A broken hand couldn't stop Emmitt Smith, but in the end, the Arizona Cardinals did.
The Dallas running back, playing with his right hand in a soft cast, gained 127 yards on 29 carries. But he couldn't get a yard when he needed it most in Arizona's 13-9 victory Sunday.
The yard he couldn't get, Smith said, "seemed like a mile."
Late in the game, trailing 13-7 with second-and-2 on the Arizona 10, Dallas gave the ball to Smith three straight times, and the NFL's No. 3 career rusher gained 1 yard.
"We talked in the huddle that somebody's got to step up and make the play," Lassiter said. "Either it's coming out, or we're going to punish him for carrying it."
Arizona defensive coordinate Dave McGinnis called Lassiter's play "one of the better face-up tackles by a free safety that I've seen in a lot of years."
Smith, who broke his hand two weeks ago against Minnesota, ran into the back of one of his teammates as he hit the line.
"I just lost my momentum, and before I knew it, everyone was on top of me," he said.
Dallas has led in the second half of all five of its losses.
"We're not getting the execution we need in the second half," Cowboys coach Chan Gailey said. "We're not good enough to lose scoring opportunities."
Arizona punter Scott Player took an intentional safety with 1:49 remaining to cut the lead to 13-9, then Deion Sanders, who also had his first interception of the season, returned the free kick 1 yards to the Cardinals 43.
"They respect me so much they even took a safety, and you say my game is gone," Sanders said.
With Troy Aikman out with a concussion for the second week in a row, Garrett completed 16 of 29 for 111 yards and a touchdown.
Dave Brown threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to Rob Moore on a flea-flicker play, and Chris Jacke kicked field goals of 21 and 38 yards as the Cardinals (4-6) beat an NFC opponent with a winning record for the second week in a row. Last week they knocked off Detroit 23-19.
Smith gained 83 yards on 18 carries in the first half, and had 44 yards on 11 carries in the second.
"We got so jacked up to play we were missing tackles. We had straight shots on him in the backfield and we wanted to hit him so hard he was making us miss," Arizona coach Vince Tobin said. "We just had to settle down."
On the first series of the second half, the Cardinals scored on a 69-yard, four-play drive, 14 more yards than they gained in the entire first half.
Adrian Murrell gained 16 yards, and Brown threw 30 yards to David Boston on the first two plays of the half. On second down from the 21, Brown gave the ball to Murrell, who pitched it back to the quarterback. Brown then hit Moore near the end zone sidelines to put the Cardinals up 10-7 with 13:10 left in the third quarter.
Early in the fourth quarter, Jacke kicked a 38-yard field goal to put Arizona ahead 13-7.
The Cowboys dominated the first half statistically yet led only 7-3.
In the first two quarters. Dallas had advantages of 180-55 in net yards, 12-4 in first downs and 21:30-8:30 in time of possession.
But the Cowboys had a field goal erased by a holding penalty, missed a 48-yard field goal and failed to convert on fourth-and-8 at the Arizona 32. An apparent 26-yard touchdown pass from Garrett to Ernie Mills was negated because of a delay of game penalty.
Gailey thought the snap came before the clock expired, and so did Garrett.
"I was pretty aware of the clock," Garrett said. "I thought I got the ball off."
Dallas went 81 yards in nine plays to score its lone touchdown of the first half. Garrett threw an 11-yard TD pass to David LeFleur for the score with 58 seconds left in the first quarter.
Arizona cut the lead to 7-3 in the final seconds of the half.
After Eric Swann's second sack of the game, Dallas had to punt from its own 5. The Cardinals got the ball at the 37 and drove to the Cowboys' 6, and Chris Jacke kicked a 24-yard field goal with 15 seconds left in the half.
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