offense with five tackles, three sacks, four tackles for losses, six quarterback hits and a forced fumble.
With those guys wreaking havoc up front, while also doing a commendable job of holding the Cowboys to a reasonable amount of rushing yards, 92 on 25 carries and nothing longer than 17 yards, the Vikings were able to play their safeties over the top, making sure they did not leak any big plays to the likes of Miles Austin or Patrick Crayton or Roy Williams - over even Felix Jones.
There is a reason why the Vikings won every one of their home games this season, going 9-0 with this victory over the Cowboys. There is a reason why they won their eight regular-season home games by a 17-point average margin of victory, while giving up an average of just 12.5 points a game.
"It was just hard out there," Romo said.
Hey, if you think about it, it's been hard on the Cowboys offense all season long scoring points on the road ever since that 34-point output in the opener at Tampa Bay. Only once thereafter did they score more than 24 points, and at that needed overtime in Kansas City to reach 26.
That's why I thought the play of the game, or more appropriately the decision of the game, came with 5:53 left in the first quarter of a scoreless game. The Cowboys had been moving the ball their first two possessions, picking up four first downs. They appeared to have some semblance of an offense.
So there it was, fourth-and-one, but more precisely, like a foot or two - 24 inches at the most. They were at the Minnesota 30-yard line. That particular series they already had rushed three times for 21 yards, and set the tone on the first series with the option pitch to Austin on third-and-one for eight yards.
You are on the road, and to me, you can't be toe-dippin' on the road. You've got to be aggressive, or as Jimmy Johnson once said, "if you're planning on hitting a gorilla, you'd better hit with everything you got."
What do the Cowboys do? Head coach Wade Phillips decides to toe-dip, opting to attempt a 48-yard field goal, but not attempting a 48-yard field goal with Morten Andersen or Adam Vinatieri or even 2008-vintage Nick Folk. He's sending Shaun Suisham out there, and nobody at The Ranch can tell me they haven't been holding their breath every time he's gone out there to kick a field goal, no matter if it was from 28 or 48.
You got to go for it there, if for nothing else, to tell your team, by golly I believe in you guys; I've got confidence - and also to tell the Vikings, you'd better watch out, we're coming after you; there is no telling what we might try.
Come on, if you are playing the percentages, who you gambling on, the marginal minimum-wage kicker for three points or my multi-million dollar offense to gain 12 inches? To me, there was little downside to going for it on fourth down. If you miss, OK, the Vikings get the ball at the 30. If you miss the field goal, they are getting the ball at nearly the 40.
You pick up the first down, you keep alive the chance of scoring a touchdown. You hit the field goal, and you're up 3-0 on the road. Big deal.
Because even if Suisham's kick didn't slightly hook left at the last second, four plays later the Cowboys would have been trailing 7-3. To me, field goals get you beat in the playoffs.
Which brings me to the next point about the lack of aggressiveness: On Favre's 47-yard touchdown pass to Sidney Rice, the first of three, why are the Cowboys playing zone defense? Why do you have a corner the caliber of Terence Newman passing off his guy to the strong safety, Gerald Sensabaugh, on second-and-six? And why in the world didn't Newman do something - anything - to reroute Rice close to the line of scrimmage? Worse, the Vikings' receiver on the other side, Bernard Berrian actually was more wide open with Ken Hamlin way late rotating over the top of Mike Jenkins.
Yeah, I know Sensabaugh ran step for step with Rice, had him covered, but never found the ball. Not even after Rice pranced into the end zone. Weird. About as weird as Rice's second touchdown grab, when he dived to the feet of DeMarcus Ware, cut-blocking him at the line of scrimmage. But as the initial call broke down and Favre bought some time rolling to his