Year in Review

Year in Review: Most Important Win of 2021 Season


FRISCO, Texas – We've put some distance between ourselves and the end of the Cowboys' season, so it's easier to look back with some perspective.

Of course, it was a year that ended in disappointing fashion. But ending the ending, there's plenty that can be learned from a journey that started all the way back in May.

This week, the staff of is looking back at their picks for the biggest moments and contributions from the 2021 season – for better and for worse.

Today, we'll focus on the most important win of the season.

Rob Phillips: at Minnesota. When the final whistle blew on Halloween night, I remember thinking, "Wow, this might be a special season." The Cowboys went to Minnesota 5-1 with the league's most dominant offense, but beating a physical Vikings team without Dak Prescott in that stadium – you have to be there to understand how loud it is – is the type of game championship teams win. The defense put more on their shoulders, Cooper Rush did a great job filling in at quarterback, and offensive coordinator Kellen Moore put Rush in positions to succeed. A gritty, complementary win.

David Helman: I don't know if I've ever believed in a Cowboys team more than I did when they jogged off the field at Gillette Stadium following that overtime win over the Patriots. Seemingly everything went wrong that day – they fell behind early, they had special teams miscues, they were penalized 12 times for 115 yards. And still they fought back, racked up 567 yards, forced overtime and raced out of town with a dramatic, fun, walkoff win. It was one of the most fun Cowboy games I've ever covered – and ironically, the problems they overcame that day turned out to be the problems that were their undoing later on. Which is strangely fitting.

Nick Eatman: I have this thing about Week 2 games. I always think they're so important. If you lose the first one, you better not lose in Week 2. And if you do win, it goes a long way to building some momentum by grabbing the second game. So I'm always going to say the Chargers win is big but this year it was even bigger. We learned things. We learned Micah can rush the passer. We learned Tony Pollard can be a weapon – with Zeke. We learned that AT&T Stadium isn't the only place where a road team's crowd can take over and we learned Greg Zuerlein can indeed hit clutch kicks – even from 56 yards out. That was my favorite and most important win.