Minneapolis -- Linebacker Kyle Wilber picked the perfect time to end the Cowboys month-long turnover drought, allowing Dallas to extend their win streak to 11 games.
The Cowboys offense was sputtering on a mistake-filled night, trailing in the fourth quarter. And after the Vikings stopped them yet again on a third down, things looked bleak.
With a little more than 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter, Vikings returner Adam Thielen gathered in a Chris Jones punt at the 14-yard line and retreated a couple of steps and then Wilber punched the ball out just before Thielen's knee hit the ground. Wilber then wrestled the ball away from Thielen to recover the fumble.
"I just tried to hit the ball out," said Wilber. "That's what coach emphasizes to us, take away the ball and make a play on special teams that makes a difference."
Mission accomplished, although it took awhile to figure it out.
Officials originally ruled Thielen down, but as Wilber went to the sidelines Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett asked Wilber if the thought it was a fumble.
Wilber told Garrett, "I got it out. I don' know if his knee was down, but I got it out."
Garrett decided to challenge the ruling and it was overturned, giving the Cowboys the ball at the Vikings 8-yard line. The fumble recovery was the Cowboys first turnover forced since October 30th.
"It's great," said Wilber. "And I think I'm the first linebacker on the board, too."
It took the Cowboys just one play to turn the gift into the go-ahead score.
The Cowboys had a run play called, but quarterback Dak Prescott noticed a defender giving receiver Dez Bryant too much cushion and threw him the ball immediately.
Bryant streaked into the endzone, giving the Cowboys a 14-9 lead on their way to the 17-15 victory.
Garrett praised his players for the fight they showed in what he called an example of a true team victory.
"I was not our prettiest game," said Garrett. "Special teams and defense were outstanding in critical moments; great demonstration of fight and grit and all those things that are so important to playing good football."
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