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With Dak down, Cooper Rush passes Cowboys previous Vikings 20-16

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Cooper Rush’s first NFL begin was a press release victory for the surging Dallas Cowboys with beginning quarterback Dak Prescott caught on the sideline.

With each alternative to outlast the fill-in for the first-place staff on the opposite facet, Kirk Cousins and the Minnesota Vikings withered down the stretch.

Rush subbed for the injured Prescott and handed for 325 yards and two second-half touchdowns, the final a 5-yard throw to Amari Cooper with 51 seconds left within the Cowboys’ 20-16 victory over the Vikings on Sunday night time.

“It was simply pretty much as good because the dream,” Rush mentioned.

Rush, the fifth-year backup handed the offense when Prescott was shelved in a game-time choice on account of a strained proper calf muscle, directed an eight-play, 75-yard drive he completed with an ideal toss to Cooper on a fade within the nook of the tip zone.

“I used to be glad everyone received to see that, as a result of that’s Cooper Rush,” coach Mike McCarthy mentioned. “He performs the quarterback place like a seasoned veteran.”

Cooper had eight catches for 122 yards, and CeeDee Lamb had six receptions for 112 yards for the Cowboys (6-1), whose solely lead got here in that remaining minute. Rush related with Cedrick Wilson for a 73-yard rating on the third play of the third quarter to tie the sport at 10.

“Belief the matchups on the surface,” Cooper mentioned he saved telling Rush. “These guys can’t guard us.”

Rush overcame two turnovers, each delivered by former Dallas security Xavier Woods, to slice up the Minnesota secondary as Prescott watched approvingly from the sideline.

Kirk Cousins and the Vikings (3-4) have been incessantly in disarray on offense, after opening the sport with 75-yard march for a landing cross to Adam Thielen. Greg Joseph kicked three discipline objectives to maintain them in entrance for a lot of the night time, however the Vikings totaled solely 278 yards towards a protection that was permitting the second-highest yards-per-play common within the NFL coming into the week.

Cousins completed 23 for 35 for 184 yards, too typically settling for the brief dump-off possibility moderately than pushing the ball up the sphere to Thielen and fellow star Justin Jefferson. Dalvin Prepare dinner had 18 carries for 78 yards, however he by no means discovered a rhythm due to all of the matches and begins.

The Vikings transformed solely one among 13 third downs and had eight of 12 possessions final solely 5 performs or fewer. Woods had an interception within the second quarter and compelled a fumble together with his first profession sack within the fourth quarter, however the Vikings didn’t rating after both of these presents.

“It was a mix of protection and strain,” Cousins mentioned.

Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn had a masterful recreation plan that was almost undone by an absence of self-discipline by his group. The protection accounted for 9 of the staff’s 11 penalties, together with three pointless roughness calls in the course of the 69-yard drive by the Vikings to take the lead on Joseph’s 24-yard kick. Almost half of these yards got here from penalties.

“Each recreation we simply cling round, cling round, cling round, let the staff cling round, as a substitute of simply placing our foot on the fuel and going,” Thielen mentioned.

DUAL THREAT

Wilson blew by Mackensie Alexander on a submit route for his third landing of the season to carry the Cowboys out robust within the second half. Later within the third quarter, he had an enormous hand on a drive that ended with a discipline objective by Greg Zuerlein that tied the sport at 13. He drew a cross interference penalty on Alexander that netted 14 yards. Then on a trick play, Wilson took a handoff, scurried round within the backfield to keep away from an enormous loss and located Lamb for a 35-yard completion.

“I can’t say sufficient about him,” McCarthy mentioned. “He’s excellent.”

RUSH JOB

In response to NFL analysis, Rush turned the primary participant to cross for 300-plus yards and win in his first profession begin on the street in an evening recreation since Gary Hogeboom did it for Dallas within the 1984 season opener. Each Rush and Hogeboom hail from Central Michigan.

NO PICKS FOR DIGGS

Cowboys cornerback Trevon Diggs had his season-opening NFL-record-tying interception streak stopped at six straight video games, and the youthful brother of former Vikings large receiver Stefon Diggs had a tough night time.

Diggs took two penalties whereas protecting Justin Jefferson, a blatant cross interference for tugging the again of his jersey within the first quarter on a 3rd down throw and an unlawful contact within the third quarter. Diggs additionally misplaced Thielen on a 32-yard bootleg completion by Cousins on fourth-and-1 within the second quarter that arrange the primary of two discipline objectives by Greg Joseph. Diggs additionally sprained his ankle late within the recreation.

INJURY REPORT

Cowboys: LT Tyron Smith (ankle), who was listed as questionable to play, aggravated the damage within the second quarter and was dominated out for the remainder of the sport. Ty Nsekhe took his place. … Backup LB Jabril Cox (knee) left within the third quarter after getting harm on the punt staff.

Vikings: DE Danielle Hunter (shoulder) was harm within the second quarter and dominated out at halftime for the rest of the sport. He’ll have an MRI examination on Monday. … CB Patrick Peterson (hamstring) was injured within the final recreation previous to the bye and can miss not less than two extra video games. DT Michael Pierce (elbow) sat out for the third straight recreation.

UP NEXT

Cowboys: Host Denver (4-4) on Sunday.

Vikings: At Baltimore (5-2) on Sunday.

___

Extra AP NFL protection: https://apnews.com/hub/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

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CELINE CASTRONUOVO

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