The Vikings fell behind the Cowboys for the first time on Sunday night when a Dallas touchdown and extra point put Minnesota in a one-point hole. The Vikings’ offense then put the Cowboys in a six-foot ditch.
The Vikings called 10 straight running plays on the next drive. Ten straight. Culminating in a touchdown that put the Vikings ahead for good.
“It just breaks your will,” coach Mike Zimmer told reporters after the game. “That’s the one thing with football. It’s a tough sport and if you allow people to run the ball like that against you, then it really deflates you, I think.”
The Cowboys made it clear, through defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, that the plan was to “take the wheels out” of the Minnesota running game. They didn’t, with Dalvin Cook running for 97 yards and adding another 86 through screen passes. Rookie Alexander Mattison added another 52 yards to the ground attack, which generated 153 yards on the night.
Compare that with the Cowboys, who managed only 50 net rushing yards, with 47 coming from Ezekiel Elliott.
In an era where passing games fuel interest in football, running games continue to be the backbone of productive offenses. The Vikings definitely had it going on Sunday night. When they do, they win.