Dallas sacked in Minnesota

Given how well the Cowboys played over the last month of the season, no one in their right mind could have predicted what happened Sunday in the Metrodome.

34-3 - and it wasn't even that close.

The Vikings harassed Dallas QB Tony Romo all day, forcing three turnovers, including a pivotal interception late in the third quarter to help seal the win.

In all, Romo was sacked six times, with three of those by Vikings end Ray Edwards, who almost single-handedly ended the Cowboys season with his strong play.

After Dallas took the opening kickoff to the Vikings 34-yard line, Edwards ignited the Metrodome crowd with the first of two huge plays. First, he tackled Felix Jones for a 4-yard loss that put the Cowboys out of field goal range before he sacked Romo while also forcing a fumble.

After a quick three-and-out, again Dallas got the ball back and moved straight down the field but the drive stalled and Wade Phillips elected to attempt a 48-yard field goal by Shaun Suisham.

The kick was pushed wide left and it was all Minnesota after that.

Brett Favre connected with Sidney Rice on a 47-yard touchdown pass down the right sideline on the next possession to give the Vikings a quick 7-0 lead.

Suisham then made a 33-yard field goal in the second quarter to cut the Vikings' lead to four, but it would be the lone Dallas score of the game.

Favre again found Rice, this time from 16 yards out, but only after embarassing Dallas end Marcus Spears on a pump fake.

It would be the second of personal best four touchdown passes in a postseason game for the future Hall of Fame quarterback.

The Vikings added a field goal shortly before halftime to push the lead to 14, but it felt like much more.

After a scoreless third quarter featuring another miss by Suisham, this time from 49 yards out, the Vikings piled it on as Farve connected once again with Rice for a 45-yard touchdown pass to push the lead to 24.

Dallas continued to be stifled on offense as Minnsota's front four was able to establish consistent pressure on Romo the entire game. Oddly enough, Romo finished a respectable 22 for 35 passing for 198 yards, but the sacks and turnovers were too much to overcome.

Adding insult to injury, Favre then found TE Viscanthe Shiancoe for the final score of the game, on fourth down no less, with just 1:55 left on the clock.

The play caused veteran linebacker Keith Brooking to mouth off near the Vikings side line, but it didn't matter as the game was obviously well out of reach.

"I think it was totally classless and disrespectful," Brooking said.

Minnesota head coach Brad Childress defended the call, saying, "That wasn't rubbing it in. It's just taking care of business."

Still, it seemed questionable with the game well out of reach.

Cowboys coach Wade Phillips summed up the loss best in his post-game press conference when he was asked how it felt to lose after winning his first career postseason game last weekend against Philadelphia.

"It's like the elevator falling from the top. It's tough when it's over," he said. "If you don't win it all, you have not reached your goal."

With the win, the Vikings advance to the NFC Championship game to play at New Orleans next weekend.

Meanwhile the Cowboys will face another offseason wondering what if. While the team did capture its first playoff win in more than 13 years, it ended the season on a sour note, suffering the second worse loss in franchise history.

"Any time you come in with the expectations and goals we set and don't accomplish them, No. 1, it's frustrating," Romo said. "Right now, it's just hard to think the season is over."

NOTES: LT Flozell Adams hurt his leg late in the second quarter and didn't return. ... The Cowboys haven't won a playoff game on the road since 1992.

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