MINNEAPOLIS – The Cowboys dominated on offense, defense and special teams. Add all that up and you get a blowout win on the road against the Vikings, who entered the game with a record of 8-1.
But the Cowboys were clearly the better team and showed it all day long. There were plenty of big plays in this one, but all games have those "hidden" plays that affect the outcome.
Stopping Cook for 3-yard gain – Ok, so in a blowout like this you have to be creative to find some plays that make a difference. On the Vikings' first drive, Dalvin Cook rushed for four yards on first down but on second-and-6, he was stopped for just three yards. Not only did it probably give the run defense some early confidence after what has happened lately against the run, but it forced the Vikings into a passing situation. On third down, Micah Parsons sacked Kirk Cousins and forced a fumble that led to an early Dallas field goal.
Hockenson's drop in the end zone – Just like the Cowboys drove the ball on the previous possession only to stall on third-and-3 at the Minnesota 9-yard line when tight end Dalton Schultz couldn't haul in a Dak Prescott pass in the end zone, the Vikings did the same thing at the Dallas 6-yard line. They missed a touchdown on second-and-2 as Cousins' pass to tight end T.J. Hockenson was dropped in the back corner of the end zone. The Vikings didn't convert the third down either and had to settle for a field goal to tie the game.
Gallup gets big third-down catch – With the game tied 3-3 in the first quarter, Prescott hit Michael Gallup for a big 14-yard completion on third-and-3. It was Prescott's first completion of the day, but extended the drive that eventually led to an Ezekiel Elliott 1-yard touchdown run. Without that conversion, the Cowboys not only don't score there but certainly don't begin the game with seven consecutive scoring drives.
Prescott's escape from a sack – Early in the second quarter, Prescott was nearly sacked for a huge loss around his own 6-yard line but somehow managed to get away and then scramble to his left. He picked up just a yard, although it was a difference of about 12 yards if he had been sacked. The Cowboys kept the drive going and eventually got a 53-yard field goal from Brett Maher. If Prescott is sacked there and it's second-and-21 from inside the 10-yard line, a more conservative set of calls likely follows with the Cowboys probably punting.
Prescott finds Lamb for sideline catch – We all remember the two big kicks by Maher before the half, but let's not forget the sideline catch by CeeDee Lamb to even put them in that position. Lamb's footwork was masterful on the sideline as he hauled in the 27-yard catch. Prescott did a great job of extending the play and rolling to his right to make the throw. All setting up Maher's 60-yard field goal, and then his second one after the NFL surprisingly decided to review the Lamb catch about five minutes after it occurred.