all that stuff. I did. I expected it.

The Cowboys' run on flawed performance began at the beginning, when J.J. Arrington opened the game with a 93-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. In addition to Folk's unlucky-charm presence on a handful of other Dallas gaffes, this zany afternoon included: Tony Romo once again seeming far too willing to throw off his back foot, a formation penalty when Dallas tried to use MB3 and Felix together in the backfield, four Keystone Kops-like fumbles, an otherworldly 11 possessions in the first quarter, Martellus Bennett dropping a probable TD pass, Pacman Jones' inability to bodyguard Larry Fitzgerald, Anthony Henry's inability to do the same to Steve Breaston, offensive-line play that turned Romo punchy, 17 straight Arizona points, an encroachment flag against an injured Cardinal, a Tuck Rule call that stalled Dallas' embrassment, and the inane decision of blocker Leonard Davis to participate in a post-MB3-scoring celebration that greatly affected field position.

"Maybe,'' said Patrick Crayton, "we need our asses chewed out or something.''

Really? The first play of the game isn't a wake-up call, a good time to pay attention?

The last play of the game isn't a wake-up call, a good time to pay attention?

Wade Phillips needs to yell at people so they don't give up special-teams touchdowns at the start and finish of games, and in unprecedented ways?

Just as the game's first play was history in the making (Dallas had never before allowed an opening kickoff for a score), the last play bookended it. This the first time in NFL history that a blocked punt for a touchdown ended a game in overtime.

You want positives? The Cowboys are not yet too far behind the class of the NFC. Rookie running back Tashard Lewis recovered two loose balls on special teams. Pacman's not suspended yet. As of this writing, Terrell Owens chooses life.

And that's about it. Because right now, it is all Arizona.

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