S or N: Mixed Bag
The classical definition for Slobberknocker is a literal hard hit. I'm going to play off that somewhat in a more figurative manner. While in contrast, and maybe more obviously, the Naw's are things that shouldn't have happened and/or need to change.
The Michelin Stars
Dalvin Cook showed up on the biggest stage so far this year like he has so many times this season. I knew that 200 total yards by the running backs would be needed for the Vikings to get win #7. The MVP candidate came within 1 play of doing that by himself. His running mate wasn't too shabby either as Alexander Mattison chipped in more than 50 total yards as well. They are top-shelf players and are quickly showing star quality.
Earning the Promotion
"Captain" Kirk wasn't the most dynamic quarterback on the field but he was the best one. 72% passing with no interceptions and no fumbles. Give me that sort of performance over all of the six games that remain! You could barely tell that they were missing an all-pro receiver with the way he was spreading the ball around.
Lead the Way
Kyle Rudolph reminded the rest of the league that he's still a good option within the offense. He finished with a meager four catches for 14 yards but two of the four went for touchdowns, including the one that will be replayed for many years to come. With Irv Smith also having his best game of the season, the tight-end position showed that it can help pull some weight when needed while also helping the runners get their open spaces.
A premier brand playing at home is always going to get a couple extra calls in their favor. It seemed like Dallas was getting all of the most significant calls & non-calls this week.
The offensive line also was amongst the best parts of the game for the Vikings. Cousins was only sacked once but the Dallas defense also finished with only 1 other tackle for loss. With some undesirable substitutions happening during the game there was never a noticeable drop-off amongst the five. And Dallas does have a pretty good defensive line so this was a good test, not some slop show.
Back to School
Mike Hughes could not have been much worse. Every big play that Dallas made seemed to come against him in coverage and his chance to make a big play of his own looked like Chris Cook trying to catch the ball. There was no visual evidence that he knew what to do or was trying to make plays to shut down any of the receivers. A guy that can be that big of a liability can't see the field. I've never said that about Xavier, for all of his well-documented struggles. I don't know if there's any amount of coaching that could make up for but if he doesn't get better he'll be back at Central Florida much sooner than anyone would have guessed after the draft.
Hughes was far from the only embarrassment this week. Pretty much the entire defense was taken behind the woodshed by Prescott. It's the fifth game in a row that they have been below average. Granted, Eric Kendricks made the play to save the game but one play does not make up for all of the issues they had and have been having. It will be better some weeks down the stretch but the trend is setting and allowing 400 yards passing to Dak Prescott means that Aaron Rodgers & Russell Wilson are going to FEAST on that rotting carcass.
It's not an all-encompassing wrap of the pros and cons to extract from the latest game but I think these are the main takeaways!