Last night, the Dallas Cowboys faced the Minnesota Vikings at home for the third game of their preseason. The game, known for being a dress rehearsal for the regular season, started with more intrigue than a soap opera.
The drama started off with a bang as it was announced Pro Bowl center Andre Gurode would not be playing even though he made the trip to Minnesota. Owner Jerry Jones called it strictly a “business decision”. It is believed that Gurode will either be traded, have his contract trimmed down, or be straight out released soon. This means that the currently injured Phil Costa would become the opening day starter at center.
Once the actual game got started, we got a decent look at what we can expect from the Boy’s this season. An offense that is spread out and very dynamic. And a defense that uses the bend but don’t break mentality but that is more apt for explosive game changing plays.
Here are some of my thoughts I jotted down while watching the game:
The big story of the night was safety Gerald Sensabaugh. After getting flat out beaten on a touchdown scoring drive on the Vikings first possession, Sensabaugh made two game changing plays. The first big play was a blocked field goal attempted that turned into a defensive touchdown by Alan Ball. The second was a shoe-lace interception off of a Jason Hatcher tipped ball.
Jesse Holley is a clutch wide receiver. He made too HUGE catches for third down conversions tonight. He’s also fairly decent in special teams. I was suspect of him since he came from Michael Irvin’s TV show, but I think we found something here. He ended the game with 3 receptions for 52 yards.
We have three rookies starting on the offensive line. Tyron Smith gets flat out beat a couple times, but Bill Nagy did a good job against Jared Allen. I like Nagy more than Smith right now.
Abram Elam had a chance at an interception, but instead it turned into a Viking touchdown. Although he didn’t finish the play, it was good to see he was in position to make the attempt.
Felix Jones continued to confirm expert’s belief that this is his breakout year. He had 5 carries for 20 yards and a TD.
Rookie Dan Bailey looks like a better choice at kicker than veteran Shayne Graham, so far. Bailey hit two field goals (37, 40), while Graham hit just one (38). But Graham also shorted a kickoff and missed a key tackle during a big Viking return.
Although Tony Romo was on target most of the night, so off his throws were a little off. I think he’s still shaking off a bit of the rust. That doesn’t bode well for the start of this season as this was likely Romo’s last preseason game.
Adrian Peterson ran over our defense which open up things in the air for Donovan McNabb. Still, the Dallas “D” kept them from scoring, for the most part.
With Miles Austin out due to injury, Dez Bryant was the go-to wideout. He didn’t disappoint with 5 receptions for 67 yards.
Kevin Olgetree made a great over the shoulder catch but stepped out of bounds. It was a case of him not knowing where his feet were. Overall, I was more impress with the play of Jesse Holley than him tonight.
Dallas didn’t get it’s first sack until Anthony Spencer was able to wrangle down McNabb late in the 2nd quarter.
The crowd in Minnesota is super loud in the red zone. A good test for the ole ears.
The preseason debut of both Tashard Choice and DeMarco Murray was pretty average. Nothing spectacular to report. We’ll be seeing a lot more of them in the next game.
In the end, the Cowboys defeated the Vikings, 23-17.
Unfortunately, there were two injuries of note. Cornerback Alan Ball (elbow) and tight end Martellus Bennett (ankle). It is currently unknown how long each player will be out.