Hey there, football. Long time, no see. Sure it’s the preseason, but it’s something.
Cardinals 15, Cowboys 0 (2:37)
Sorry, Tom Brady. We know it’s your birthday and all, but Blaine Gabbert is now the greatest quarterback of all time. He brought the Cardinals right down the field agin, going a perfect 3-for-3 again. Andre Ellington punched it in to give the Cardinals another touchdown.
A penalty on the Cowboys during the extra point gave the Cardinals the ball at the 1-yard line, so they decided to go for two. After another Dallas penalty, Gabbert bulldozed in for the two-point conversion.
Cardinals 7, Cowboys 0 (7:55)
No Dak Prescott or Ezekiel Elliott, bummer. Instead, Kellen Moore and Darren McFadden got the start for the Cowboys. Moore was not Gabbert-esque, which is actually a criticism right now, and the Cowboys went three-and-out.
Cardinals 7, Cowboys 0 (4:14)
Don’t expect to see many starters in this game. The Cardinals started with the ball and trotted out … Blaine Gabbert. Wooooo, get excited!
To be fair, Gabbert was dealing on the first possession. His biggest play came on a 35-yard pass to Brittan Golden, but Gabbert was perfect on the drive, completing all three of his passes. Kerwynn Williams put the Cardinals on the board with a 5-yard touchdown run.
Kerwynn Williams gets outside…
— NFL (@NFL) August 4, 2017
(We’re not completely sure who some of these players are, tbh.)
Before the game
If 2017’s preseason opener between the Dallas Cowboys and Arizona Cardinals gets even a coin toss in, it will have exceeded the 2016 Hall of Fame Game. Last year’s scheduled matchup between the Packers and Colts was called off after extreme heat in Canton turned the field’s synthetic turf into a hardened, sticky mess.
At the time, the NFL and NFLPA released a joint statement saying “player safety is our primary concern, and as a result, we could not play an NFL game on this field tonight.”
2017 promises to be better, if only because the game will actually take place (we think).
If this were the regular season, the headlining matchup would be a showdown between two of the league’s best tailbacks. Cowboys runner Ezekiel Elliott’s premier season was an unrequited success; he topped the NFL and threatened Eric Dickerson’s rookie record with 1,631 rushing yards. On the other sideline is David Johnson, who led the league with 2,118 yards from scrimmage in his second season as a pro.
Of course, we won’t get a chance to see that matchup Thursday. Starters typically don’t last long in the preseason, and the Hall of Fame Game is no exception. In 2015, Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater played just one series in the season-opening exhibition. The Steelers rested the majority of their starters, including Ben Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell, and Antonio Brown. The game was, let’s say, less than thrilling.
If Dak Prescott plays, it probably won’t be for long. The Cowboys quarterback earned his starting gig last year when Tony Romo went down with injury during the preseason.
The Cardinals boast a surefire enshrinee in wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald and a veteran quarterback, Carson Palmer, who could work his way onto semifinalist lists in the future. Not that either veteran will take the field. Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians already said that he would not playing any starters — or even backup quarterback Drew Stanton. That leaves quarterbacking duty to Blaine Gabbert in the first half and undrafted rookie Trevor Knight in the second half. Nothing says preseason like that.
The Hall of Fame Game kicks off at 8 p.m. ET on NBC. A live stream is available at NBC Sports.