Sunday, November 3, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Dallas Cowboys
By Todd Archer
ARLINGTON, Texas -- A few thoughts on the Dallas Cowboys' 27-23 win against the Minnesota Vikings:
What it means for the Cowboys: They never make things easy, going down to the final minute before dropping the one-win Vikings.
Tony Romo's 7-yard touchdown pass to Dwayne Harris won the game with 35 seconds to go and kept the Cowboys in first place in the NFC East with a 5-4 record. Since the start of the 2011 season, the Cowboys are 17-1 against teams that are .500 or worse.
The win was the Cowboys’ fourth at AT&T Stadium, matching their home win total from a year ago.
It was an ugly win, but Garrett will undoubtedly say winning in the NFL is a hard thing to do. It’s even harder when you let bad teams stick around.
Stock watch: Tony Romo, rising. With the season on the line, Romo responded with a game-winning drive after throwing what could have been a crippling interception. Romo completed 7 of 9 passes on the 90-yard drive.
Forget the ground game: The return of DeMarco Murray was supposed to bring some sort of return of the running game, but it never happened.
The Cowboys chose to attack through the air against the 29th-ranked defense, but it’s not as if Minnesota has a great run defense. In the second quarter, the Cowboys got to the Vikings' 12 and did not even give a pretense of running the ball with back-to-back plays out of an empty set and a three-wide-receiver formation. The result was a drop and two sacks, forcing the Cowboys to settle for a Dan Bailey field goal.
Murray, who was playing after a two-game absence with a knee injury, finished with four carries for 31 yards and the Cowboys had just nine carries for the game.
Seeing stars: Last week the Cowboys couldn’t stop Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson, who had 329 yards. This week it was Adrian Peterson.
It wasn’t a historic day for Peterson, but he had some vintage moments when it mattered most on his way to 140 yards rushing. He busted free for a 52-yard run at the Minnesota 28 and then scored the go-ahead touchdown with 5:40 to play when he ran through safety Jeff Heath and linebacker Justin Durant for an 11-yard score on fourth-and-1.
What’s next: The Cowboys travel to New Orleans to take on the Saints next week. This was a game New Orleans defensive coordinator Rob Ryan has had circled since he joined the Saints after he was dismissed as the Cowboys' defensive coordinator in January. The Cowboys have lost seven of their eight games to the Saints. Their only victory came at the Superdome in 2009 (24-17) when New Orleans was undefeated.