Mistakes sink Cowboys as Cards win in OT


TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) -- That's no misprint in the NFL standings. The
Arizona Cardinals are tied for first place in the NFC West.

Question on the Cowboys: Will they do what it takes to get Emmitt the record next week?
They really can't focus on the record. They need to focus on winning games, and then the yards will come. It's difficult because Emmitt is such a huge part of Dallas Cowboys history. But they need to focus on winning.

Question on the Cardinals: Are their offensive struggles bigger than Jake Plummer?
I believe their offense goes how Jake goes. He's streaky -- he can be brilliant and he can also make poor decisions. We've gotten used to seeing that with Arizona.

Eric Allen played cornerback for 14 NFL seasons with the Eagles, Saints and Raiders.

Despite scoring no touchdowns in the game and missing two field
goals in the final minutes of regulation, the Cardinals beat the
Dallas Cowboys 9-6 on Bill Gramatica's 40-yard field goal with 3:10
left in overtime Sunday.

The Cardinals (4-2) are off to their best start since 1988,
their first season in Arizona.

"To be in first place six games into the season is great,''
Jake Plummer said. "When those 16 games are done, that's where I
want to be.''

Dallas' Quincy Carter threw four interceptions, and the Cowboys
(3-4) botched an extra-point kick to blow a chance to pull above

Gramatica had missed from 28 and 51 yards in the last 3:24 of

"I've got to make every kick. I don't care if it's 28 or 51,''
he said. "The team killed themselves to give me an opportunity for
another shot. I'm just glad that I was able to be there for them,
because they sure as heck were there for me the entire game.''

Gramatica's field goals of 41 and 23 yards put Arizona up 6-0 in
the first half.

The Cardinals, who were off last week, are tied with San
Francisco for the NFC West lead. The teams meet in San Francisco
next Sunday.

Emmitt Smith gained a season-high 82 yards on 22 carries,
leaving him 92 yards shy of Walter Payton's NFL career rushing

"I felt like I had more running room today than I ever had all
year long,'' Smith said.

But the solid ground game couldn't make up for Carter's four
interceptions. Two of them were picked off in the end zone, and
Carter knew he'd get the blame for the loss.

"That's one thing that you've got to go through as a
quarterback. You've got to stand up and face the heat when it's on
you,'' he said. "Now the heat is on me. I've just got to be a man,
go out and make better decisions.''

Both teams squandered opportunities, and Carter's mistakes were
just the most obvious of many for the Cowboys.

"He's going tohave to really look at himself in this one,
because we had an opportunity to get some things done,'' Dallas
coach Dave Campo said. "But let me stress one thing: There were
enough penalties and other things where this was a team effort.
We're not going to point fingers at any one individual.''

Dallas missed a chance to win when Billy Cundiff missed a
49-yard field-goal attempt with 24 seconds left in regulation.

A personal foul against Randal Williams and a pass interference
call against Mario Edwards, combined with Plummer's 11-yard
scramble, set up the winning field goal.

"If you had to narrow it down to one thing,'' Campo said, "I'd
have to say that Plummer making third-down conversions was probably
the key to the football game, either by throwing them or running
them himself.''

Plummer also had scrambles of 14 and 19 yards during the
Cardinals' first-half scoring drives.

"He was 'The Snake,''' Arizona coach Dave McGinnis said. "As
long as I'm the head coach and he's my quarterback, he can be 'The
Snake.' Just go do it. Get it done.''

Plummer completed 23 of 46 passes for 232 yards, with no

After Gramatica missed his 51-yard attempt with 3 seconds left
in regulation, Plummer didn't let sulk about it.

"When Billy came off after that second missed field goal, I
said 'Get your head up, man. We're going to get you another chance
to win this game,''' Plummer said.

Carter connected with Antonio Bryant on a 78-yard play for the
game's only touchdown with 7:50 left in the third quarter. But
holder Micah Knorr fumbled the snap on the extra-point try, and the
game stayed tied at 6.

Adrian Wilson had three interceptions, one shy of Arizona's
franchise record. His final pick came in the end zone after Dallas
drove to the Cardinals' 14 with 12 minutes to play in the fourth

Carter said he was trying to throw it away. Wilson said the
young quarterback forced the throw.

"He's still young, as far as maturing in making decisions out
of the pocket,'' Wilson said. "I think he'll get better in that

Game notes
Wilson had a sack and interception on Arizona's first two
defensive plays. ... The Cowboys' already-depleted offensive line
lost starting guard Matt Lehr with a sprained right knee in the
first quarter. ... About half of the crowd of 59,702 seemed to be
Dallas fans. ... The game was the last of the annual trips to
Arizona for the Cowboys, who no longer are in the same division as
the Cardinals.


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