Vikings Defense Cools Cowboys Offense

Posted by Mike Wobschall on January 18, 2010 – 6:49 am

The Dallas Cowboys came into Sunday’s Divisional Round Playoff game as one of the hottest teams in the NFL with one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL.

In their 2 previous games heading into Sunday’s contest, Dallas had scored 58 points against the Philadelphia Eagles. And in their last 4 games, the Cowboys averaged 433.0 yards and 24.8 points per contest.

With a confident and in-rhythm QB – Tony Romo – playing behind a massive offensive line and with a talented group of pass-catchers, Dallas was poised to continue their hot streak against the Vikings and setup a rematch with the New Orleans Saints, the very team they beat back on December 19 to begin their 4-game winning streak.

But then something happened. And that something was the Vikings defense, a unit that put on a stunning performance in holding the explosive Cowboys to just 3 points and only 248 net yards of offense. With the Vikings offense matching the excellence of the defense, Sunday’s game turned into a lopsided affair – a 34-3 Vikings victory.

“We knew it was going to be a battle all four quarters, and for the most part it was,” LB Ben Leber said immediately after the game. “I never imagined it would be this lopsided.  You have to give a lot of credit to their offense.  They came in a high-powered offense, explosive.  We thought it was going to be a big-time dogfight, and we did a good job holding them to three points.

So what was the key to the Vikings defensive dominance? There were probably a number of factors, beginning with the Vikings ability to pressure Romo. The Cowboys QB was sacked 6 times and hurried or hit on many more occasions.

Another reason, though, was the Vikings ability to limit Dallas’ explosive plays. The Vikings definition of an explosive play is a run of 12+yards and a pass of 16+ yards. The Cowboys, one of the NFL’s most explosive teams over the past month, had just 3 explosive plays on Sunday (2 passes, 1 run).

Key in the defense’s ability to limit Dallas explosiveness was sound coverage and technique, as well as solid tackling.

“You obviously never want to have guys get behind the coverage and make big plays,” Leber explained, “but secondly, we did a good job of keeping everything in front of us.  We did a good job of tackling and not having many explosive plays against us.  The game plan worked, and we executed pretty well.”

Leber makes a good point. Players on the field did their job by executing the scheme and making plays. But there’s a reason coaches put in so much time during the week.

“That’s a credit to (defensive coordinator) Leslie Frazier and the whole defensive coaching staff,” Vikings CB Benny Sapp said. “They came in this week and were real tough on us. They knew Dallas was a big-play team. We wanted to erase that off the field today, and that’s what we did.”

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Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 10 Comments »

10 Responses to “Vikings Defense Cools Cowboys Offense”

  1. By Scott on Jan 18, 2010 | Reply

    I have 2 tickets to the Saints / Vikings game. I live in Louisiana and would like to know if someone from out of town would like to buy them. Section 128 row 23 seats 22-23 Plz endzone in the dome. Great seats!! 1800 for the pair

  2. By Scott on Jan 18, 2010 | Reply

    e-mail me at

  3. By Jim on Jan 18, 2010 | Reply

    Breaking news: The 2009 Dallas Cowboys have denounced the 1992 Dallas Cowboys for scoring 21 4th quarter points against the Buffalo Bills. The final score was Dallas 52 Buffalo 17.

    Unidentified Cowboy players point out that this the NFL and it is classless for any NFL players to keep playing when they have a 4th quarter lead.

  4. By VIKING in nh on Jan 18, 2010 | Reply

    gotta love it , just like i said last friday no brice,doomsdayd or any other vulgar cowboy fans here. there were some cowboy fans here last eve and they had class! you are welcome back anytime !

  5. By Adriano Freire on Jan 18, 2010 | Reply

    Ha Ha Ha, it feels good, it feels better they are so upset about the score, I remember reading Favre lips and gestures saying “one more” after the 3rd TD, and he did it!

    I’ve created an iPhone and Android app to blow the Vikings horn and to help Vikings Fans to celebrate and cheer our go to the Superbowl Call your cowboy friends and show them :)

    You can find it on the Android Market or here for the iPhone: – I hope everybody likes it. I will be updating it with the Vikings theme and song very soon.

  6. By Joe on Jan 18, 2010 | Reply

    you pitifull viking fans FINALLY have something to celebrate…your last super bowl appearance was when, in the 70s..your last title game you lost to Keith Brookings Atlanta Falcons team yrs ago…all we here about in Cowboy nation is crying about a hail marry pass that cost you a super bowl appearance…you guys have super bowl appearances but no trophies….i hope the yikes get there and win it all so the fans will stop crying..The Cowboys will always be America’s Team…Beware of Drew and company….dont be a fool with your “pants on the ground”

  7. By Jodi on Jan 18, 2010 | Reply

    What a butt whipping. I had so much fun watching the game. I remember the last playoff game against the Cowboys. I know the Saints are going to be tough but aren’t all the games in the playoffs tough. I want the Vikings to win but may the best team win. I do need the joke about the Vikings trophy case to go away.

  8. By Corinne Earley on Jan 18, 2010 | Reply

    Go Brett / Go Vikings, Take em down!!!

  9. By greezythumb on Jan 18, 2010 | Reply

    Cowboy fan here, first off congratulations on a well deserved victory. Vikings looked as strong as ever. The coaches did an excellent job of of game planning and play calling. I knew it was a matter of time before someone exposed that overrated Jason Garrett and that big marshmallow O-Line of ours. Oh yea, my apologies for the Brookings immature behavior. I’ve never believed in begging for mercy. Good luck with the rest of the journey.

  10. By Lito on Jan 19, 2010 | Reply

    Well done Leslie. I hope you get a head coaching job this year but first help the Vikings win its first Super Bowl. The whole team is fun to watch. I hope also that you dominate and win the next two games convincingly. Go Vikings!

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