It wasn’t a rousing victory, it wasn’t stylish or artful, and it wasn’t a dominating statement. But the Dallas Cowboys got exactly what they needed Sunday at Texas Stadium, just a plain old victory over the Minnesota Vikings, 24-14. Going into the bye week the Cowboys are now 6-1 and still lead the NFC East. In the first half the Cowboys dominated every statistical category except for turnovers and the score. Tony Romo’s fumble prevented a sure FG opportunity and a Patrick Crayton fumble was returned for a TD on another promising drive. To top off the frustrating first half, Nick Folk actually missed a kick. Thanks to the returned fumble for a TD and a powerful first drive where the Vikings were able to run on the Cowboys, Minnesota went into halftime with a 14-7 lead. The Cowboys were only able to muster one TD on a pass to Terrell Owens.
In the second half, thanks to a stiff defense that almost got a safety, the Dallas offense was able to get good field position on a punt and a penalty. Marion Barber provided some tough running around the goal line after a great catch by T.O. and cashed it in for a TD. The Cowboys then turned a Minnesota FG attempt into a TD after Chris Canty crashed the middle and blocked the kick and Pat Watkins recovered the ball and ran it in for a TD. Once Minnesota got behind, they couldn’t mount a credible passing attack and the Cowboys defense did a good job of holding the Vikings’ run game in check.
It may not have been the dominating blowout we all were hoping for going into the bye week, but it was a solid victory of an NFC opponent. The Cowboys have plenty to feel good about in going 6-1 so far this season, and they also have just enough problems to not get complacent. With Anthony Henry making progress and the addition of Tank Johnson after the Philadelphia game, Dallas will get a boost on defense. They’ll need it, as they take on their divisional foes for three consecutive weeks after the bye.