Cowboys near perfect as they dominate Minnesota on the road 40-3

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Andy Clayton-King/AP/Shutterstock (13631738dg) Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott (21) scores on a 1-yard touchdown run during the second half of an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings, in Minneapolis Cowboys Vikings Football, Minneapolis, United States – 20 Nov 2022

Cowboys near perfect as they dominate Minnesota on the road 40-3

This was a much-needed win for the Dallas Cowboys, serving up a fresh-from-the-oven blowout in Minnesota 40-3. After dropping a regrettable game in Green Bay last week, bashing the 8-1 Vikings in their own building is a fantastic way to get right.

We all know what this Dallas team can do when they are firing on all cylinders. Their pass rush is the best in football, they take the ball away, and the offense controls the game from all facets. This game also proved the point that Cowboys fans are tired of hearing: when Dak is good, so are the Cowboys. When Dak is bad, so are the Cowboys.

Dak was almost perfect on Sunday, and it was needed coming out of last week. Prescott finished completing 22-of-25 pass attempts for 276 yards and two touchdowns, putting up a 139.3 passer rating, his best of the year. He led the Cowboys in racking up 458 yards of total offense and over 37 minutes of ball control. Dallas was also 12-of-17 on third down, allowing them to continue running the football.

Tony Pollard put up solid numbers on the ground and even better numbers through the air. He ran for 80 yards on 15 carries and caught six passes for 109 yards and two touchdowns. Pollard continues to be a primary source of offense and the main source of big plays.

The bigger story was the Dallas defense, which swarmed Kirk Cousins all game. The Cowboys’ pass rush entered the game as the best in football and did nothing but help their case. They sacked Cousins seven times in the game, rarely giving him a clean pocket. Micah Parsons and Dorance Armstrong both contributed two sacks, while Jayron Kearse, DeMarcus Lawrence, and Dante Fowler each put up a sack of their own.

The Dallas defense gave up points on the Vikings’ second drive, and that is it. Dallas would then score 37 unanswered points en route to a blowout win.

The Vikings would start with the ball, and immediately, the Cowboys’ defense would make an impact. On the opening set of downs, Micah Parsons would get to Kirk Cousins forcing a fumble that the Cowboys would recover, setting up excellent field position for Dallas’ first offensive possession. This would be the Cowboys’ ninth recovered fumble of the season, which ranks second in the NFL.

Dallas would start their first drive at the Minnesota 27-yard line. Following some productive runs by Ezekiel Elliott, Dak Prescott threw a pass intended for Dalton Schultz into double coverage that fell incomplete, forcing the Cowboys to settle for a 27-yard field goal. Dallas would go up 3-0 early in the first quarter.

Penalties would get the best of Dallas on Minnesota’s next drive, an issue that has plagued the Cowboys all season as the most penalized team in the league. A holding and a pass interference call on the defense would aid Minnesota in an 11-play drive resulting in a 23-yard Greg Joseph field goal tying the game 3-3 with six and a half minutes left in the first quarter. Dallas’ defense continued their streak of not allowing a touchdown in the first quarter so far this season. They are the only team in the NFL to do so.

The Cowboys would answer back on the next drive with their first touchdown of the afternoon. After leading a 10-play drive where Tony Pollard put together a pair of quality runs, it was Zeke who punched in the 1-yard score to give Dallas a 10-3 lead with a minute and a half to go in the first quarter.

The next Cowboys drive would add more to their lead. Dallas would orchestrate a 15-play drive that swallowed almost eight minutes off the clock though they could only muster 53 yards on the possession. The drive would result in a 53-yard Brett Maher field goal extending the lead to 13-3. Maher continues his incredible season, making 17-of-19 field goals on the season, with both misses on 59-yard attempts.

After the Dallas defense forced another three-and-out, the Cowboys’ offense would go back to work to extend their lead. Dallas would score their second touchdown of the game on a 30-yard pass from Dak to Pollard moving Dallas’ lead to 20-3.

Minnesota would get the ball back with just under two minutes to go in the half and would be locked up once again by Dallas’ defense. The Vikings would possess the ball for only a minute giving the ball back to Dallas with 41 seconds left.

The Cowboys would start their next drive at their own 14-yard line with all three timeouts. They would advance the ball to their own 31-yard line before a bit of controversy broke out. On the next play, Dak would complete a 27-yard pass to Ceedee Lamb down the sideline; Lamb caught the football while falling out of bounds and keeping both feet in bounds. With five seconds left on the clock, Brett Maher would drill a 60-yard field goal; however, the officials would negate it in order to review Lamb’s catch. The decision came extremely late and left many scratching their heads. The call stood and forced Maher to attempt another 60-yard bomb. Maher beat the odds and hit the field goal again, giving Dallas a 23-3 lead heading into the half.

Dallas would start the second half with the ball and immediately add more to their big lead. It took the Cowboys only five plays to march back into the end zone on a 68-yard touchdown pass to Tony Pollard, extending the lead to 30-3. This was Pollard’s second receiving touchdown of the day.

The next defensive stand by Dallas saw two sacks by DeMarcus Lawrence and Dante Fowler, continuing their constant pressure of Kirk Cousins.

The game was already shaping up to be a blowout, but Dallas’ next offensive possession furthered that fact. Ezekiel Elliott scored another 1-yard touchdown making it 37-3 with just over eight minutes to go in the third quarter. To this point, Dallas’ four touchdowns came exclusively from their running backs.

The third quarter would end with the same score as the domination continued for Dallas. Dallas’ first possession of the fourth quarter resulted in a 50-yard field goal extending the lead to 40-3. Maher was electric in this game and further proved his value this season.

After mounting a 37-point lead with just 10 minutes to play, both teams turned to their backups letting the clock wind down to completion. Even with the backups in the game, the story remained the same. Minnesota’s offense could not move the ball, and Dallas’ defense was lights out.

The game would end with the Cowboys winning big 40-3, making up for what occurred last week in Green Bay. Dallas improves to 7-3 heading into a matchup at home against the Giants on Thanksgiving and moving back into a tie for second place in the NFC East.

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