Coming off of bye week the Dallas Cowboys 5-1 went in Minneapolis to face the Minnesota Vikings 3-3 without their starting QB Dak Prescott due to calf injury. The big question was could backup QB Cooper Rush making his first NFL start manage the game and the vaulted Cowboys defense led by the best defensive player so far in the NFL CB Trevon Diggs, rookie sensation LB Micah Parsons, and veteran DE Randy Gregory continue their stellar play to keep the Vikings under control.
Minnesota started the game scoring on their opening drive in just 3:11 on a Kirk Cousins 20 yard strike to a wide-open Adam Thielen down the middle for the touchdown. The drive was aided by two pass interference penalties against the Cowboys. After the Greg Joseph extra point, the Vikings took an early 7-0 lead.
Cooper Rush and the Cowboys quickly drove down the field pretty methodically before the Vikings sacked Rush to halt the drive. The Cowboys PK Greg Zuerlein missed a 43-yard field goal. The missed field goal attempt ended what started as an impressive Cowboy opening drive.
The Vikings began the second quarter by picking off Cooper Rush on a pass that he probably shouldn't have thrown. Rush tried to go across the middle to Blake Jarwin but was tipped and Xavier Woods intercepted it at the Viking 28 stopping another Cowboy drive in Viking territory.
The Dallas Cowboys finally got on the board with 6:09 left in the first half on a 38-yard field goal by Greg Zuerlein to make the score 7-3 Vikings. Up to that point in the game, Dallas had been in the Viking territory three times but kept stalling around the 20-yard line.
Minnesota extended their lead to 10-3 on a 45-yard field goal by PK Greg Joseph with 1:44 left in the first half. The Vikings were aided on the drive by an offsides penalty against Dallas on fourth and five to give them a first down. Later in the drive on fourth and one Adam Thielen beat Trevon Diggs coming across the middle in Cowboy territory. From there the Vikings settled for the field goal.
The Cowboys started shaky on their first two plays of the second half. Then Cooper Rush on a third down and eight hit WR Cedrick Wilson deep across the middle for a 73-yard touchdown pass. Cowboy PK Greg Zuerlein made the extra point to tie the game 10-10.
The Cowboys' defense in bend but don't break mode held the Minnesota Vikings to a 40 yard Greg Joseph after halting the Vikings' drive at the 22-yard line. With 6:36 left in the third quarter, the Vikings took a 13-10 lead in a tight battle. The Cowboys not to be deterred finished off the third quarter by tying the game 13-13 on a 39-yard field goal by Greg Zuerlein with four seconds left in the third stanza.
Minnesota forced a big turnover on a sack by Xavier Woods coming off the corner unblocked and crushing Cooper Rush causing a fumble who did not see the defensive back coming. The Vikings once again stopped the Cowboys who seemed to be getting in the groove.
Midway through the fourth quarter, the Vikings drove down the field-assisted by three huge penalties against the Cowboys two against Randy Gregory. Minnesota was yet again held out of the endzone by the Cowboy defense forcing them into another field goal attempt. PK Greg Joseph made a 24 yarder to give the Vikings a 16-13 lead with 2:54 remaining in the game.
On 2nd and 10 from their own 25-yard line, Amari Cooper made a circus catch to get the Cowboys in Viking territory. The Cowboys got the ball to third and eleven from the 20, Cooper Rush threw a short pass to Ezekiel Elliott who broke tackles and powered his way for 15 yards, and the first down at the Vikings 5-yard line. Then with 55 seconds left Cooper Rush hit Amari Cooper in the back left corner of the end zone for the go-ahead touchdown. After the Greg Zuerlein extra point, the Cowboys get their first lead of the game 20-16. Which ended up being the final score Dallas Cowboys 20 Minnesota Vikings 16.
In the end, the Cowboys won in a not so pretty but gritty game showing the will to win. Cooper Rush did what he had to do and drove Dallas down the field on their final drive to get the win. Let's not forget the big plays by Amari Cooper and Ezekiel Elliott to get the Cowboys in the position to win.
Final stats Cooper Rush 24 of 40, 325 yards 2 touchdowns, and 1 int. Amari Cooper 8 recs 122 yards and the game-winning touchdown catch. LB Micah Parsons had a great day on defense he was all over the field tallying 11 tackles.
As the Dallas Cowboys go to 6-1 the Minnesota Vikings fall to 3-4 in a hard-fought battle. Next up for the Dallas Cowboys 6-1, they will be hosting the 4-4 Denver Broncos at AT&T Stadium on Sun, Nov 7, @ 12 noon.
Until next time, be safe and take care of yourself.