If it feels as though you saw what happened this afternoon before, that's only because you have.
The Minnesota Vikings' defense, which had performed admirably for much of the afternoon, allowed a late touchdown to Dwayne Harris from Tony Romo to fall in Big D by a final score of 27-23. The loss drops the Vikings to 1-7 on the season, tying the worst start in franchise history. The 1961 team also started out 1-7 in the first season in franchise history.
The teams exchanged field goals in the first quarter, and the Cowboys got a second field goal from Dan Bailey to make the score 6-3. The Vikings then took their first lead of the afternoon, as Christian Ponder scored in a 6-yard run near the end of the second quarter to give the Vikings a 10-6 lead going into the locker room.
Dallas came out with guns blazing in the second half, as they scored on their first possession on a 26-yard touchdown pass to Jason Witten from Romo to take a 13-10 lead. They followed that up with George Selvie stripping Ponder in the end zone, with the ball being recovered by Nick Hayden, putting the Cowboys ahead 20-10. That play was set up by Cordarrelle Patterson muffing the kick return and having the ball bounce out of bounds at the 5-yard line.
Minnesota answered back on their next drive, courtesy of a 31-yard touchdown pass from Ponder to Kyle Rudolph. Unfortunately for the Vikings, Rudolph injured his foot on the play and did not return to the game.. The touchdown got Minnesota to within 20-17, and that's where the score stood going into the fourth quarter of play.
In that fourth quarter, the Vikings took the lead back, courtesy of one of the best touchdown runs of Adrian Peterson's great career. Facing 4th-and-1 from the Dallas 11, Peterson took a handoff and got enough yardage for the first down. Held up by reserve tight end Chase Ford, Peterson regained his balance and blasted the rest of the way into the end zone. However, the normally reliable Blair Walsh missed the extra point, making the Vikings' lead 23-20 instead of 24-20. That could have come into play a bit later on, but wound up being meaningless.
The Vikings actually forced Romo into an interception by A.J. Jefferson. . .yes, that A.J. Jefferson. . .but the Vikings couldn't take advantage and were forced to punt it back to the Cowboys. Romo took over with just under three minutes to play. He moved the ball downfield against Minnesota's depleted secondary, and eventually found Harris for a 7-yard score to put the Cowboys back up 27-23. Minnesota got just inside Dallas territory on their final drive, but Ponder's Hail Mary attempt fell short of the end zone as the final gun sounded.
Ponder was. . .well, he was Ponder. He completed 25-of-37 passes for 236 yards, a touchdown, and an interception to go with his lost fumble. Adrian Peterson carried the ball 25 times for 140 yards, and Ponder chipped in 29 rushing yards on 4 carries as well. Greg Jennings led the way for the receivers with six grabs for 56 yards.
The Cowboys only attempted to rush the ball 9 times on the afternoon, and only gained 36 yards on the ground, with 27 of those coming on one run by DeMarco Murray. Romo, on the other hand, put up some big numbers, completing 34-of-51 passes for 337 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception. Jason Witten went over the century mark, with 102 yards on 8 grabs for Dallas.
The Vikings have a quick turnaround after this one, as they will host the Washington Redskins on Thursday night football in just a few days. Dallas moves to 5-4 on the year and improves their standing in the NFC East.