Kirk Cousins and the Minnesota Vikings can’t beat good teams in prime time on the road.
Except when they do.
Thanks to an efficient night from Cousins and a huge effort from the Vikings’ running game, the purple walked into AT&T Stadium on Sunday Night Football and took down the Dallas Cowboys by a final score of 28-24.
The Vikings opened the scoring with a highlight-reel touchdown pass from Kirk Cousins to Kyle Rudolph. On a second-and-goal play that looked like Cousins might have been trying to throw it away, Rudolph made one of the most incredible 1-yard catches you’ll ever see.
oh man oh man oh man oh man pic.twitter.com/LbXrgWm2kA— Christian D'Andrea (@TrainIsland) November 11, 2019
Dan Bailey’s extra point gave the Vikings a 7-0 lead after that drive, which featured a pretty heavy dose of Dalvin Cook in the passing game.
After a Dallas punt, Minnesota marched their way down the field again, and once again found themselves in a goal-to-go situation from the 1-yard line. The Cousins-to-Rudolph combination worked so well the first time, the Vikings went with it again, and got the same result.
Kyle Rudolph's second touchdown pic.twitter.com/NWWIT6zyA5— Arif Hasan, hates turkey (@ArifHasanNFL) November 11, 2019
Bailey added the extra point again, and at the end of the first quarter the Vikings had a 14-0 lead over the Cowboys.
The home team finally got on the board midway through the second quarter, thanks to a 23-yard touchdown pass from Dak Prescott to Michael Gallup. The drive was set up by a bad punt from Britton Colquitt that gave the Cowboys the football in Minnesota territory to start the drive.
Dallas tied things up on their next drive, as Prescott found one of the Vikings’ old enemies, Randall Cobb, on a 22-yard pass on the first play after the two-minute warning to make the score 14-14.
Minnesota did manage to answer with a field goal, a 26-yarder from Dan Bailey before halftime, to take a 17-14 lead into the locker room. The Vikings also got a short field goal from Bailey on their first possession of the third quarter, a 27-yarder to extend the lead to 20-14.
Dallas then took their first lead of the evening, as a 75-yard drive concluded with a 12-yard touchdown pass from Dak Prescott to Amari Cooper, who caught it right on the edge of the sideline and dragged his feet inbounds. Maher added the extra point, and the home team pulled ahead, 21-20.
The Vikings took the lead back on their next possession, with Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison leading the charge down the field. The Vikings appeared to be in the end zone on what would have been a 17-yard run by Mattison, but after review he was ruled down inside the 1-yard line. The Vikings then pushed it to a 4th-and-goal situation, and Cook went in from the 2 for the touchdown. Minnesota then went for a two-point conversion, and Cousins connected with Kyle Rudolph to make the score 28-21 right at the end of the third quarter.
Dallas cut into the lead with ten minutes remaining in the game, as Maher connected from 23 yards out to make it a four-point game at 28-24. Dallas got another opportunity with the ball at the end of the game, and they faced a 4th-and-4 from the Minnesota 13-yard line. Prescott attempted to complete a pass to Ezekiel Elliott, but it was broken up by Eric Kendricks to force a turnover on downs.
Minnesota had to punt the ball after Dallas burned their timeouts, but the Cowboys couldn’t navigate their way to the end zone and the Vikings held on for a much-needed victory.
Kirk Cousins, who reportedly can’t win big games in prime time against good teams, had a pretty solid evening, all things considered. He completed 23-of-32 passes for 220 yards and a pair of touchdowns, and made pretty solid decisions all night long. Dalvin Cook led the team in receiving with 86 yards on seven catches in the screen game. Stefon Diggs had 49 yards on three catches, and Irv Smith Jr had five grabs for 34 yards. Olabisi Johnson had a pair of receptions for 25 yards, and Laquon Treadwell (10 yards) and Alexander Mattison (2 yards) had one reception each. Kyle Rudolph had what we might call an “efficient” night, as he caught four passes for 14 yards, but was on the receiving end of both of both of Cousins’ touchdown passes.
Cook eventually got things going in the run game as well, as he carried the ball 26 times for 97 yards and a score. Alexander Mattison also chipped in with 52 yards on eight carries.
The Vikings move themselves to 7-3 and remain one game behind the Green Bay Packers in the NFC North. They’ll return to U.S. Bank Stadium next week to take on the Denver Broncos. The Cowboys fall to 5-4, and will travel to take on the Detroit Lions next Sunday afternoon.
The Minnesota Vikings hold on in a prime time thriller, taking down the Dallas Cowboys by a final score of 28-24 at AT&T Stadium. Thank you to everyone that got their coverage of this week’s game right here at The Daily Norseman!