The Cowboys snapped a four-game losing streak, won a road game for the first time this season and put themselves in the NFC East race with six games to play.
On Sunday, Dalton threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to Dalton Schultz with 1:37 to play for the winning score, four weeks after suffering the first concussion of his career and three weeks after testing positive for COVID-19.
The Cowboys could be in first place in the NFC East with a win on Thanksgiving against the Washington Football Team.
After 10 games, no team in the division has more than three wins. The Eagles, who lost to the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, are in first place with a 3-6-1 record. The Cowboys, Giants (who were idle Sunday) and Washington are all 3-7, but the Giants hold the tiebreaker, followed by Washington and the Cowboys.
To claim first place in the division, the Cowboys would need back-to-back wins for the first time under McCarthy, and the first time since they opened the 2019 season with three straight wins.
Few people expected the Cowboys to win Sunday. But the Dallas defense came up with two takeaways, leading to nine points in the first half, and two key fourth-quarter stops. The offense was able to score four touchdowns in a game for the first time since losing Dak Prescott. Dallas entered Sunday with just two touchdowns in the four games without Prescott.
Behind an offensive line that was using its seventh different starting combination that included Pro Bowl guard Zack Martin at right tackle, Elliott also came up big, finishing with his first 100-yard game of the season, rushing for 103 yards on 21 carries, setting up Tony Pollard’s 42-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. Elliott also had a receiving touchdown.
Rookie receiver CeeDee Lamb made a Dez Bryant-like touchdown grab in the first half and impacted the game more than his four catches for 34 yards would indicate.
In the end, the Dallas defense came up with two key stops in the fourth quarter to set up Dalton’s winning drive and end a potential tying drive by Minnesota.