Cowboys snap 4-game skid, back in NFC East mix

  • Covered NFL since 1997, Cowboys since 2003
  • Previously covered Bengals and Dolphins
  • Lives in Dallas area with his wife and two children

The Dallas Cowboys snapped a four-game losing streak with a 31-28 win Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings, and all of a sudden find themselves in the NFC East chase.

No team in the division has more than three wins. The Philadelphia Eagles, who lost to the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, are in first place with a 3-6-1 record. The Cowboys, New York Giants and Washington Football Team also have three wins, but the Giants hold the tiebreaker, followed by Washington and the Cowboys.

But by the time the Eagles and Giants play again, the Cowboys might have more wins than anybody else in the division if they beat Washington on Thanksgiving.

That would require a winning streak, which is something the Cowboys have not accomplished yet this season.

Few folks, however, expected the Cowboys to win Sunday, even as they were coming off their bye week.

But the defense came up with two takeaways, leading to nine Dallas points in the first half, and two key fourth-quarter stops. The offense was able to score four touchdowns in a game for the first time since losing Dak Prescott to a season-ending ankle injury on Oct. 11.

Andy Dalton, playing for the first time since Oct. 25 because of a concussion and a stint on the reserve/COVID-19 list, threw three touchdown passes in a game for the 25th time in his career, hitting Dalton Schultz with the game-winning score with 1:37 to play.

Behind an offensive line that was using its seventh different starting combination that included Pro Bowl guard Zack Martin at right tackle, Ezekiel Elliott had the first 100-yard game of the season, rushing for 103 yards on 21 carries, setting up Tony Pollard’s 42-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. Elliott also had a receiving touchdown.

Rookie receiver CeeDee Lamb made a Dez Bryant-like touchdown grab in the first half and impacted the game more than his four catches for 34 yards would indicate.

In the end, the maligned Dallas defense stiffened after wilting in the second half — Adam Thielen had 123 receiving yards, Dalvin Cook had 115 rushing yards — with two key stops in the fourth quarter to set up Dalton’s game-winning drive and end a potential game-tying drive by Minnesota.

It was the Cowboys’ first road win of the season and the first for Mike McCarthy in Dallas.

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