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Grading the Dallas Cowboys victory over the Vikings with Cooper Rush at the helm

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Against all doubt, Cooper Rush and the Cowboys prevailed.

The will he or won’t he play storyline surrounding Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott was answered as his backup Cooper Rush played against the Minnesota Vikings. Rush was able to lead a game-winning drive in the fourth quarter thanks to a defensive stand from the Cowboys defense. Even though it wasn’t the prettiest of games, from Rush and the defense, they were able to pick up the win and at the same time give the Cowboys some stability behind Prescott.

Let’s take a look at how the Cowboys did this week from a coaching aspect and on offense and defense.

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Overall: B+

Whenever your team is able to pick up a come-from-behind victory against a worthy opponent, then your team is doing something right. The Cowboys had some missteps along the way, a dropped pass here, overthrown ball there, and some questionable penalties didn’t help either. Yet, without their spiritual leader on the field, they were able to do what many didn’t think they would in Minnesota, win. Tough teams win tough games and the good teams should be able to do it no matter who they have playing in games. That’s exactly what the Cowboys were able to do.

Coaching: A

If your team is able to pick up a win on the road without your starting quarterback, then your head coach and offensive coordinator have done a good job preparing your team. They played games with the media this week about Prescott’s status, but that kept the Vikings guessing and might have helped. The Cowboys defense was able to keep the Vikings offense off-balance thanks to some nicely timed blitzes and coverage schemes from Dan Quinn. Overall this was a strong display of coaching skills from the Cowboys this week.

Quarterback: A-

Starting in your first NFL game under the bright Sunday Night Football lights hasn’t been too kind to quarterbacks in the past, but Rush was able to get the job done. Going 24/40 isn’t a great stat, but the 325 yards and two touchdowns that came with it make up for the at times poor throws from Rush. His two turnovers dock his grade just a bit. Overall, this was a learning experience for Rush and when he goes back and looks at the tape and realizes how many passes he wasn’t set before throwing he will see something to work on. Hopefully, the Cowboys won’t have to see him take the field anytime soon, but if they do they know they have a quarterback that can win.

Running Backs: B-

The Cowboys needed a solid game out of Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard to take the pressure off of Cooper Rush, and they were able to make some plays to help out. Without Prescott on the field, the Vikings decided to try and take away the Cowboys running game and force Rush to beat them, so the overall output was not great. But Zeke was able to make a huge run after a catch to set up the winning touchdown, and at various other points they picked up key first downs on the ground. Zeke also pitched in with pass protection, but Pollard had a big error in that area which led to the Rush fumble.

Wide Receiver: A+

The Cowboys receivers stepped up big-time in this game and were able to help Rush. Cedrick Wilson had 84 receiving yards, a 35-yard pass, and a 73-yard touchdown. Amari Cooper had a team-high 122 receiving yards and the game-winning touchdown in the back of the endzone with 55 seconds left in the game. CeeDee Lamb did his part as well with 112 yards receiving and doing a lot of the heavy lifting early for this group. Outside of Lamb’s dropped pass, this unit stepped up and made plays when they needed. It was another strong performance at a time when they needed them the most.

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Tight Ends: C

It was an unusually quiet night from Dalton Schultz and Blake Jarwin this week with Schultz being the only one to catch passes. Rush didn’t use the tight ends as much in the passing game as Prescott does, so the production was low. While their presence wasn’t felt in the passing game, they were able to help in on the blocking game to give Rush time to make passes, especially when Tyron Smith went down with an injury.

Offensive Line: B-

The Cowboys offensive line was under constant attack from this Vikings defensive front thanks to Rush’s presence under center. At times they were able to give Rush time to go through his progressions, and then there were times where he was under pressure, one of which caused a sack-fumble, but that was more on Pollard missing the blitz pickup. Things got worse once Tyron Smith went down with an ankle injury as Ty Nsekhe had his struggles in pass protection. The running game was also average as they couldn’t open up big holes. But this unit held together and was able to do just enough to pull off the win against a very tough defensive front.

Defensive Line: B-

The Cowboys defensive line wasn’t showy on the night, they only had one sack by Randy Gregory, but they helped control a Vikings offense that has a lot of talent. Dalvin Cook only had 78 yards rushing and a 4.3 average carry. They managed to make Kirk Cousins uncomfortable at times and the Vikings only had 184 yards passing and scored 16 points. Overall, the stats aren’t going to blow you away although they did finish with eight QB hits, but they were able to keep things contained and stiffened when the Viking got close to scoring. They did pick up some unnecessary penalties which needs to be corrected.

Linebackers: A+

The Cowboys main linebackers, Micah Parsons and Leighton Vander Esch, did a very good job of keeping Vikings running back Dalvin Cook in check for most of the game. They also did a good job of taking away the crossing routes and getting into the backfield to make plays in the running game. Parsons in particular was everywhere on the field getting 11 tackles with four of them for loss. The Vikings running backs are good in the passing game, but they contributed very little in this game, another testament to Parsons, Vander Esch, and Keanu Neal getting the job done. It was an outstanding effort from the middle of the defense.

Secondary: B

The streak has finally come to an end as Trevon Diggs wasn’t able to pick up an interception. They may not have had any interceptions this week but they were able to hold two very good receivers, Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen, in check. The Cowboys safeties were also able to make their presence felt breaking up passes as well and stopping Cook from picking up more yards. For this group, the Cowboys have to hope that the injury to Diggs isn’t too serious as they can’t afford to lose him.

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As we do every week we put together highlights from the latest Dallas Cowboys win over on the Blogging The Boys YouTube Channel. Make sure to subscribe to our channel (which you can do right here) so you don’t miss any of our videos!


WATCH COWBOYS/VIKINGS HIGHLIGHTS RIGHT HERE.



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Aaron Rodgers to the Jets? Giants' free agency options & Mike McCarthy's future with Cowboys | Ask Jay Glazer

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Jay Glazer discussed whether Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers will head to the New York Jets, the New York Giants’ free agency options, and breaks down Mike McCarthy’s future with the Dallas Cowboys.



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Super Bowl LVII: Chiefs and Eagles will meet for title in Arizona

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Patrick Mahomes finally got the best of Joe Burrow. 

All he needed was a little shove.

Harrison Butker made a 45-yard field goal with 3 seconds left — after Cincinnati’s Joseph Ossai was flagged for a 15-yard penalty for shoving Mahomes after he was out of bounds — and the Chiefs beat the Bengals 23-20 in the AFC championship game to make it back to the Super Bowl.

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Kansas City will face the Philadelphia Eagles in the Super Bowl on Feb. 12 in Glendale, Arizona. 

The Eagles opened as a 1 1/2-point favourite, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

There are no shortage of storylines: Kansas City coach Andy Reid goes against his old team — which he led to Super Bowl 39 — in a game that’s also the first matchup of Black starting quarterbacks in the Super Bowl with Mahomes and Philadelphia’s Jalen Hurts. 

On top of that, there’s a brother-against-brother showdown between Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce and Philadelphia center Jason Kelce.

“Officially done being a Chiefs fan this season!! ” Jason Kelce tweeted immediately after the Chiefs won.

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The Chiefs have been making deep postseason runs on a regular basis ever since Mahomes came to town as the franchise quarterback. 

This was their fifth straight trip to the AFC title game and will be their third Super Bowl appearance in that span. They beat the 49ers for the NFL title in the 2019 season, but lost to the Bucs the following season.

The Eagles clobbered the Niners 31-7 in the NFC title game earlier Sunday. They’ve looked dominant in the playoffs so far, also beating the New York Giants 38-7 in the divisional round.

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Philadelphia is back in the Super Bowl five years after beating the New England Patriots 41-33 on Feb. 4, 2018. 

Now a mostly new generation of Eagles — led by coach Nick Sirianni and Hurts — will come to Arizona to try and win another title.

The Chiefs-Bengals game looked as if it was going to overtime before Ossai’s ill-advised play. Mahomes — who was playing on a badly sprained ankle — was running to get a first down in the final seconds as Ossai desperately tried to track him down. 

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Mahomes was out of bounds when Ossai gave him a shove, sending both players tumbling to the turf. The ensuing 15-yard penalty was enough to push Butker into field-goal range and the kick split the uprights.

A distraught Ossai sat on the bench with his head in his hands, well after the game was over.

The Bengals and Chiefs were playing for the fourth time in less than 400 days and Cincinnati had won the previous three meetings — all by three points. This one was decided by a field goal, too, and all Burrow could do was watch.

The Bengals lost to the Rams in last year’s Super Bowl and they just missed another chance at returning to the title game.

NO DRAMA IN NFC

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Oddsmakers thought fans were in for some close conference championship games. 

They’ll have to settle for a 50% success rate.

The NFC title game was a blowout. Niners rookie quarterback Brock Purdy was injured in the first quarter when Eagles linebacker Haason Reddick drilled his right arm on a play that was ruled a fumble. The Eagles recovered that fumble and the injury proved to be a game-changer.

With Purdy hurt, San Francisco turned to 36-year-old journeyman Josh Johnson, who couldn’t do much before eventually leaving with a concussion. Purdy came back into the game, but could barely throw, and the Eagles cruised to the win.

The 49ers dealt with quarterback injuries all season, losing Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo before turning to Purdy, a seventh-round draft pick out of Iowa State. Purdy stepped into a starter’s role in December and won his first seven games before Sunday’s injury. 

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Here’s a few things to know about the upcoming Super Bowl:

WHAT’S THE UPCOMING SCHEDULE?

FEB. 5

Pro Bowl flag-football game, 3 p.m. EST, ABC/ESPN

FEB. 12

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Super Bowl LVII, Philadelphia Eagles vs. Kansas City Chiefs, 6:30 p.m. EST, Fox

RIHANNA AT HALFTIME

Rihanna will take center stage as the headline act for this year’s Super Bowl halftime show.

With sales of more than 250 million records worldwide, Rihanna ranks as one of the best-selling female artists ever. Her most recent album was 2016′s “Anti.” Rihanna last performed publicly at the Grammy Awards in 2018.

The singer said she turned down a similar opportunity for the 2019 Super Bowl that was ultimately headlined by Maroon 5. At the time, many artists voiced support for Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who protested police brutality against Black people and minorities by kneeling during the national anthem in 2016.

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Country music star Chris Stapleton will sing the national anthem, while R&B legend Babyface will perform “America the Beautiful.” 

PRO BOWL MAKEOVER

The Pro Bowl is getting a major makeover this year after the NFL eliminated its full-contact all-star game and replaced it with weeklong skills competitions and a flag football game.

The flag football contest is Feb. 5 in Las Vegas at Allegiant Stadium, one week before the Super Bowl.

The Pro Bowl debuted in January 1951 in Los Angeles and stayed there for 21 seasons before the game moved to different cities from 1972-80. Hawaii hosted from 1980-2009, and the game has had several homes in the years since, including Miami, Phoenix, Orlando and Las Vegas.

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“The game was kind of silly, I guess,” Saints two-time Pro Bowl offensive lineman Ryan Ramczyk said back in September when the news was announced. “Guys weren’t out there playing true football. Hopefully, there’ll be a lot of interactions with the fans and guys will get their opportunity to go out there and show some skills. I could see that being a good change.”

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Ohio State hires James Laurinaitis & Tennessee extends Huepel's contract | Joel Klatt Show

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Joel Klatt discussed Ohio State Buckeyes hiring former linebacker James Laurinaitis as a defensive GA. Joel believes that Laurinaitis can help transform the defense into a powerhouse like the offense is for wide receivers. He then discussed the Tennessee Volunteers giving Josh Huepel a contract extension after their 11-win season.



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