ARLINGTON, Texas – The Cowboys and Vikings certainly played an entertaining game that went back-and-forth all night. The Cowboys had their chances to win, especially in the fourth quarter with the ball inside the 20-yard line.
Those plays will be remembered and talked about all week, but all games have other plays that might go unnoticed, yet still play a factor in the outcome. Here are the five you can’t forget about:
Cobb’s early third-down drop – On the Cowboys’ first drive of the game, the Cowboys had a third-and-long at the Vikings’ 39-yard line. Randall Cobb was open but couldn’t come up with a low pass from Dak Prescott, who was being heavily rushed. While it was unclear if Cobb would’ve been able to get free for a first down, the ball likely would’ve been around the 32. Instead of Brett Maher’s 57-yard attempt, he could’ve tried from 50 and probably could’ve had a better kick. Either way, the drop on third down ultimately killed the drive. It also gave the Vikings the ball at their 47-yard line, setting them up for an easy touchdown drive to start the game.
Diggs moves the chains – On Minnesota’s second drive, which began back on its own 10-yard line, the Vikings had a third-and-5 and the Cowboys were needing a big stop to get off the field and capitalize on good field position. But a third-down conversion to Stefon Diggs over the middle for 11 yards not only moved the chains, but gave the Vikings some breathing room. Minnesota eventually drove the length of the field and scored a second touchdown to grab a 14-0 lead.
Diggs scoops the pass before half – With the ball near midfield in the final minute of the second quarter, the Cowboys looked to get off the field on third down when the officials ruled a pass hit the ground before Diggs could catch it. However, with it being inside of two minutes, the play was reviewed and showed that Diggs got a hand under the ball and made the 27-yard catch to the Cowboys’ 26. That gave the Vikings a chance to get a field goal and take a 17-14 lead.
Vikings’ decision to get 2 points – Near the end of the third quarter, with the Cowboys leading 21-20, it appeared as if the Vikings had scored on a run by Alexander Mattison with 2:09 left in the third. The Vikings sent out the kicking unit for the extra point, only to have the play automatically reviewed and overturned, saying Mattison was down inside the 1. The Cowboys defense was able to force the Vikings into a fourth-and-goal, where Dalvin Cook scored the go-ahead touchdown with just six seconds before the fourth quarter. This time, Minnesota head coach Mike Zimmer decided to go for two points, and the Vikings converted on a pass to Kyle Rudolph. Had the score only been 27-21, perhaps it would’ve changed the end of the game as the Cowboys were inside the 20-yard line and would’ve needed a field goal to tie.
Zeke stuffed for 1 yard – While so much was made about the Cowboys’ drive in the final two minutes, the problems running the ball occurred all game. How about early in the fourth quarter, the Cowboys were down 28-21 but had a first-and-goal from the 6-yard line. On first down, Ezekiel Elliott was stopped for just a 1-yard gain. A few more yards there and not only does it change the play-calling, but perhaps turns into four-down territory. Instead, the Cowboys were forced to throw it twice – both incomplete. The Cowboys didn’t tie the game but had to settle for a field goal, which proved to be the final points of the game for either team.