MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – The Cowboys didn't have as many memorable plays in this game and even finished with a season-low 17 points.
Still, there were some big highlights, including a couple of catches from Dez Bryant and more grinding runs from Ezekiel Elliott. The special teams actually had a huge turnover to turn the game around as well.
But like all games, there were a handful of plays that could go unnoticed, yet changed the outcome. Let's take a closer look at five that affected this one.
Not measuring on second down – While the Vikings had a first-down run wiped out by a holding call on third down, the second-down play was also big. Byron Jones tackled Stefon Diggs for a 6-yard gain, although it appeared very close to a first down. But the officials marked it short and didn't measure. On third down, the Vikings were flagged for holding, which eventually led to a field goal by Kai Forbath. But the Cowboys were looking at giving up a touchdown and gladly took the three points instead.
Dak's catch and scramble – Everything we've liked from Dak Prescott so far this season seemed evident on one second-quarter play with the Cowboys backed up in their own territory. For starters, he caught a low snap from center around his shin and quickly got back into position to pass. He spun – Romo-like – to his left where he then pump-faked a pass with no intention to throw. Prescott cut back on a linebacker and dove for the sticks for a huge first down. From there, the Cowboys drove down and scored their first touchdown of the game.
[embeddedad0]Rudolph can't haul in TD – The Vikings trailed 7-3 late in the third quarter but had the ball inside the Cowboys' red zone. On third-and-4 from the 18-yard line, Sam Bradford had tight end Kyle Rudolph in the end zone, although he was double-covered. Still, the ball went through Rudolph's hands for an incomplete pass. That forced a field goal for the Vikings, who cut the lead to just 7-6.
TV going to commercial break – It's not often that a network's decision comes into play in the game, but the Cowboys were rather fortunate for the TV timeout after the Vikings fumbled the punt early in the fourth quarter, which was called down by contact on the field. In fact, the officials didn't even acknowledge a fumble at all. But with the break in the action, it allowed the Cowboys' coaching staff time to review the play in the booth and allowed Garrett to challenge the call, which was overturned. Had it been a quick turnaround, Dallas probably wouldn't have gotten a good enough look to risk the challenge. Instead, the Cowboys did get the ball and scored on the next play to take the lead.
Vikings miss late deep ball – The Cowboys held a 14-9 lead and the Vikings were pinned back in their territory facing a second-and-18 from the 15-yard line. Bradford went deep down the right sideline and had an open Charles Johnson for what appeared to be a huge gain. Instead, Johnson dropped the pass and the Vikings eventually had to punt it back to the Cowboys, who then drove the field for a crucial field goal. Had Johnson made the catch, the Vikings might have been able to take the lead or at least affect field position in their favor.