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Five winners and five losers as the Dallas Cowboys drop a heartbreaker to the Minnesota Vikings

A tough loss to swallow for the Cowboys.

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Dallas Cowboys Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys lost to the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday night.

Dak Prescott lost to the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night.

It was a tough loss for Cowboys fans to take as the team got stellar play from the most important position in the game and it was all for not. As always there were winners and losers from the contest, here’s our official list.


Winner: Dak Prescott

This was one of the finest game of Dak Prescott’s career. He was absolute money and while his stat line will show an interception, it only happened because of a last-second Hail Mary attempt that wouldn’t have even been necessary had his team not ruined the penultimate offensive possession by running (we’ll get there).

Prescott has played at an MVP level so far this season. It’s a shame that his effort was wasted. At least we got these jokes from the internet.

This one had me rolling.


Winner: Randall Cobb

Cobb put together his first 100-yard receiving game as a member of the Cowboys, he was all over the place.

One of Cobb’s catches was an amazing touchdown that came on a free play. It was spectacular.

Another fine performance that ended in a losing effort. Sigh.


Winner: DeMarcus Lawrence (and Michael Bennett)

Tank was maybe the only player on defense to show up. It feels weird to call any defensive player a winner, but he (and Michael Bennett too for that matter) was all over the place.

He’s living up to his contract. Another high-profile defender isn’t at this moment.


Winner: Amari Cooper

He continues to amaze. All the time. It’s unreal.

Bravo.


Winner: Michael Gallup

He didn’t have a 100-yard game like Cooper and Cobb, but he did get into the endzone. The offense took a while to start, but once it did it was rolling.

All wasted.


Loser: Jason Garrett

What happened on the final possession (not the final one, the final one of substance) is inexcusable. How could the Cowboys possibly justify running it two times in a row after what they had seen from Dak Prescott on that drive (and all night)?

The Cowboys hindered their quarterback on Sunday night. Unfortunately this is something that fans who rooted for Tony Romo will remember well, it’s hard to believe we are here again. It was more than that if we’re being honest, though. We already touched on being aggressive... but that had other moments.

Tavon Austin was clearly coached to call a fair catch on the punt that gave Dallas a Hail Mary opportunity. To tell him to do so makes sense in one line of thought but it operates in a vacuum that doesn’t allow for any sort of change. That they weren’t prepared for a punt that allowed room to run is inexcusable.


Loser: Defensive coaching

How does something like this happen at any moment in any game ever?

The Cowboys got destroyed on defense by the player that they obviously had to guard against. They were in no way prepared for Dalvin Cook and had to pay a price as a result.


Loser: All of the linebackers

We spent all offseason hyping up Leighton Vander Esch, Jaylon Smith, and reserve Sean Lee. That was fair considering what we saw last season.

That has been totally absent nine games through 2019 (save for Lee’s game at New York last week). The linebackers are perhaps the weakest point on the defense right now and totally folded against Minnesota. Vander Esch looks nothing like his Wolf Hunter nickname indicates, Jaylon Smith is constantly behind someone, and Sean Lee’s vintage performance was a flash in the pan.


Loser: Being aggressive

Early on in the game the Cowboys were very shy offensively. They punted in situations that it would have made a lot of sense to be aggressive and try to convert a fourth down. The analytics behind those decisions are pretty damning.

Those things loomed large near the end of the game.


Loser: Kellen Moore

While Jason Garrett deserves his fair share of blame, Kellen Moore should not get out of this without any himself. Moore’s offense took a while to get going against the Vikings and what’s more is when it finally did he kept trying to undo it.

The Cowboys worked to establish the run against Minnesota, they can rest easy knowing that. Early on this season it appeared as if Moore was gong to be a coach that steered into his players’ strengths, but on Sunday night it was the polar opposite.