The Cowboys kept rolling in our weekly Madden simulation, downing the Minnesota Vikings on the road 28-18 thanks to a second-half blitz. But what were the biggest takeaways from the win?
3. Dear opposing quarterbacks, if you haven’t learned to stop throwing at Trevon Diggs by now, you’ll never learn, and we thank you for that.
Trevon Diggs didn’t waste much time making his presence felt in this game, intercepting Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins on his first pass of the day and taking it back 23 yards for the score to give Dallas a 7-0 lead.
While the score would be the only touchdown of the first half for the road team, the defense would continue to play well, largely bottling up Dalvin Cook and doing just enough to contain Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson to put the team in position to notch another quality road win.
2. Amari Cooper might be soft-spoken but his play is often anything but.
While the Dallas offense turned things around in the second half, scoring 21 points to take firm control of the game, it was Amari Cooper’s big play that seemed to break things open. On the Cowboys’ first drive of the second half, Cooper hauled in a 15-yard catch and then spun out of a would-be tackler’s grasp before turning on the jets and racing down the sideline to dive for the pylon.
The score increased Dallas’s lead to 14-3 and was the first of three consecutive touchdown drives after the offense was shut out in the first half. What’s more, Cooper continued to make big catches on third down to extend drives and break the back of the Vikings’ defense.
1. The Cowboys' defensive line is officially a problem, and you love to see it.
While Dalvin Cook did have a couple of nice runs, he never broke the big play Minnesota needed to get on track and open up the play-calling. They fed him early and often but his impact was fairly minimal, save for a three-yard touchdown run on the second play of the fourth quarter that helped Minnesota cut the lead to 14-11.
Osa Odighizuwa broke free and brought down Kirk Cousins for a big sack on the Vikings’ second possession, thereby keeping momentum with Dallas following Diggs’s pick-6, Randy Gregory remained a menace to the Vikings’ offensive line. Other standouts included Keanu Neal and Anthony Brown, who each recorded five tackles, and Brown intercepting Cousins to set up Dallas’s final touchdown of the day to essentially ice the game with four minutes remaining.
A lot of things went right for the Cowboys overall, in spite of the offense’s slow start. What’s most evident, however, is that the defense is not only no longer a liability but rather a growing strength of the team. And given how elite the offense is capable of playing, a competent, playmaking defense should make the Cowboys a scary matchup for any team across the league.
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