Dallas took an early 3-0 lead only to see Christian Ponder lead the Vikings down the field to tie the game 3-3 with 2:08 left in the first quarter. The opening frame ended with the Vikings all the way down to the Dallas 25. They were hoping for a TD on the possession, but thanks to a sure tackle of Adrian Peterson by Sean Lee, the Vikes failed to convert on fourth down at the Dallas 16 with 13:32 left in the first half.
The Cowboys responded with a good-looking drive. They moved down the field and appeared headed to the end zone, but Tony Romo was sacked on consecutive plays, and Dallas had to settle for a 44-yard Dan Bailey field goal with 6:35 left in the half to take a 6-3 lead in what was quickly becoming a dull game for the fans.
The Dallas lead was short-lived, as Ponder ran into the end zone with 1:41 left in the first half, to give the visitors a 10-6 lead. The drive was 11 plays, 79 yards, and took 4:54.
After a touchback, the Cowboys took over at their 20 with hopes of getting on the scoreboard again before the half. The possession started out well, but Romo was sacked for a loss of 9 on a key third down and Donnie Jones was forced to punt the ball away.
The Vikings got the ball back with 26 seconds left in the first half. They ran one play and the half ended with Dallas trailing by 4.
The Cowboys got the ball to begin the second half. The offense finally got rolling. They moved into the end zone to recapture the lead. The drive was 6 plays, 74 yards and took 3:22. After Dan Bailey added the PAT, Dallas led 13-10 with 11:38 left in the third quarter.
The ensuing kick was muffed out of bounds by Cordarrelle Patterson at the Minnesota 5. On the first play of the possession, Ponder fumbled the ball into the end zone when he was hit by George Selvie. Nick Hayden recovered the loose pigskin in the end zone for a Dallas TD, and after Bailey’s extra point the ‘Boys led 20-10 with 11:28 left in the third period.
It only took 3:17 for the Vikings to pull back to within 3 and bring the score to 20-17 with 8:11 left in the quarter. The drive was 6 plays and 77 yards. The score came on a 31-yard TD pass from Ponder to Kyle Rudolph.
Dallas began their next possession at the 20. They managed one first down, but were forced to punt away on the next series and Minnesota took back over at their 18 following the kick. They only managed 4 yards on three plays and punted away again. Dwayne Harris returned the punt back to his 35 and Romo and company came back out on offense with 4:26 left in the third.
The Cowboys failed to pick up a first down on the series, but the Vikings were for a personal foul, and after a 15-yard assessment, they had new life. It was all for naught, as Dez Bryant was called for offensive pass interference and he followed that up by taking off his helmet, which resulted a 15-ard penalty. It was more than the offense could overcome, and Dallas had to punt again, as the quarter ended with Dallas still clinging to a 20-17 lead.
Things got really crazy in the final period. Minnesota took the lead late in the game, but thanks to a missed extra point, they only led 23-20.
The Cowboys got the ball back one last time at their 10 with 2:44 left, needing a field goal to tie, or a TD to win. In what was their best drive of the day, Room led the offense on a 9-play, 90-yard drive that consumed 2:09, and Dallas regained the lead when Room hit Harris from 6 yards out with 35 seconds left in the game. Bailey added the extra point and the score moved to 27-23.
Bailey squibbed the ensuing kick, but the Vikes returned the ball out to their 40, and the stages was set for an exciting finish. It ended up coming down to one final play. Ponder’s last gasp toss into the end zone fell incomplete and Dallas escaped with a win.
The Cowboys move to 5-4 and maintain their 1-game lead over the Philadelphia Eagles who also won on Sunday. Minnesota falls to 1-7 with the loss.
Things only get tougher for the ‘Boys, as they travel to New Orleans for a Sunday Night Football clash against the Saints who were upset on the road by the New York Jets.