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Rapid Reaction: Vance Joseph gets all the apology letters as Defense steals show from Murray on MNF

If I was a Dallas Cowboys fan, there’s only one thought I would have after watching tonight’s game:

“Pay Dak Prescott whatever he wants, Jerry.”

If I’m a Cardinals fan?

Well, I think that all I’m thinking is these two things:

  1. 38-10?? 38-10!!!
  2. “Well, what took you so long?”

Arizona had gotten off to a decent start to the year, with yards in the top 10 heading into this game both offensively and defensively.

However, there was one thing lacking on the season: a complete game from start to finish on both ends.

There was a taste of that last week against the New York Jets who were the worst team in football…but also a game on the road on the East Coast in the morning, and it was still a game up until the second half with their defense not forcing any turnovers.

This game? It looked slow to start: Murray wasn’t able to connect with his receivers, the run game didn’t have any big plays, and people were worried about if this was going to be more of a boring game.

And then….the defense…came alive. The pass rush looked phenomenal against a decimated Cowboys offensive line and generated pressure in ways we haven’t seen from them yet.

-Vance Joseph dialed up blitzes that were baffling to the Cowboys, and the lack of Chandler Jones actually looked like a boon with Dennis Gardeck and Haasan Reddick making Andy Dalton’s life a living hell.

Know what? He’s gotten the brute force of an angry Cardinals fanbase over the past few years…and a lot of doubt. As many have noted, he’s performed well this year with the defense and the additional talent.

So?

Maybe it’s time to hand over the apology letters and offer the man a beer on the house as an apology for a LOT of crap tossed his way, eh?

On the other side, the Cards made up for an inaccurate day from Kyler Murray with some clutch catches from Larry Fitzgerald and Kyler making plays with his legs. But it was the defense carrying a poor offensive showing.

And then, Kyler reminded everyone how fun he can be with this bomb to Christian Kirk:

The second half saw more of the same;

  • Haasan Reddick is making a case to be returned to the team next year as perhaps the secondary pass rusher we all thought that Kennard could be
  • Budda Baker was all over the field like a bat out of hell. Having an incredible game and to boot, finally got his first INT:
  • Kliff Kingsbury called a fine game, with some solid decisions (accepting a penalty on an incomplete pass to push Dallas out of FG range rather than declining the penalty and letting Dallas have a shot at a field goal…which paid off with AZ forcing a punt)
  • Byron Murphy was solid in coverage all night long, with the difficult job of covering CeeDee Lamb (who had a quiet first half with only 2 catches for 4 yards and then he started to turn it on)
  • The rushing attack was even improved in the second half with Kenyan Drake churning some yards…and really, AZ only missed Fitzgerald wide open in the endzone as their worst overall mistake of the day.
  • Heck even Isaiah Simmons got some snaps in near the end of the game

All in all, it was a fun night for the Cardinals on the national stage, a stage in which their performance has been oftentimes a debacle rather than a delight.

Which is huge for this team.

If the Cardinals are going to turn around this franchise behind Kliff and Kyler, they’re going to have to shine bright when the lights are at their brightest.

And while it wasn’t perfect, and the Cowboys look like a trainwreck without Prescott, the Cardinals did what good teams do.

Beat up bad teams & win the game.

And now they’ve positioned themselves in a place that they haven’t been in since 2015 with a 4-2 record, meaning that they could go 5-5 the rest of the year and STILL have a winning record and a shot at the playoffs. The fast start Arizona needed after multiple years of slow starts in September and October has finally come.

Next week, there’s a chance to make good on the promise of a “new day in the NFC West” with a showdown at home with the undefeated Seattle Seahawks, who they haven’t beaten at home with Russell Wilson helming them since his first NFL game back.

When looking back at the history of the Arizona Cardinals getting steamrolled by the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC East for years…and years…and years…

Well…

It was nice for Kliff and Kyler to show them a little Texas hospitality.

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