MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – They're not all going to be easy and this one wasn't for sure, but the Cowboys still found a way to scratch and claw to an 11th straight win.
On Friday, the staff writers gave their gut feeling for Sunday's game. Check out the instant reactions from the staff of DallasCowboys.com.
David Helman:Shame on me for selling this Minnesota defense short. I thought the Cowboys would score 31 points in this game, but they had to scratch and claw -- and force a timely turnover -- to even get to 17. This was as hard as the Cowboys have had to work for yards and points since Week 1. Penalties were killers, and they also had ball security issues. Kudos to them, though. They fought through all of that to take a fourth quarter lead in a deafening environment. And once Dak Prescott and Co. found the lead, this defense stepped up to maintain it. I didn't like the Cowboys' odds if this game went to overtime. But even after surrendering a 65-yard touchdown drive, this defense -- led by its much-maligned pass rush -- forced an incompletion on the all-important two-point conversion. It was a dicey, hectic, gritty, ugly game. But the Cowboys found a way to win it, which speaks volumes about their resolve.
Nick Eatman:Obviously I thought this game would be a little-higher scoring than it turned out to be, but I did expect quite a grind. It was certainly that and more, as the Cowboys needed a two-point stop once again for the win. This is a good football team when you can go on the road, lose most of the key stats, and still win. That's because the Cowboys were the better team and just found a way to grind this one out. I didn't hit any of my particular stats, although I did say Dak would score a rushing touchdown. He didn't, but he definitely made a difference with his legs. His running turned this game around in the second quarter and even at the end when he was scrambling around the edge. The only thing pretty about this game was the W at the end.
Rob Phillips:I've been to the old Metrodome and figured if U.S. Bank Stadium was anywhere close as loud (it was), Thursday would be a grind-it-out game for the Cowboys because the Vikings' defense was as good as advertised. Give credit to this Cowboys defense for stepping up and holding Minnesota to 15 points after getting criticized all week for a tough fourth quarter on Thanksgiving. A big takeaway from Kyle Wilber helped the offense in a game where possessions were at a premium. How about this: the Cowboys scored a season-low 17 points, were outgained in total yardage for only the fourth time and had their worst third down conversion percentage (1-of-9) of the season. Yet they still found a way to win. That's what good teams do on the road.
Bryan Broaddus:I knew it would be difficult for Dallas to throw the ball. What I didn't expect was that they would have difficulty running as well. By the way that the Vikings were able to hold up on the outside in coverage it allowed their safeties to cheat down and help deal with the run. Elliott lost a chunk run of 42 yards early in the game but other than that the Vikings were up to the task in handling the Dallas running game. If Dallas could have run the ball better, they could have controlled this game and it wouldn't have come down to a two-point conversion because the Vikings offense was challenged to make plays. In taking a look at the final numbers, it was the Vikings that ran 69 plays to the Cowboys 49 which was their lowest of the season. The Cowboys still came away with the victory but it surely wasn't the way that I thought it was going to happen considering the lack of offensive snaps they were able to take.
For the initial gut feeling predictions of the staff writers posted on Friday, click here.