Cowboys fall to Vikings 28-24 as a futile running game wastes a great passing attack - Tom Ryle, BTB
Tom Ryle recaps the game, writing that the team wasted a great passing attack versus the Vikings and wasted a golden opportunity.
A big issue for the Cowboys was that, for most of the game, their defense just could not get a stop. They only forced three punts all night long. Cousins has had some pretty bad games against Dallas in the past, and while he did not have a huge yardage total, he made so many key completions in this one. The pass rush simply could not get to him, despite the interior of the Minnesota line coming into the game banged up, and getting worse as it went on due to injury. Cousins gave them little chance to reach him, as he was firing the ball out quickly and accurately. And Dallas’ defense was particularly vulnerable to screens to Cook, getting burned on almost every one.
An old problem reared its head to start the game. The Cowboys got off to a slow start, as the Vikings dominated the first quarter. The Dallas coaching staff made some questionable decisions, starting with repeated first down runs that didn’t succeed by any measure. They handed the ball to Elliott on five consecutive first downs despite the ineffectiveness. It constantly put the Cowboys behind schedule, and it led to stalled drives on their first two possessions. Things were compounded when the decision was made to try a 57 yard field goal on the first drive, which gave the Vikings the ball at their own 47. They capitalized on it to march easily down the field and take an initial 7-0 lead.
This may have been a case of Dallas getting outcoached, but it also had a lot to do with a failure to execute at key times. Now the Cowboys are back in a tie with the Philadelphia Eagles, and have many questions to answer just to try and keep in the race for the NFC East. It was a day where many teams stubbed their toes, but that is no comfort. A golden opportunity was squandered, again, at home.
Playoffs?! Maybe. But likely not more than that.
The Cowboys were able to overcome poor starts to win games against bad teams, but they were down 14-0 after one quarter to the Vikings (7-3). They worked back into it because of quarterback Dak Prescott and receiver Amari Cooper. But the defense could not get off the field and in the second half they could not stop Dalvin Cook (97 yards). They simply had too many missed tackles.
For the first time in four games, running back Ezekiel Elliott did not rush for 100 yards. The Vikings kept him in check, not allowing a run longer than six yards. The last time Elliott had a run for at least 20 yards came in the Week 2 win against Washington.
Prescott (388 yards, three touchdowns) put the Cowboys in position for the go-ahead touchdown, driving the Cowboys to the Vikings 9. But Elliott was stopped for no gain and a loss of three yards, which marks the first questionable decisions by first-year offensive coordinator Kellen Moore. Prescott’s fourth-down pass to Elliott was deflected away by Eric Kendricks. A Hail Mary pass was intercepted on the final play from scrimmage.
It was a hope and a prayer, kind of like the Cowboys’ season now.
Dak played an outstanding game on Sunday under the lights, but the team just could not get it done.
Despite having next to no success on the ground, Dallas insisted on pounding the ball on early downs and forcing their offense into disadvantageous situations. Elliott went for just 47 yards on 20 carries, and was targeted on the Cowboys’ incomplete fourth down try as well.
Where the Cowboys were awful in the run game Sunday night, Dak Prescott was nearly perfect through the air. A Hail Mary interception aside, Prescott went 28/46 for 397 yards and 3 touchdowns. His play was the main reason this team even had a chance in the fourth quarter, as the defense struggled to slow down Dalvin Cook all game long. Cook rushed for 97 yards and a touchdown, and added 86 yards on 7 catches in the passing game as well.
It is a shame that the Cowboys wasted such special performances from Dak and Coop.
In a game where Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper looked unstoppable against the Minnesota Vikings’ secondary, the only thing that seemed to stop them was their own running game.
The Cowboys need to pay Dak Prescott.
5. Prescott, like Cooper, is going to get paid. He’s going to get paid by the Cowboys. One way or the other.
The Cowboys used to be built around Elliott. They now are built around Prescott.
Prescott now has five career games with 375 or more passing yards, the second-most in team history behind Tony Romo’s six.
Prescott has passed for at least 300 yards in three games this season to establish a new season high. It is the most 300-yard games by a Cowboys quarterback in a single season since Romo had three in 2006.
On this night, though, the Vikings were the better team.
Cowboys vs. Vikings final score: Dalvin Cook can’t be stopped as Minnesota notches big road win - Joe Rivera, Sporting News
The Cowboys are searching for signs of consistency. They fell to 5-4 with a tough schedule ahead. They also wasted one of Dak Prescott’s bigger performances this season (28-of-46 passing for 397 yards, three touchdowns and one INT). Amari Cooper also had a big game with 147 yards through the air and a dazzling touchdown.
It was all for naught, however, as the Cowboys dropped to 3-3 at home in 2019.
5 thoughts from the Cowboys’ loss to the Vikings, including questionable play-calling down the stretch - Calvin Watkins, SportsDay
Watkins writes on five thoughts from Sunday’s loss. The run defense is, and has been, a major cause for concern.
The run defense is getting smashed
Toward the end of the third quarter, the Cowboys run defense was smashed to bits. The Vikings ran the ball 10 consecutive times, ending when Dalvin Cook scored from the 1 with two seconds left in the quarter. It was a physical drive that saw Cook and his backup, Alexander Mattison, run through the Cowboys. You could say there were missed tackles and all of those kinds of things, but in reality the Cowboys’ front was pushed back on this 13-play, 75-yard drive that took nearly seven minutes off the clock. The Cowboys defensive line, a weak spot heading into the season, was strengthened by the trade of Michael Bennett, but the Vikings weren’t afraid of it. Coming into the game, the Vikings had the second-most rushing yards in the NFL at 1,377.
The final drive looked so, so promising, only to end like ... that.
The final drive of the night for the offense bogged down after three questionable play-calls. The Cowboys passed the ball with efficiency until they got deep in Vikings territory. After pass plays of 20 yards each to Amari Cooper and Randall Cobb, the Cowboys got to the Vikings 19 with two minutes left. After an 8-yard completion to Cooper, the Cowboys tried to run the ball. Ezekiel Elliott got no yards on 2nd and 2 and then another run play to Elliott went for a 3-yard loss. With the game on the line on a fourth-down play, Dak Prescott threw a sideline pass to Elliott that was knocked away by linebacker Eric Kendricks. Three run plays down the stretch, all questionable.
The national media had some thoughts from the Cowboys’ loss to the Vikings as well:
Dak was incredible tonight— Mina Kimes (@minakimes) November 11, 2019
I’d love to see Dak Prescott play with a capable head coach. Is that too much to ask?— Geoff Schwartz (@geoffschwartz) November 11, 2019
Imagine not thinking Dak is great— new-age analytical (@benbbaldwin) November 11, 2019
Dak Prescott, on the other hand, added +24 points to the expected scoreline— Cowboys Stats & Graphics (@CowboysStats) November 11, 2019
This team should be 7-2.— Jonah Tuls (@JonahTulsNFL) November 11, 2019
1) Dak played an MVP game against the Vikings tonight, but the Dallas coaching staff shaved points.
2) The New York Jets.
Alas, the Cowboys are 5-4 and will likely have to win the division to make it.
On 1st down the #Cowboys:— John Owning (@JohnOwning) November 11, 2019
Passed 14 times for 108 yards (8.3 YPA).
Ran 16 times for 39 yards (2.44 YPC).
We reacted to everything from Sunday night’s game on the postgame episode of The Ocho.
Make sure that you never miss an episode from Blogging The Boys by subscribing to the Blogging The Boys podcast feed!