What a game for the Dallas Cowboys. They may have been favored by the oddsmakers, but after what we saw in Green Bay, many didn’t believe America’s Team had the prowess to beat an 8-1 team coming off a comeback victory.
What could have been a close game or even a relatively understandable loss turned out to be an absolute butt-kicking by the Cowboys. Dallas handed Minnesota their second loss of the season on their own turf in a game that was so non-competitive that CBS literally switched the national broadcast to the Steelers-Bengals contest before the third quarter was even over.
The 40-3 win was the largest margin of victory on the road in franchise history. The closest to Sunday’s score was a 35-point win over the Giants in 1995.
There were so many improvements from Week 10. The run defense looked lightyears better, keeping Dalvin Cook to only 72 yards on 11 attempts. The offense was operating smoothly behind Dak Prescott’s 276 passing yards and 139.3 passer rating. Things looked better than they’ve looked in a while, and they finally did it against a truly formidable opponent.
While a lot went right, let’s look at three of the main reasons the Cowboys were able to dominate the Vikings.
3 reasons the Cowboys were able to hand the Vikings their second loss of 2022
3. Brett “Money” Maher
Once upon a time (a few months ago), Cowboys fans were up in arms because the Cowboys essentially had no kicker. The team put high hopes in UDFA Jonathan Garibay and veteran Lirim Hajrullahu, which went downhill quickly.
Fans were initially irate when the team decided to bring in Brett Maher for a tryout. The kicker missed at least one kick in 16 of his previous 29 games with America’s Team. He had a meager 66.7% of made kicks in 2019 with Dallas.
Fast forward to 2022 and he’s been as consistent as can be for this team.
On Sunday, Maher went 4 for 4 on field goal attempts, including two from 50 or more yards, and 4 for 4 on extra-point attempts.
In fact, the kicker had more combined fantasy football points (29.5) than Justin Jefferson, A.J. Brown, Dalvin Cook, and Saquon Barkley combined (28).
Maher was tested a lot against the Vikings. With five seconds left to go in the first half, Mike McCarthy sent the kicker out to see if he could hit a 60-yard field goal. Not only did he make it the first time, but when the referees absurdly called it off because they decided they wanted to review CeeDee Lamb’s catch that got the Cowboys to field-goal range, Maher made it again.
Two made 60-yard kicks in less than two minutes from a man who this franchise once despised.
The 60-yard field goal was his fourth made kick from 60-plus yard kicks in his career. That’s the most 60-yard field goals for any kicker in NFL history. No other kicker has more than two from that distance.
As we learned with Zuerlein, you never realize how important a kicker is until you don’t have a good one. Maher had 16 of the Cowboys’ 40 points tonight. Hats off to him.