The Cowboys just manhandled the Vikings. Even “manhandled” might be an understatement. This was easily their most complete game as they handed one of the NFL’s best their first home loss this season. Let’s break down the positives, negatives, and assess what’s next on this short week.
From top to bottom, this team performed. Dak Prescott had one of his best games, completing 22 of 25 passes, good for his second-highest career completion percentage in a single game. He made throws on numerous occasions that were commendable, doing his part today and then some.
As for the run game, they did what they had to do on the ground with Ezekiel Elliott back. Although he only averaged 2.8 yards per carry to Tony Pollard’s 5.3, they both served a purpose today. Elliott got the tough short-yardage, scoring a couple of touchdowns, while Pollard was explosive. Pollard also caught six balls for 109 yards and two scores. He’s become one of the most dynamic pieces on this entire team and his growth has been welcomed, to say the least.
Overall, the offensive efficiency was exactly that; efficient. They converted 12 of 17 third downs and didn’t turn the ball over once. Stat lines like that will lead to happy, happy outcomes.
As for the defense, well, there isn’t enough characters to encapsulate just how dominant they were. They sacked Kirk Cousins seven times, which is the most he’s ever been sacked in a single game. They also ended his touchdown streak, which was at 39 consecutive games. Just an overall dominant performance, and they held the Vikings run game in check in the early portion of the contest. They made Cousins uncomfortable and their secondary withstood the big, bad wolf that is the Vikings receiving corps.
To top off the positive, Brett Maher had perhaps his best career game. He was remarkable, making good on all eight of his kicks, four field goals and four extra points. Some of the field goals were from long range including a 60-yarder that he had to make twice.
From top to bottom, it is one of their biggest wins in the past few years. A huge statement win against a team that will surely be one of the top seeds in the NFC is exactly how good teams respond. They were punched last week and they responded this week.
It’ll be a short week with the Giants on the menu Thanksgiving afternoon, which might not be ideal with their performance against the Lions, but it’ll have to do. If they perform even close to how they did today, they can beat any team in the NFL.