MINNEAPOLIS: The Dallas Cowboys equaled the franchise’s longest win streak Thursday night (Friday in Manila) as they held off a frantic last minute Minnesota rally to beat the Vikings 17-15 at US Bank Stadium.
Dallas won its 11th consecutive game this season as they prevented Minnesota quarterback Sam Bradford from scoring the potential game-tying two point conversion with 30 seconds left.
“We just stuck together. That was a good team we just played but we always believe in ourselves,” said quarterback Dak Prescott who completed 12-of-18 passes for 139 yards and a touchdown.
Their offence was held to season lows in a number of areas but they found a way to pull this one out ahead of a much needed 10 day break in the schedule.
The Cowboys can become the first NFL team to clinch a postseason spot with a loss or a tie by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers or a loss by the Washington Redskins this weekend.
Bradford zipped a pass well over the head of his target in the back of the end zone on the two-point conversion. He had just led the Vikings on a thrilling eight-play, 65-yard drive that started with just over two minutes left in regulation.
On the conversion attempt, he attracted lots of pressure from the Cowboys’ defence and his desperation toss to Adam Thielen wasn’t even close.
“We have a great group of veterans who have been there and done this before so it keeps us all under control,” Prescott said.
Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant finished with 84 receiving yards on four catches including a fourth quarter touchdown while running back Ezekiel Elliott was bottled up for most of the night but did manage a 30-yard run in the fourth that set up a 39-yard field goal by kicker Dan Bailey.
For Bryant it was his 65th career touchdown, tying him for second in franchise history with Michael Irvin.
“I knew coming into this game it was going to be a tough match and I had to be on my `A’ game,” Bryant said. “Because if I wasn’t, he can get the best of you. We had a good battle. We shared our thoughts throughout the game. It was good thoughts. It’s nice playing games like that.”
Rookie phenom Elliott, who leads the league with 1,285 yards, finished with 86 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries.
Minnesota held the Cowboys to season lows in points, yards and first downs.
Bradford was 32-of-45 for 247 yards and a touchdown for Minnesota which was playing without its head coach. Mike Zimmer underwent emergency eye surgery Wednesday night and was at home recovering. Special teams coach Mike Priefer took over as the interim head coach for Zimmer who has now undergone three eye surgeries in 30 days.
The Vikings, who began the season 5-0 behind replacement quarterback Bradford, have now lost six of their last seven games to fall out of realistic playoff contention.
The Vikings were without all-star running back Adrian Peterson who is sidelined with a knee injury.