NFL Nation: Cowboys-Vikings 011710 RR

Rapid Reaction: Vikings 34, Cowboys 3

January, 17, 2010
1/17/10
4:10
PM ET
MINNEAPOLIS -- Tony Romo had a chance in this game -- for at least one possession. Like they'd done in recent weeks, the Cowboys quickly marched down the field on their opening possession, but Romo was sacked by Vikings defensive end Ray Edwards and he fumbled the ball away. This would be a recurring theme in this game.

And once the Cowboys lost starting left tackle Flozell Adams to a right calf strain, all hope was pretty much lost. On the Cowboys' first possession without Adams, Vikings All-Pro defensive end Jared Allen raced around tight end Jason Witten and knocked the ball loose from Romo. The Vikings made it 17-3 after that play and the Cowboys didn't pose a serious challenge the rest of the game.

With better protection up front than Romo was afforded, Vikings quarterback Brett Favre threw two touchdowns in the first half. He hit Sidney Rice on a gorgeous 47-yard throw that Cowboys safety Gerald Sensabaugh literally never saw coming. Sensabaugh actually matched Rice step for step but he never looked up to find the ball. And as Rice strided into the end zone for his first of three touchdowns, Sensabaugh looked around to see what happened.

This was supposed to be two evenly matched teams, but I thought the hotter team (the Cowboys) would prevail. But it was obvious early in the game that the Vikings' pass rush was simply too potent for the Cowboys to handle. Cowboys coach Wade Phillips will get to coach this team for at least one more season. He's certainly earned that right. But the Cowboys will have to spend the offseason figuring out why they couldn't hold up against an elite defense.

I'm sure some Cowboys fans will be upset that Brad Childress chose to run up the score late in the game. But hey, the Cowboys are the ones who helped provide the opportunity. I'm headed to the visiting locker room. I'll have a column for you guys in a couple hours. Stay tuned.
MINNEAPOLIS -- The NFC’s season-long dream matchup is now a reality.

New Orleans and Minnesota will square off next Sunday in the NFC Championship Game, thanks to Minnesota’s thorough dismantling of Dallas at the Metrodome. Receiver Sidney Rice (three touchdowns) and a dominating pass rush (six sacks, three turnovers) simply overwhelmed what had been a red-hot Cowboys team.

It will be Minnesota’s first appearance in the NFC Championship Game since the 2000 season.

The Vikings were a confident team all year at the Metrodome, where they finished 9-0 and scored at least 27 points in every game. They are 4-4 on the road and will need every bit of the pass rush they displayed Sunday to slow down New Orleans’ explosive offense.

There have been some wild Vikings-Saints games at the Superdome recently, as we discussed Saturday. But let’s slow down here. We have plenty of time to talk about the delicious pending matchup. For now, let’s agree that the Vikings just dismantled a popular recent pick to win the Super Bowl.

I wasn’t a big fan of the Vikings’ decision to leave their starters in the game and throw into the end zone on fourth down with 1:55 remaining. But with the Saints looming, it’s clear that coach Brad Childress wasn’t about to let his foot off the gas.

More in a few hours.

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