Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Rondale Moore (4) runs against Dallas...

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Rondale Moore (4) runs against Dallas Cowboys safety Malik Hooker (28) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 24, 2023, in Glendale, Ariz. Credit: AP/Ross D. Franklin

TEMPE, Ariz. — The Arizona Cardinals were a plucky, interesting football team in two narrow losses to open Jonathan Gannon’s first year as head coach.

One week later, they're still plucky and interesting. They're also savoring a victory.

The Cardinals pulled out one of the stunners of Week 3, beating the Dallas Cowboys 28-16 to snap a six-game home losing streak that went back to last October. It was the first win as a starter for quarterback Joshua Dobbs.

It was also the first win on the sidelines for Gannon — a 40-year-old who appears to have some head coaching chops to match his swagger.

Beating the Cowboys isn't a panacea for the issues facing the Cardinals. They're still a little short on talent at several spots and awaiting the return of franchise quarterback Kyler Murray from a knee injury.

But they do have some confidence.

“It just proves to us that we can pull out the tough games," Cardinals rookie receiver Michael Wilson said.

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Marquise Brown (2) makes the catch...

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Marquise Brown (2) makes the catch against the Dallas Cowboys during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 24, 2023, in Glendale, Ariz. Credit: AP/Ross D. Franklin

"We let those two first games slip through our fingers, but now to capitalize with this victory, it gives the team confidence, it gives you that taste of what victory feels like.

“There's no greater feeling in life than waking up the next morning with a victory.”

The Cardinals earned their win over the Cowboys, playing well in all three phases. Dobbs completed 17 of 21 passes for 189 yards and a touchdown while linebacker Kyzir White had 14 tackles and a game-clinching interception in the fourth quarter. Veteran kicker Matt Prater even booted a 62-yard field goal on a low liner that gave the team a 21-10 lead at halftime.

But the biggest accomplishment was that they simply finished a victory. The Cardinals blew leads in each of their first two games — including giving up a 21-point, third-quarter advantage against the Giants — but finished off the Cowboys thanks to clutch plays from Dobbs, Wilson, White and a host of others.

Arizona Cardinals head coach Jonathan Gannon speaks with an official...

Arizona Cardinals head coach Jonathan Gannon speaks with an official during the first half of an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys, Sunday, Sept. 24, 2023, in Glendale, Ariz. Credit: AP/Ross D. Franklin

Dobbs — who was added less than a month ago in a trade with the Browns — has been solid. The 28-year-old is 10th in the NFL with a 98.1 passer rating entering Monday and is completing 72% of his passes, giving the offense a good chance for success every week.

“Nothing surprises me about his improvement over the past few weeks and the success he's been able to accumulate for himself,” Michael Wilson said. “He operates at an extremely high level in all areas of his life.”

WHAT’S WORKING

The offense has played well. There aren't many superstars on the roster, but everyone is filling their role. James Conner ran for 98 yards and a TD. Wilson and Marquise Brown made nice catches. The offensive line has been good. Offensive coordinator Drew Petzing also had a knack for good play calls on Sunday, including up a 45-yard touchdown run for Rondale Moore, who is usually a receiver.

WHAT NEEDS HELP

The secondary still had shaky moments. Third-year cornerback Marco Wilson caught a break when officials picked up a flag in the fourth quarter, opting not to penalize him for pass interference on a coverage play against Michael Gallup in the end zone. Two-time All-Pro safety Budda Baker is still out with a hamstring injury and the Cardinals miss him.

STOCK UP

Michael Wilson — a third-round pick out of Stanford — looks as if he could become a legit big-play threat. He had two catches for 86 yards against the Cowboys, including a 69-yard catch in the fourth quarter that set up the final touchdown. At 6-foot-2 and 213 pounds, he gives Arizona some much-needed size in the receiving group.

STOCK DOWN

TE Zach Ertz didn't play poorly, but had a quiet game with two catches for 6 yards. He was one of the team's top options in the passing game through the first two weeks.

INJURIES

DL Zaven Collins (eye) left in the second half of the Cowboys game and didn't return. Said Gannon: “I think he's checking out OK.”... Baker (hamstring) has to miss at least the next three games while on injured reserve. ... Murray (knee) has at least one more game on the PUP list before he is eligible to return.

KEY NUMBER

469 — The number of rushing yards for the Cardinals through three games. That's the most for the team in its first three games of the season since 1988.

NEXT STEPS

The Cardinals have another tough game this week on the road against the undefeated 49ers. It's another chance for the Cardinals to show how much they've grown over the season's first month.

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