Dallas Cowboys 20-16 Minnesota Vikings: Cooper Rush leads Cowboys to victory in first career NFL start | NFL News

Cooper Rush, starting at quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys in place of the injured Dak Prescott, completed 24 of 40 throws for 325 yards, two touchdowns and one interception; Prescott tested his strained right calf prior to the game but it was determined he wasn’t fit to play

Last Updated: 01/11/21 5:23am

Dallas Cowboys backup quarterback Cooper Rush completed 24 of 40 throws for 325 yards, two touchdowns and one interception in winning his first career NFL start

Dallas Cowboys backup quarterback Cooper Rush completed 24 of 40 throws for 325 yards, two touchdowns and one interception in winning his first career NFL start

Cooper Rush threw a touchdown pass to Amari Cooper inside the final minute to lead the Dallas Cowboys to a 20-16 upset win over the Minnesota Vikings in his first career NFL start on Sunday Night Football.

Story of the Game

Rush was starting at quarterback in place of the injured Dak Prescott and he was mightily impressive in completing 24 of 40 throws for 325 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Prescott tested his strained right calf prior to the game but it was determined he wasn’t fit to play.

Prior to his Sunday night start, the 27-year-old Rush had thrown just three total passes in his NFL career, all coming in 2017, but his accomplished performance as a starter saw Dallas (6-1) to a sixth-straight victory.

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After Greg Joseph kicked a 24-yard field goal – his third of the night – to again see Minnesota nudge ahead with just two minutes and 51 seconds remaining in the game, Rush then drove the Cowboys 75 yards down the field on eight plays, capped with the game-winning touchdown toss to Cooper.

Kirk Cousins completed 23 of 35 passes for 184 yards and one touchdown for the Vikings (3-4), who were outgained on offense 419 yards to 278 by Dallas.

Stats leaders

Cowboys

  • Passing: Cooper Rush, 24/40, 325 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT
  • Rushing: Ezekiel Elliott, 16 carries, 50 yards
  • Receiving: Amari Cooper, eight catches, 122 yards, 1 TD
  • CeeDee Lamb, six catches, 112 yards
  • Cedrick Wilson, three catches, 84 yards, 1 TD

Vikings

  • Passing: Kirk Cousins, 23/35, 184 yards, 1 TD
  • Rushing: Dalvin Cook, 18 carries, 78 yards
  • Receiving: Adam Thielen, six catches, 78 yards, 1 TD
  • Tyler Conklin, five catches, 57 yards
  • Justin Jefferson, two catches, 21 yards

Scoring Summary

Scoring summary

FIRST QUARTER
Cowboys 0-7 Vikings Kirk Cousins 20-yard TD pass to Adam Thielen (extra point)
SECOND QUARTER
Cowboys 3-7 Vikings Greg Zuerlein 38-yard field goal
Cowboys 3-10 Vikings Greg Joseph 45-yard field goal
THIRD QUARTER
Cowboys 10-10 Vikings Cooper Rush 73-yard TD pass to Cedrick Wilson (extra point)
Cowboys 10-13 Vikings Greg Joseph 40-yard field goal
Cowboys 13-13 Vikings Greg Zuerlein 39-yard field goal
FOURTH QUARTER
Cowboys 13-16 Vikings Greg Joseph 24-yard field goal
Cowboys 20-16 Vikings Cooper Rush five-yard TD pass to Amari Cooper (extra point)

Key Plays

Cousins and the Vikings struck first in the contest as their quarterback tossed a 20-yard touchdown pass to Adam Thielen on the opening drive of the game.

Rush immediately looked assured in leading the Cowboys 50 yards down the field on his opening series, but Greg Zuerlein missed with the resulting 43-yard field goal try. Rush would then be picked off on their next possession.

Dallas did finally get on the board courtesy of the boot of their kicker, as Zuerlein was successful from 38 yards midway through the second quarter, but then Joseph restored Minnesota’s seven-point lead with a 45-yarder of his own before the half.

The second half then started in blistering fashion as Rush threw his first career touchdown pass on the third play after the break. Hitting Cedrick Wilson in stride at around midfield, the receiver then did the rest to complete a stunning 73-yard touchdown to tie the game.

Sadly it was to prove a rare offensive bright spark in an otherwise sloppy second half. The Vikings nudged in front once more via a Joseph field goal, only for Zuerlein to answer with one of his own after a Wilson trick-play 35-yard throw to CeeDee Lamb.

Xavier Woods, who came down with the second-quarter interception of Rush, strip-sacked the backup quarterback in the fourth quarter, with Anthony Barr recovering the football, though the Vikings would fail to add points off the turnover.

Joseph would later kick another field goal to give the Vikings a 13-10 lead late, but ultimately it would be Rush who’d have the final say.

He’d find Ezekiel Elliot for a key 15-yard completion on 3rd-and-11 from the Minnesota 20-yard line to earn a fresh set of downs and, rather than having to attempt a field goal try to maybe force overtime, Rush then found Cooper in the endzone for the game-winner on the next play.

Cousins and the Vikings would be left with 51 seconds left on the clock but, other than one 13-yard completion to Thielen, they’d fail to move the ball any considerable distance as the Cowboys clinched a memorable road win.

What’s Next?

The Cowboys (6-1) are back in Dallas next Sunday, hosting the Denver Broncos (4-4), while the Vikings (3-4) head out to Baltimore for a meeting with the Ravens (5-2).

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