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Dallas Cowboys edge past Vikings to stay atop NFC East

A three-minute stretch in Sunday's 27-23 win over the Minnesota Vikings effectively told the tale of this year's Dallas Cowboys.

Big D rolled up 14 points in seven seconds after Jason Witten's 26-yard touchdown catch was followed by Cowboys pass rusher George Selvie's strip-sack of Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder in the end zone. Defensive tackle Nick Hayden hopped on the ball to give Dallas a sudden 10-point lead.

The Cowboys were in prime position to choke a lesser opponent, but that's not how Dallas rolls. Within minutes, the Vikings were back in action with Ponder's touchdown strike to Kyle Rudolph -- and they'd hang around all day.

Tony Romo and Dallas played well enough to win, but the Cowboys remain an uneven beast. We've said for weeks this Jerry Jones creation has the look of 8-8 all over again, just like they were last season. And the season before that.

Here's what else we learned:

  1. Romo vowed to get the ball to Dez Bryant, but the team's best receiver had just six catches for 64 yards against a Vikings secondary that doubled him all day long. Minnesota also doubled Jason Witten, but the tight end made the most of his targets, notching his second 100-yard game of the season. All the attention paid to Bryant and Witten has turned newbies Terrance Williams and Cole Beasley into productive helpers.
  1. Sunday brought more drama from Dez. He was hit with a costly personal foul penalty in the third quarter after arguing with an official over an offensive pass interference call. The flag killed a Cowboys drive and kept the Vikings afloat.

On NFL Network
NFL Replay
will re-air the Dallas Cowboys' 27-23 win over the Minnesota Vikings from Week 9 on Wednesday, Nov. 6 at 9 p.m. ET.

  1. Ponder played his best half of the year to start the game. He was clean through the air and helped Minnesota with a handful of smart scrambles. Less impressive was how low Ponder held the ball on the strip-sack that led to the aforementioned Cowboys touchdown. Still, Ponder did enough to earn another start.
  1. Adrian Peterson had more carries by halftime -- 14 -- than he's had in any of Minnesota's past three games. For Dallas, DeMarco Murray was barely a factor, rushing for just 31 yards. It's easy to see why Dallas isn't sold on him. You never know what Murray's going to give you.
  1. The Cowboys entered the game last in the NFL in total defense, but don't blame Jason Hatcher. The defensive tackle has been a revelation this season, but suffered a neck strain in the win. The Vikings also lost right tackle Phil Loadholt (concussion) and tight end Rudolph (left foot) to injury.

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