Imagine you didn’t suffer through this Vikings’ game. If I told you Kirk Cousins was 22-30 for 314 yards, three touchdowns, and zero interceptions while Dalvin Cook ran for 115 yards and a touchdown, you’d probably assume they won this week, right? Even watching the game, it felt like Minnesota should have won this game. Minnesota seemed like the better team for most of the night; Dallas just got a few lucky breaks that made the difference.
That said, the Cowboys did get Andy Dalton back this week, and they were fresh coming off their bye. Ezekiel Elliott also had his best game of the season which helped Dallas get a big win to keep their playoff hopes alive.
Ezekiel Elliott came into this game without having 100 yards in any game this season. Mike McCarthy said that his goal this week was to get his star involved by running the ball 30 times, and it worked. Dallas ran the ball 31 times while Elliott gobbled up 103 yards on the ground. He also caught two passes for 11 yards and a touchdown.
There are a few twos when it comes to analyzing Viking turnovers this season. During the winning streak, the Vikings had two total turnovers with a +4 differential. The biggest issue for the early season offense was these turnovers. Minnesota turned it over two or more times in every loss coming into today.
Well, the turnovers struck once again. Two costly first half fumbles led to 10 Dallas points, and the second shut down a very promising Vikings drive. Minnesota lost the turnover battle today, and they are now a -8 in differential in their six losses.
As if the turnovers weren’t enough, the Vikings had eight penalties for 80 yards. The biggest came in the second quarter. Britton Colquitt successfully completed a fake punt pass to Kris Boyd, but the play was nullified. Turns out, Boyd committed an illegal shift and was not set when the ball was snapped.
On the next play, an actual punt this time, Boyd proceeded to illegally block a Dallas player above the waist. Over the course of two plays, the Vikings watched a 15 yard gain get wiped off the board, and Dallas got the ball at their own 48. Dallas proceeded to move down the field and score a touchdown. Of course, there were six other penalties throughout the game, but these two on consecutive plays were particularly backbreaking.