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Minnesota stars compete in Cardinals win

By: Larry Fitzgerald
Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder
Originally posted 10/15/2008

GLENDALE, ARIZONA — Last year, America’s team, the Dallas Cowboys, finished 13-3 and lost a home playoff game to the eventual Super Bowl Champion New York Giants. The expectation for the 2008 Cowboys, with 13 Pro Bowl players, was to win it all.

 In last Sunday’s game, Marion Barber scored on a spectacular 70-yard catch and run as the Cowboys rallied to tie the Arizona Cardinals and force overtime. Barber, a former Minnesota high school and University of Minnesota star, did all he could with 11 receptions for 128 yards and 17 rushes for 45 yards.

 But the Arizona Cardinals, with stars like Larry Fitzgerald, Jr. — like Barber, born and raised in Minneapolis before going on to the University of Pittsburgh — refused to be denied, winning 30-24 in a overtime thriller.

 For the Cardinals, it’s been a steady progression of washing away a culture of losing. Chris Collinsworth of NBC Sports’ Inside the NFL on Showtime said, “The Cardinals over the years are kinda like the Washington Generals.”

 Sunday’s stunning performance is going to go a long way towards establishing that these are not the same old Cardinals. The Cardinals made history Sunday the way they beat the Cowboys, scoring on the game’s opening kickoff with a 93-yard touchdown return by J..J. Arrington, who has been on the team’s inactive list the first four games, and by blocking a punt in overtime to win the game.  

Fitzgerald’s road roommate Sean Morey blocked Cowboys punter Mat McBriar’s punt; then Monty Beisel picked up the loose ball and ran three yards for the game-winning touchdown. It’s the first time in NFL history that an NFL game started with a kickoff touchdown and ended on a blocked punt for a touchdown.

 The win was the Cardinals’ second straight; they lead the NFC West with a 4-2 record and are 3-0 at home. This is the team’s best start since 2002, and the three-game home winning streak, combined with three in a row to end last season, is the team’s longest since 1975-76.

 The high-flying Cardinals, with quarterback Kurt Warner throwing two touchdown passes and completing 22-30 for 236 yards, are putting up a lot of points. Warner has thrown at least one touchdown pass in 14 straight games, and the Cardinals have scored at least 30 points in four games. In six games, the Cardinals have scored 177 points to lead all NFL teams.

 But it was the team’s defense that contained Barber and put pressure on Tony Romo all day. Romo threw for 321 yards and three touchdowns, but he was sacked three times and had to hurry his throws all day.

 The game officials had a rough game. Darnell Dockett sacked Romo and punched the ball loose, and the Cardinals recovered. However, the Cowboys maintained possession because the officials blew the whistle before the ball was recovered, taking away a turnover.

 Another sack was reversed after what appeared to be a sack and forced fumble in the end zone on Romo for a Cardinals touchdown. Dockett appeared to sack Romo in the end zone; the officials reversed the call and wiped out a Cardinals touchdown on a Cowboys challenge, calling it a tuck.

 “It appeared at times that the officials were trying to take the game away from us,” said Fitzgerald, who scored a touchdown that was reversed when the officials said his right foot was out of bounds. The Cardinals’ Warner went right back to Fitzgerald for a two-yard touchdown when he beat Pacman Jones.

 Fitzgerald had five catches for 79 yards and a touchdown. Terrell Owens of Dallas had four for 46 yards

 The Cowboys in the finals second were awarded five yards on an offside penalty after an injured Cardinals defensive player, Travis Laboy, could not get off the field while the Cowboys hurried to the line to spike the ball and stop the clock after gaining 30 yards on a pass play to Crayton at the 40.

 After a lengthy delay, the officials moved the ball to the 35 yard line where Nick Folk’s field goal of 52 yards tied the game, forcing overtime. “I think we were about 60 yards offside on the play,” said Cardinals Head Coach Ken Whisenhunt.

 The loss for the Cowboys was their second in the last three games.  

The Arizona Cardinals put a hurting on the Dallas Cowboys losing 30-24 was just the beginning. Pro Bowl quarterback Tony Romo broke his right pinky finger on his throwing hand. And could miss at least a month.

Former Viking quarterback Brad Johnson is the backup and will now start in Dallas. Rookie running back and kick returner Felix Jones injured his hamstring and will miss a couple of weeks. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has had it with Adam (Pacman) Jones the Dallas Cowboys best cover corner and top five headache.

He was suspended for at least four games for violation of the leagues personal conduct policy. Jones was involved in an alcohol related incident at a Dallas hotel on Oct.8 with his body guard that was assigned to him by the team. Jones will not be paid during the suspension and was suspended the entire 2007 NFL season for multiple violations of the NFL's conduct policy as a member of the Tennessee Titans. Jones was traded to Dallas in April he has been arrested six times an involved in 12 situations requiring police intervention. Some guys just don't get it-Pacman Jones has likely played in his last NFL game.

Previously when Marion Barber the Cowboys All-Pro running back from Minnesota has 11 carries or more the Cowboys were 23-1. Sunday against the Cardinals Barber rushed 17 times for just 45 yards the Cowboys are now 23-2. The Cowboys were 16-2 until Sunday when Romo had a 100+ QB rating Against the Cardinals Sunday Romo was 24/39 for 321 yards and 3 touchdowns another 100+ QB rating the Cowboys are now 16-3. Romo has 14 career 300 yard games as a Cowboy. He has passed Hall of Famer Troy Aikman for most all-time in Cowboys history.

Defensively The Vikings Are Getting It Done!

Vikings All-Pro tackle Kevin Williams had four sacks Sunday in the Vikings 12-10 win. The Vikings defense did it again they held the Lions to 212 yards in total offense and just 8 first downs. When Lions quarterback Dan Orlovsky ran out of the back of the end-zone for a safety Jaren Allen was in hot pursuit and got credit for one of the Vikings six sacks. As controversial as Sunday's win was it indeed a win. It was the second game in a row that the game winning field was set up by a interference penalty.

Again it was 42 yards, Aundrae Allison of the Vikings was the receiver on the play when Gus Frerotte went deep this time the flag was thrown on Leigh Bodden cornerback of Detroit. It was a phantom call if I ever saw one. But it sets up a show down in Chicago Sunday against the Bears for first place.

At least Head coach Brad Childress can take the ear plugs out on the road things are getting brutal with all the booing and fire Childress chants. "I don't hear that stuff, Childress said. I'm working." When the St. Paul Pioneer Press starts publishing pictures of fans in this case a women that looks like a hockey mom with "Fire The Dumb Ass Coach" and a photo of Childress on her shirt. It proves again that negatives and vinom sell newspapers.

Ryan Longwell's 26 yard field goal with 12 seconds left saved the day for the Vikings. It was the second straight game winner for Longwell. "Kicking on turf is a bit more predictable, said Longwell your plant foot is going to stick and the field is not going to slide. It's pretty consistent on the same side of the foot right on the laces. You just try and hit a good ball and swing away you don't want to be to careful about it. And even with the game on the line go through the same routine you would on any other field goal."

 Larry Fitzgerald can be heard weekday mornings on KMOJ Radio 89.9 FM at 8:25 am, and on WDGY-AM 740 Monday & Saturday mornings at 7:50 am and Fridays at 3:50 pm; he also commentates on sports 7-8 pm on Almanac (TPT channel 2). Larry welcomes reader responses to , or visit .



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