Cardinals benefit from Ezekiel Elliott fumbles after ugly MNF start

Oct 19, 2020, 6:33 PM | Updated: 6:46 pm

Arizona Cardinals safety Budda Baker (32) strips the ball from Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel ...

Arizona Cardinals safety Budda Baker (32) strips the ball from Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott (21) in the first half of an NFL football game in Arlington, Texas, Monday, Oct. 19, 2020. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)

(AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)

Monday Night Football fans did not tune in to the Arizona Cardinals facing the Dallas Cowboys for a rash of penalties and dominating defenses.

That’s what they got in the first quarter of play at AT&T Stadium before the Cardinals took advantage of two fortuitous turnovers, both of them fumbles by Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott.

Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray led Arizona on an 11-play, 54-yard drive that ended on a quick pitch to receiver Christian Kirk after Elliott’s first fumble, putting the Cardinals ahead 7-0 a full 17 minutes into the game.

Elliott fumbled again two plays into Dallas’ next drive, and the Cardinals needed to advance 27 yards on five plays to go ahead by two touchdowns.

The Cardinals struck quickly on their next possession when Murray dialed up Kirk for an 80-yard catch-and-score as Arizona took a 21-3 lead at halftime.

Before that point, it wasn’t pretty.

Arizona continued to suffer from offensive penalties, including two false starts and an offensive pass interference call. Murray had miscommunications with receivers on at least two plays as well.

The Cardinals’ defense kept momentum on their side with pressures on Dallas quarterback Andy Dalton — he nearly got a safety and nearly threw an interception on a drop by Arizona linebacker Jordan Hicks — before things fell their way with safety Budda Baker getting his mitts to bat the ball out of Elliott’s hands on the first fumble.

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