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Cowboys vs. Vikings: Monday morning recap

The win over the Vikings wasn’t pretty, but it’s the kind of win every good football team needs to gut-out in the course of a season. Like I said last night, this is a good win to go into the bye week with, not so good that the team feels like they’ve reached a certain level that can lead to overconfidence, but they still got the victory and were clearly the better team on the field.

The big play came from special teams when Chris Canty blocked a FG and Pat Watkins returned for the TD.

"I just felt like it's a big play at the right time," Watkins said of recording the first touchdown of his NFL career. "We just took it from there, of course. I'm just happy I was able to make the play with my teammates and I'm happy it was a turning point in the game."

Both Watkins and Canty give credit to an unlikely source, Captain Caveman.

Watkins and Canty readily spread the credit around. Some of it went to second-team linebacker Bobby Carpenter, who propelled Canty into the backfield from behind.

"It was a good job of execution by Bob Carpenter," said Canty, who has a red welt on his right arm from blocking the kick. "He was the one that really made the play. He pushed me through the double team. He pushed me through, and I just made the play that I was supposed to make."

Not only was Carpenter integral to the block, but he also made a difference on the return.

"I got a good block from Bobby, and I just took off and ran," Watkins said.

Well, I guess that’s something for our former first-round pick.

As I discussed in detail last week, and as Tim Cowlishaw failed to discuss last week, the Cowboys have a formula on defense.

"That's really our formula -- to stop the run and create some takeaways and get to the quarterback," Cowboys linebacker Bradie James said of his defense, which has yet to allow a 100-yard rusher this season.

"Akin [Ayodele] and I and all the linebackers, we take it upon ourselves to stop the run. Once we figured out what they were doing and what their approach was, we were able to make plays."

The duo of Bradie James and Akin Ayodele has really been integral to our run defense, and Sunday was no exception. Plus, James got a fumble recovery on Jason Hatcher’s strip of Adrian Peterson.

The Vikings defense was not going to give up the big play deep in the passing game. So Tony Romo was patient and took what they gave him. Seems he’s learned his lesson from the Buffalo game. Jason Witten and Terrell Owens both had productive days, including 10 catches by Witten.

"They played a kind of Cover 2 zone there," Witten said. "I think their mindset was, let us throw it underneath. They weren't going to give up a big play, though. Tony did a great job of staying patient and getting it down to me and the backs. When we had opportunities to get it down the field to T.O. he did.

"By playing that defense you have to go on long drives and put some plays together because they don't give up those big plays."

Speaking of Romo, here’s his description of the play that left him with a bruised hamstring.

"That guy was about to kill me," Romo said with a laugh. "I kind of looked in his eyes and he looked like he was ready to take a hit more than I was at that point.

"I tried to get in his way, but there were two blockers there. At the end of the day, I just tried to take him out."

Instead, the slide almost took Romo out.

"Someone told me I got kicked. It was just boom! and that thing hurt. Somebody said it might be just a bruise or something. It hurt a lot when I went down and I couldn't put any weight on it or anything."

Not only can turnovers lessen your chances of winning, but they can get your QB hurt!

The Cowboys are happy to be 6-1, that’s a fantastic record to be taking into the bye week. But as I noted last night, penalties and turnovers are something the Cowboys have got to get control over.

"We're happy to be 6-1 and where we are at, but at the same time, we can't be satisfied," tight end Jason Witten said. "Those penalties and turnovers, that's what good teams don't do. We don't make it look easy a lot of times. New England and those teams make it look easy, and that's kind of where we've got to get."

Yup, if we want to be elite and steamroll the NFC East in the nest three games, eliminating penalties and turnovers would be a great place to start.

Here’s a general review of the game.

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