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Turnovers, Miscues Lead to 23-14 Loss In Minnesota

moore-game.jpgThe Vikings played their starters for the first series of Thursday’s game while the Cowboys rested all but six of theirs.  The highlight of the evening for the Cowboys happened early in the first quarter when WR Jerheme Urban returned a Viking punt 95 yards for a TD giving Dallas an early 7-0 lead, but it went downhill for the Cowboys and Urban from there.   He fumbled a short pass from Matt Moore deep in their own territory on their next offensive possession which led to Minnesota tying the game with a TD of their own.  It was also only the first of 5 turnovers the Cowboys would have, most in the first half and most leading to Minnesota points. 

QB Matt Moore had a good night, although he fumbled the ball twice, once on a snap and the second time during a sack.  But he should still be high on the list to make it as the third-string QB, if Dallas does keep three QB’s.  He also was 14 of 19 for 94-yards and a touchdown, the best numbers of the evening for any QB.  Richard Bartel also got some playing time in the fourth quarter, and although he showed a strong arm, he fumbled once and had one pick late in the game. 

Although not a great performance by the Cowboys as a whole, Coach Phillips did get to witness some players step up and try to make it over the bubble.  TE Tony Curtis had a good night with 5 catches for 44 yards and a TD, and WR’s Jehreme Urban and Miles Austin had some nice receptions to make it interesting as to who will be the number six receiver on the team.  OL Leonard Davis, Marc Colombo and Flozell Adams all got some extra playing time with Davis being named offensive player of the game. 

As for the defense, it didn’t appear that any of the prospective back-up CB’s stood out in an attempt to fill in for the injured Terence Newman.  Aaron Glenn did make a good play early in the game when he jumped an out pattern and knocked the ball away from the receiver, but other than that, nothing of particular merit.  Phillips only stated that he felt they performed better than in the previous game against the Texans.   LB/DE Anthony Spencer had another busy game, playing well into the third quarter and his counterpart Marcus Spears made a few appearances late in the game as well.  

K Nick Folk had limited opportunities to impress anyone, with only 2 extra-points and a couple of kickoffs, none of which resulted in touchbacks. 

 “It was a game that we really needed to evaluate our personnel, especially some of our backup positions, because they may have to start for us or at least during the season have to fill in,” Coach Phillips said about the performance.  “And some guys did a good job.” 

Brad Johnson’s return to Minnesota was somewhat satisfactory as he got the start and completed 5 of 7 for 44 yards.  There were many purple No. 14 jerseys spotted in the stands in honor of the nine years Johnson had spent in Minnesota.  He was relieved of duty early in the second quarter by Moore. 

Another area of interest was on kick returns, where several players were given chances.  As mentioned, Urban’s return was by far the best of them as Isaiah Stanback, Miles Austin, Tyson Thompson, Quincy Butler and Nate Jones also got to return some kicks.

Now the Cowboys have until Saturday when they return to practice to decide on their 53-man roster, and after last night, I wouldn’t be too surprised by any cuts they should make.

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