- The Cowboys executed an excellent game plan on both sides of the ball. Offensively, they committed to running the ball with RB Ezekiel Elliott, and stayed patient even after some early stuffs. This allowed the Cowboys to run some hard play action, and they did so successfully on the play of the game, a 48 yard play pass to WR Brice Butler, after the Cardinals had closed to 21-17. That offensive play call by the Cowboys was aggressive and creative for that situation in the game, when they were backed up and just yielded a FG to the Cardinals. The Cowboys also did a good job of mixing in a couple of effective zone read plays for QB Prescott, one of which resulted in a TD. However, calling these kinds of plays carries injury risk for Prescott, and the Cowboys do not have an experienced backup QB. We’ll see how liberal they are with this particular play call as the season progresses.
- Defensively, the Cowboys made a key adjustment after some early success throwing the ball by Cardinals QB Carson Palmer. The Cowboys adjusted to a 3 man rush, and that made the difference as Palmer had to hold on to the ball a bit longer, and some of the 3 man rushes got home.
- The Cowboys also utilized their entire roster well all night long. On defense, their secondary has been a bit banged up, but they got key contributions from second line players, and on offense, all the tight ends played as the Cowboys went into heavy run packages.
- The Cardinals miss their star RB David Johnson. They never really committed to running the ball in this game with any conviction, and after a period of time, Cowboys rushers were able to tee off on QB Palmer. After the Cowboys adjusted to a 3 man rush, the Cardinals never changed it up, and QB Palmer was hit repeatedly.
- Both of these teams struggled with some clock management. In a close game, both teams were out of time outs with 3:52 left in the 4th quarter, which is an uncommon occurrence.