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Sean’s Scout: Cowboys Win at Vikings With Backup QB Again

For the second straight season, the went into Minnesota and beat the Vikings without Dak Prescott starting at quarterback. On Halloween night, the suspense was much higher on if Prescott would play this time around, a true game-time decision after going through a pregame workout.

The Cowboys decided to make the safe decision with their franchise QB, who had them at 5-1 well ahead of the East before . made his first NFL start, and behind another great by paired with a lockdown defensive effort on , the Cowboys escaped at 6-1 to further their claim as the best team in the NFC.

For a team that has been claiming a special chemistry and demeanor exists this year, a 20-16 road win without Prescott goes a long way. Here is how they were able to get it done in the fourth quarter:

The Vikings made quick work of in coverage to score on their opening drive, an easy adjustment for Kearse was targeted in single coverage for a 31 yard completion on the Vikings' first third down attempt. Five plays later, a miscommunication with allowed an easy completion to Adam Thielen for a touchdown and quick 7-0 Minnesota lead. Kearse has been at his best when playing down in the box against the run. The Cowboys used more of in coverage from this point on, and got Micah Parsons' career best game at linebacker, to keep the Vikings out of the end zone for the rest of the night. It remains to be seen how much draft pick Kelvin Joseph will help this secondary, making his NFL debut with two snaps on and 19 on special teams.

Cooper Rush and Cedrick Wilson caught the Vikings in the perfect coverage for their game-changing 73 yard touchdown. 's defense is known for playing with two deep safeties, which was a good coverage against Rush to force long throws into coverage or check downs. On this play, the Vikings safeties vacated the middle of the field to help on the outside against and CeeDee Lamb. The threat of Wilson down the middle was lost to them, as Rush delivered a perfect ball in stride to give the Cowboys life in a 10-3 game out of the locker room.

filled in for well at , taking the Vikings out of their has played some of his best career games against the Cowboys, and it's been up to their this year to deter teams from running the ball at them. Without the offense at full strength, this game remained close enough throughout for the Vikings to use Cook, but Quinn's defense was up for the challenge. Hamilton consistently pushed the pocket and played with great leverage to get off blocks and allow other defenders to close on plays. Where Urban was more of a one gap type of player, Hamilton can make plays up and down the line. This allows linebackers like Parsons and to stay off of blocks and make plays, something they did regularly to force Minnesota into a one-dimensional offense.

Sean's Scout: Cowboys Win at Vikings With Backup QB Again 1

Game plans for backup QBs are all about giving your play makers a chance, and the Cowboys proved they have the best in the NFL. When you have Cooper, Lamb, Wilson, and , all Rush needed to do was get the ball in these receivers' hands with a chance to make a play. Rush' pocket presence and accuracy were impressive given the Cowboys was still playing with at and at left tackle when went down. The best example of his supporting cast wanting to make plays for him came on his last two snaps of the night. On third and long, Elliott made a career play by bouncing off tackles to pick up a crucial first down. On first and goal, Rush threw the game-winning fade to Cooper. Dallas had so much confidence they would score the touchdown there that Cooper told the media postgame that Lamb wanted to line up in his spot on the play. While there may have been an energy that was missing from this game in the absence of Prescott, there was no dip in focus or attention to detail on offense for Rush to steal a road win and keep the winning streak alive.

The Cowboys will prepare for the Denver Broncos with the expectation that Prescott is playing. As their focus slowly shifts towards not only winning the but earning a bye in the playoffs, this matchup against the last place team in the AFC West means very little. Keeping their winning ways alive as they return home for two games they'll be heavily favorited in is an important step to take though, as the Cowboys staff surely breathed a sigh of relief when Denver traded Von Miller prior to this game.

Dallas was also spectators for Monday Night Football last night when their week 11 opponent Kansas City Chiefs narrowly beat the rival Giants by a field goal at home.

Sean Martin
Sean Martin
Born January 28th, 1996- Cowboys Super Bowl XXX. Point Boro Panther, Montclair State Red Hawk, and most importantly a proud member of Cowboys Nation! I host "Upon Further Review" on 90.3 WMSC FM and every Friday from 1-4 PM ET. Twitter: @SeanMartinNFL.

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