Cooper Rush replaced injured Dak Prescott and passed for 325 yards and two touchdowns in the second half, the final 5 yards to Amari Cooper with 51 seconds to go in the Dallas Cowboys’ 20-16 win over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday night.
Rush, the fifth-year backup, gave up the offense when Prescott was put on hold in a game-time decision due to a strained right calf muscle, and directed an eight-game 75-yard drive that he got with a perfect throw against Cooper in one Fade-in ended the corner of the end zone.
Cooper had eight catches for 122 yards and CeeDee Lamb had six receptions for 112 yards for the Cowboys (6-1), whose only lead came in that last minute.
Rush overcame two turnovers, both delivered by former Dallas security guard Xavier Woods, to slash Minnesota secondary school on his first NFL start. Prescott looked approvingly from the sidelines and wore a headset to aid the coaches.
Kirk Cousins and the Vikings (3-4) were often in disarray on offense after opening the game with a 75-yard march for a touchdown pass to Adam Thielen. Greg Joseph scored three field goals to keep them in the lead, but the Vikings only hit 278 yards against a defense that allowed for the second-highest yards-per-play average in the NFL that week.
Cousins finished 23 for 35 for 184 yards, too often settling for the short dump-off option instead of shoving the ball onto the field at Thielen and colleague Justin Jefferson. Dalvin Cook had 18 carries for 78 yards, but he never found a rhythm because of all the fits and starts.
The Vikings only turned one in 13 third downs and had eight of 12 ball possession most recently, only four games or less. Woods intercepted in the second quarter and forced a fumble with his first career bag in the fourth quarter, but the Vikings didn’t turn those gifts into points.
The Cowboys’ defensive coordinator, Dan Quinn, had a masterly game plan that was nearly ruined by a lack of discipline in his group. Defense made up nine of the team’s eleven penalties, including three unnecessary roughness calls during the Vikings’ 69-yard drive to take the lead on Joseph’s 24-yard kick.
According to NFL research, Rush was the first player to pass over 300 yards and win a night game on his first career start on the street since Gary Hogeboom did it for Dallas in the 1984 season opener. Both Rush and Hogeboom are from central Michigan.
No choices for Diggs
Cowboys cornerback Trevon Diggs had ended his NFL record interception streak at the start of the season after six games in a row.
Diggs shot two penalties for covering Justin Jefferson, an apparent pass disorder, for tugging the back of his shirt on a third drop in the first quarter and illegal contact in the third quarter. Diggs also lost Thielen after a 32-yard bootleg deal from Cousins in the second quarter with fourth and first