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Backup QB Leads Dallas Cowboys to Victory Against Vikings

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Dallas Cowboys QB Cooper Rush (10) throwing a pass during the second half of the game against the Minnesota Vikings. | Image by Bruce Kluckhohn, AP

The Dallas Cowboys came away with a dramatic road victory against the Minnesota Vikings on October 31, 2021.

The Cowboys pulled off their 20-16 victory even with starting quarterback Dak Prescott on the bench, nursing a strained right calf muscle injury.


The Halloween night game marked Cooper Rush’s first start as quarterback in the NFL. Rush is a fifth-year backup quarterback who the Cowboys signed as an undrafted free agent in 2017.

Rush put on a solid performance, passing for 325 yards and two touchdowns while only being picked off one time.

The high point of Rush’s performances came when he converted in the red zone by lobbing a 5-yard pass to Amari Cooper with 51 seconds left in the fourth quarter.

This came as part of a broader 75-yard touchdown drive that previously witnessed Cooper make a circus catch that bounced off his hands and Minnesota cornerback Bashaud Breeland’s body. Displaying great concentration, Cooper was still able to haul in the catch for a gain of 33 yards, extending the Cowboys’ game-winning drive.

The game was a low-scoring affair, with the Cowboys defense holding the Vikings below 20 points. The Vikings were only able to net 177 passing yards and 101 rushing yards.

Although Rush had a sluggish start, the fifth-year quarterback hit his stride in the second half of the game.

Rush hit Cedrick Wilson for a 73-yard touchdown on the third play of the third quarter to tie the game 10-10.

Though Rush committed two turnovers, an interception, and a fumble that was forced by former Dallas safety Xavier Woods, he never lost his composure in the second half.

“I was glad everybody got to see that because that’s Cooper Rush,” Dallas head coach Mike McCarthy said. “He plays the quarterback position like a seasoned veteran.”

According to an ESPN recap, “[Amari] Cooper had eight catches for 122 yards, and CeeDee Lamb had six receptions for 112 yards,” further continuing the receiving duo’s strong performances that Dallas Express previously covered.

Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins finished the game 23 for 35, with 184 yards and one touchdown.

Although the Cowboys’ defensive unit did not give much in yardage, it at times made fans nervous with the nine penalties that the defense accumulated, including three unnecessary roughness infractions.

Trevon Diggs, who has been on a red-hot start regarding interceptions, saw his six-game streak of picking off quarterbacks come to an end against Minnesota.

With this victory under their belt, the Cowboys hold a commanding lead at the top of the NFC East division with a record of 6-1. The closest team behind the Cowboys are the Philadelphia Eagles, who have a 3-5 record.

Overall, the Cowboys are in fourth place in the NFC, with the Green Bay Packers (7-1), Arizona Cardinals (7-1), and Los Angeles Rams (7-1) boasting better records.

On November 7, the Cowboys will square off against the Denver Broncos at home at 12 PM Central Time.

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