The NFL world was stunned this past Sunday when the Arizona Cardinals registered an upset victory over the Dallas Cowboys. Head coach Jonathan Gannon's squad never trailed in the contest, and proceeded to shut the mouths of countless detractors. How did such a pronounced underdog like the Cards manage to emerge victorious during their clash with "America's Team"?
Actually, Arizona's 28-16 win shouldn't have been thought of as such a surprise. A close look at the recent history between the two franchises reveals a surprising fact. Something that diehard fans of both teams probably didn't even realize.
Counting last weekend's triumph, the Cardinals have handled Dallas in seven of the last eight matchups. It would be fair to say that the Redbirds have had the Cowboys' number. During the streak, no less than four Arizona head coaches have joined in on the fun.
Arizona Cardinals winning streak over "America's Team" began back in 2008
It all began back in 2008, the one and only campaign in Cards history that concluded with a Super Bowl appearance. Hall of Fame quarterback Kurt Warner threw for 236 yards and a pair of touchdowns during the team's 30-24 overtime win. The game ended one minute into the extra period when linebacker Monty Beisel returned a blocked punt three yards for the winning score.
Two years later, in 2010, a 48-yard field goal by Jay Feely with five seconds remaining lifted the Cardinals to a 27-26 victory over Dallas. Cornerbacks Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Greg Toler got the Christmas-night festivities going with pick-sixes during the opening quarter. The offensive highlight was a 74-yard touchdown pass from John Skelton to Andre Roberts that gave "Big Red" a 21-3 first-half lead.
In December of 2011, Arizona prevailed once again over the Cowboys by a score of 19-13. This time around, a 52-yard scoring toss from Kevin Kolb to Larod Stephens-Howling in overtime put Dallas away. No fewer than five different Cards recorded sacks during the triumph in the desert.
The two squads wouldn't meet again until November of 2014, when the Cardinals beat the Cowboys by a score of 28-17 at AT&T Stadium. Quarterback Carson Palmer contributed 249 yards and three scores through the air, while running back Andre Ellington was credited with 134 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown. Safety Tyrann Mathieu and cornerback Antonio Cromartie registered interceptions during the matchup to pace the defense.
Dallas' only win over Arizona in their last eight tries came in September of 2017, when they triumphed by a 28-17 score at University of Phoenix Stadium. Palmer threw for 325 yards and two scores during the loss. Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald hauled in 13 passes for 149 yards and a touchdown, the only real highlight of the Cards' disappointing defeat.
The Cardinals got back to their winning ways over the Cowboys in October of 2020 when they beat Dallas 38-10 on Monday Night Football. Running back Kenyan Drake was the star of the evening, rumbling for 164 yards and two scores on the ground. Quarterback Kyler Murray and wideout Christian Kirk hooked up for two additional Arizona touchdowns.
Former Cards head coach Kliff Kingsbury earned his second victory over the Cowboys in January of 2022. The Cardinals held on for a 25-22 win, after Dallas got close thanks to a pair of Dak Prescott scoring tosses in the fourth quarter. Placekicker Matt Prater booted four field goals during the game, including a 53-yarder right before halftime.
(Statistics provided by Pro Football Reference)