Cowboys beat Vikings: Back in the race for the NFC East

CeeDee Lamb, Dallas Cowboys (Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports)
CeeDee Lamb, Dallas Cowboys (Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports) /

With the NFC East still up for grabs, the Dallas Cowboys finally showed up

The Dallas Cowboys headed into their Week 11 matchup with one of the league’s worst run defenses playing the team with the NFL’s leading rusher, running back Dalvin Cook and the Minnesota Vikings. This game also marked the fourth starting quarterback change in the past five games for the Cowboys. This time around, quarterback Andy Dalton was named the starter against in Minnesota.

In the first half, the Cowboys did something that they needed to do defensively. That is forcing turnovers. Defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence stepped up again with help from safety Donovan Wilson to strip-sack Kirk Cousins, and Wilson came up with the ball.

The half-sack by Lawrence marks 2.5 sacks in the past four games. That’s also with three quarters and 10 minutes left in this game.

On a throw to the NFL’s leading rusher Dalvin Cook, Wilson blows him up to force a fumble. Lawrence recovers it and hands it off to Jaylon Smith, who breaks tackles and takes it for 21 yards.

Wide receiver CeeDee Lamb‘s jaw-dropping touchdown catch in the second quarter tied Dallas’ franchise rookie record for catches in a season with 46. He ended up taking the lead, finishing the game with 48 catches so far this season.

For only the second time this season, the Dallas Cowboys defense prevented fewer than 10 points in the first half of a game. The only other time this occurred was against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 8.

At halftime, the Dallas Cowboys led 16-7

On their first to possessions of the second half, the Vikings offense found their groove. Cousins did not throw one incompletion on either drive, and Cook ran for at least five yards for every rushing attempt on their second drive.

Dallas’ defensive backs were in tight coverage, but Cousins and his receivers were playing perfectly. On the Vikings’ second possession, the Cowboys’ defensive line got tired, hence Cook’s big runs.

Dallas’ run game has been very efficient all game. Running back Tony Pollard saw a big hole and ran for a 42-yard touchdown. Add a two-point conversion to take the lead by three.

On a drive down by three points, the Vikings tried to march down the field. The Dallas Cowboys defense played perfectly and did not allow one first down.

Running back Ezekiel Elliott ran for 103 yards. It’s the first game this season that he ran for 100+ yards. It snaps his nine-game streak of running for fewer than 100 yards.

The Cowboys won their first game after four straight losses. Dallas also scored the most points in a game without quarterback Dak Prescott.

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Final Score: 31-28 Dallas

Next week, the Dallas Cowboys play the Washington Football Team at home on Thursday for Thanksgiving. The kickoff is at 5:30 CDT.