You may not see total domination by the Dallas Cowboys in the boxscore, but that is because the 3rd quarter skewed the numbers so much in Minnesota’s favor as to make it seem they should have won easily.
6 – The number of plays Dallas ran in the 3rd quarter; all on the first drive. Minnesota ran 20.
There were only three possessions in the 3rd quarter: Minnesota touchdown, Dallas punt, Minnesota ends the quarter with the ball and scores a touchdown on the first play of the 4th quarter.
The Cowboys did not touch the ball until 9:50 in the quarter thanks to the Vikings taking more than 1/3 of the clock to score a touchdown on their opening drive. Dallas’ drive barely lasted 3 minutes before they punted back to Minnesota and then did not get another opportunity to score until the 4th quarter.
-147 – The yardage differential in the 3rd quarter.
The Cowboys were out-gained 171 yards to 29. Not even a 15-yard personal foul penalty could slow the Vikings down in the quarter. They got just about all the yardage back on a 13-yard pass the very next play, and followed that up with a 20-yard completion.
The Cowboys could do absolutely nothing to stop the Vikings offense.
2 – The number of 3rd downs the Vikings faced in the 3rd quarter.
Seriously, the Vikings went 75 yards and 81 yards on their two possessions (the last 3 yards of the 2nd possession were technically 4th quarter, but you get the point) and were only faced with a 3rd down twice. Even when faced with a 1st and 16, they did not need a third down.
The two 3rd downs were on the first drive of the half when the Vikings first faced a 3rd and 3 at the Dallas 6-yard line (4-yard scramble by Cousins), and a 3rd and Goal from the 2-yard line (amazing one-handed catch by Adam Thielen). It was really gross to watch.
11:54 – The time of possession for the Vikings in the 3rd quarter.
There just really is nothing good to take away from this quarter, and it basically all falls on the defense’s inability to even slow down the Vikings.
158.3 – Kirk Cousin’s passer rating in the 3rd quarter.
If you’re not familiar with passer rating, you should know that quarterbacks are graded on a scale of 0-158.3. Yep, Kirk was perfect according to this formula. He also was, you know, perfect. He finished the quarter 7-7 for 106 yards (15.1 yards per attempt!) with 1 touchdown. After the first play of the 4th quarter he was 8-8 for 109 yards and 2 touchdowns in the second half.
Kirk Cousins really had a day against the Dallas defense that had seemed to be playing better. It shouldn’t be shocking, this is a pattern that goes back to when he played for that Football Team from Washington. At one point, Cousins completed 13 passes in a row from the 2nd quarter to the 4th quarter.
Late in the 4th quarter, Cousins had still only thrown 3 incompletions and had a perfect rating for the game, let alone just the 3rd quarter. A graphic popped up telling the nation all about his perfect passer rating with about 4:50 left in the game.
Understandably, he immediately dropped back to pass, threw incomplete, and saw his perfect rating fall from 158.3 to 157.9. He finished 1-6 for 4 yards (39.6 rating) after that graphic showed.
His passer rating slipped all the way down to 140.1 (awesome, wow) by the end of the 4th thanks to that graphic (and a little Dallas D).