CANTON, Ohio -- Sam Irwin-Hill booted a 43-yard field goal in the fourth quarter Thursday night, enabling the Dallas Cowboys to post a 20-18 win over the Arizona Cardinals in the Hall of Fame Game at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio.
Dallas trailed 15-0 in the first quarter before reeling in Arizona in a game equal parts entertaining and sloppy. The teams combined for 19 penalties for 169 yards, the Cowboys being flagged 11 times for 103 yards.
Neither team played its starter at quarterback -- Carson Palmer for the Cardinals, Dak Prescott for the Cowboys -- instead giving reps to backups and guys who may not be on their 53-man roster in Week 1. However, Arizona's Blaine Gabbert was impressive, completing 11 of 14 passes for 185 yards.
The Cardinals scored twice in the first 10 minutes. Kerwynn Williams rushed 5 yards at the 10:46 mark for a 7-0 lead, and Andre Ellington added a 3-yard touchdown run with 5:18 left in the period. Gabbert's two-point run capped the impressive start.
However, Arizona's offense predictably bogged down over the last three quarters as fresh faces hit the field. The Cardinals' only score after the first quarter was a 40-yard field goal by Matt Wile late in the third quarter.
The Cowboys had reason to be excited about the play of tight end Rico Gathers and backup quarterback Kellen Moore.
Moore completed 12 of 17 passes for 182 yards with one touchdown and an interception. He is not flashy but often puts the ball in the right spot.
And as much as Gathers still has a long way to go -- he is still just two years removed from a college basketball career after not playing football since the eighth grade -- his 6-foot-6, 285-pound frame is hard to ignore.
Gathers blocked out safety Ironhead Gallon like he was going for a rebound to haul in a 26-yard touchdown pass.
Gathers led the Cowboys with three catches for 59 yards, including a tackle-breaking 17-yard run in the third quarter to set up a field goal.
Irwin-Hill kicked two field goals, and Cooper Rush tossed a touchdown to Uzoma "EZ" Nwachukwu for the other Cowboys score.