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Sunday Night Football: Without Dak Prescott, Cowboys and Cooper Rush stun Vikings 20-16

The Football Night in America crew breaks down the major storylines following an action-packed Sunday.

When the Cowboys elected to start Cooper Rush over an injured Dak Prescott, it seemed as if the Vikings were headed for a victory.

But Rush had other plans.

On the day of the backup quarterback, Rush connected with receiver Amari Cooper for a game-winning touchdown with 51 seconds left in the fourth quarter, leading Dallas to a 20-16 victory.

The Cowboys got in position to do it after Cooper caught a pair of passes to put the club in scoring territory. On second-and-10 from Dallas’ 25, Cooper made a juggling catch down the right sideline for a 33-yard gain. Then Cooper caught an 18-yard pass to the Minnesota 24.

But it was running back Ezekiel Elliott who made the touchdown possible. After the Vikings were flagged for a delay of game penalty for calling two timeouts before the same play, the Cowboys had third-and-11 from Minnesota’s 20. Elliott caught a short pass and broke multiple tackles for a 15-yard gain.

On the next play, Rush fired a fade to Cooper on the left, and the receiver reached up and came down with it for a touchdown.

Without any timeouts, the Vikings had a shot to answer by getting the ball back with 51 seconds. But quarterback Kirk Cousins fired an incomplete pass out of bounds on fourth-and-6 as he was getting hit by edge rusher Randy Gregory.

Cousins finished the game 23-of-35 passing for 184 yards with a touchdown. The Vikings were 1-of-13 on third down in the contest, gaining just 278 total yards.

Rush, however, was 24-of-40 for 325 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. Cooper finished with eight catches for 122 yards and a TD, CeeDee Lamb had six catches for 112 yards, and Cedrick Wilson had three catches for 84 yards — including a 73-yard touchdown early in the third quarter.

It seemed like Prescott was unlikely to play for most of the week, but it wasn’t official until he was declared inactive 90 minutes before the game.

That the Cowboys were able to steal a win with their backup quarterback says something about the strength of their team as a whole. At 6-1, they’ve basically wrapped up the NFC East — barring something completely unforeseen.

Next week, they’ll be at home to face the 4-4 Broncos, perhaps with Prescott.

Now at 3-4, the Vikings will go on the road to play the Ravens in Week Nine.