(The Sports Xchange) - The Dallas Cowboys held on to beat the Vikings 17-15 on Thursday night after Minnesota quarterback Sam Bradford’s pass sailed high out of the back of the end zone on a two-point attempt with 30 seconds left.
Bradford led an eight-play, 65-yard drive that began with just over two minutes remaining, pulling Minnesota within two points. However, he was pressured on the conversion attempt, and his desperation attempt to Adam Thielen in the back of the end zone was too high.
Dallas secured the ensuing onside kick.
Dez Bryant scored a fourth-quarter touchdown one play after the Cowboys’ first takeaway since Oct. 30, and Dallas (11-1) won its 11th consecutive game to tie a franchise record.
Rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott was bottled up by Minnesota’s defense until a 30-yard run set up a 39-yard field goal by Dan Bailey with 4:20 left. Elliott finished with 86 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries.
Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott completed 12 of 18 passes for 139 yards and a touchdown. Bryant finished with 84 yards on four receptions for Dallas, which this weekend could become the first team to clinch a playoff berth, depending on other results.
Bradford was 32 of 45 for 247 yards and a touchdown for Minnesota (6-6), which played without head coach Mike Zimmer, who underwent emergency eye surgery Wednesday night and was at home recovering. Special teams coordinator Mike Priefer was the interim head coach.
Bradford was 7 of 7 on the final drive and finished with a 3-yard touchdown pass to running back Jerick McKinnon.
The Vikings forced two turnovers by the Cowboys but could only turn them into three points. Dallas had only one other game this season with two turnovers.
Kai Forbath connected on three field goals for Minnesota, which lost for the sixth time in seven games.
With the Vikings’ regular punt returner, Marcus Sherels, out for the game due to a rib injury, Thielen was back to field a fourth-quarter punt. Thielen fumbled as he was being taken to the ground and looked to get his hands on the football again.
Dallas coach Jason Garrett challenged the play, and officials ruled that Cowboys linebacker Kyle Wilber managed to pull the football away before Thielen controlled it, giving the Cowboys the ball at the 8-yard line. Bryant caught a quick receiver screen and beat cornerback Xavier Rhodes to the end zone for the touchdown to give Dallas a 14-9 lead with 10:22 to play.
Editing by Andrew Both