Rookies shine as Cardinals beat Cowboys in preseason opener

(Photo by Billy Hardiman-USA TODAY Sports) Rondale Moore
(Photo by Billy Hardiman-USA TODAY Sports) Rondale Moore /

Thanks to a Matt Prater 47-yard field goal as time expired, the Arizona Cardinals began the 2021 preseason with a win over the Dallas Cowboys.

This offseason, the Arizona Cardinals added several big-name players to their roster, including J.J. Watt, A.J. Green, Rodney Hudson, and Malcolm Butler. But the new addition who might end up making the biggest impact for the Cardinals this year could be kicker Matt Prater.

Prater displayed what he can add to Arizona in a big way during their 2021 preseason opener on Friday against the Dallas Cowboys.

The Cardinals new kicker converted all four of his field-goal attempts on Friday, including a 47-yarder as time expired to give Arizona the 19-16 victory over the Cowboys.

Arizona Cardinals rookies look promising against Dallas Cowboys on Friday

Cardinals fans got to see the team’s top 2021 draft picks in an actual game for the first time this year. Linebacker Zaven Collins, wide receiver Rondale Moore, and cornerback Marco Wilson were all on the field for a good chunk of time against Dallas.

All three look like they could make a significant impact for Arizona this season, especially Collins and Moore. Collins had an impressive tackle in the Cowboys’ offensive backfield early in the matchup, and Moore displayed his incredible quickness as both a receiver and a rusher.

At the same time though, Wilson shouldn’t be slept on either as he finished Friday with four tackles and two pass breakups.

Colt McCoy got the start under center for the Cardinals as the team decided not to have Kyler Murray play in Friday’s preseason matchup. McCoy looked exactly like a guy who is entering his 11th season in the NFL as he finished the night completing 6-of-7 pass attempts for 69 yards.

Chris Streveler got the rest of the snaps under center for Arizona against the Cowboys. Streveler displayed his impressive rushing skills in the contest, gaining 55 yards on 10 carries. However, it was pretty obvious that his abilities as a passer are still light years behind what McCoy is able to do.

Eno Benjamin scored Arizona’s only touchdown of the matchup. The second-year running back also had a 38-yard run against Dallas in what was his first in-game action with the Cardinals despite being drafted in 2020. He’s certainly someone to keep an eye on during Arizona’s next two preseason games.

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The Cardinals’ next exhibition matchup will take place next Friday, August 20, at 5 p.m. MST inside State Farm Stadium against the Kansas City Chiefs.