Dak Prescott and his offense devoured the Vikings defense in a way that shows what they're capable of, and in hostile territory against a team that was white-hot before Week 11
MINNEAPOLIS – Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys offense don't have anything to answer for this week, unless the Minnesota Vikings decide to file assault charges or pray to Odin the Allfather for what happened at U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday, when the Cowboys flew in like valkyries to hand them one of the most humiliating losses in franchise history.
The 8-1 Vikings suffered their biggest loss of the season - by a country mile - and only their second on the year in a 40-3 dismantling at the hands of Prescott, Tony Pollard and a healthy Ezekiel Elliott.
With the latter two pummeling and gashing the Vikings, Prescott was free to make plays in the air, and that's exactly what he did. The two-time Pro Bowl quarterback finished with one of the most efficient games of his career, throwing for 276 yards on 22-for-25 passing with a quarterback rating of 139.3 - his highest of the season.
In all, the Cowboys offense racked up a massive 458 total yards, converted 12 of their 17 third down attempts, earned 23 first downs and possessed the ball for more than 37 football minutes.
It wasn't simply a statement win for the Cowboys. It was an LED billboard glowing aggressively over the Twin Cities skyline that read "We Are Better Than You".
"It was very huge, we needed it," said Lamb. "Just everything that revolved around this game."
The Cowboys scored on their first seven possessions of the game - four touchdowns and three field goals - the first time since the NFL expanded the schedule to 16 games (1978) that the franchise was able to achieve such a feat.
And, speaking of field goals, kicker Brett Maher left his fist-print on the face of the contest with a 60-yard boot he was forced to make twice after the first was deleted due to a controversial review of a dynamic CeeDee Lamb catch.
Oh, and the catch? Well, let's just say there are ballerinas who regularly star in The Nutcracker who might've gotten jealous at what they witnessed from Lamb.
It was that good.
"Most definitely the potential is there [for the offense to play at that level every week]," Lamb added. "We understand what we have in this [locker] room], and playing less than that just pisses us off as a unit - as much work as we put in to get to this point."
As far as what happened at Lambeau Field? Call it a gut check, per the Pro Bowl wideout.
"I wouldn't say we need an L, but we definitely need a gut check every now and then," Lamb admitted. "Hopefully, like I said, it won't lead to a loss but every now and then you have to check your engine. … We just have to play our best [every] week."
The return of Ezekiel Elliott played into the victory in a major way, as the Cowboys rode him heavily during their first offensive drive to set the tone for the offense, before Tony Pollard then took advantage of an off-balance Vikings defense that included Prescott utilizing a big game from him, Lamb and critical plays from Michael Gallup and Noah Brown to round out the best offensive performance thus far by the Cowboys.
Prescott himself even contributed to the rushing attack, much like Pollard did in the receiving game, making timely decisions with his legs to extend drives and/or keep plays alive - e.g., the avoided sack that eventually led to one of the team's first seven scoring drives.
"It's just about knowing that I can go get three or four [yards] to stay ahead of the chains," said Prescott, whose afternoon also included a first-down run on an RPO (run-pass option). "Or even get back to the line of scrimmage … it's huge because it's not putting us in negative situations and it makes it easier on the play-caller. It's just us as an offense continuing to move forward."
Many will rightfully label the Cowboys victory at U.S. Bank Stadium as a statement win, but Prescott isn't going to treat it as if there's an award being handed out on the way back to Dallas.
"We just gotta hold each other accountable," said Prescott. "This team can be special, but we've gotta take it one game at a time. We can't have a winning hangover and start smelling ourselves after this win. It's about turning the page and getting in tomorrow and being our best tomorrow."
In only four tomorrows, they'll host a Giants team they defeated early in the season but who is also looking to bounce back from a disappointing loss to the Lions - an NFC East matchup on Thanksgiving Day that both clubs would love to have as a victory under their belt.
If they can perform in Arlington on Thursday the way they did in Minneapolis on Sunday, the Cowboys will have a very good chance at not being the team unable to enjoy their Thanksgiving meal due to an upset stomach.
But, in Week 11, the Vikings felt the wrath of the football gods, who were clearly in favor of the Cowboys.