When it comes to preseason games in which the starters see little to no action, the backups who are fighting the uphill battle to win a roster spot have just one primary goal – don't make the mistake that kills your team. Dallas quarterback Matt Moore was asked to do just that and his inability to avoid the costly turnovers created the Turning Point of the Game.
Moore appears to have the third quarterback spot locked up, but didn't do anything to keep the Cowboys from watching the waiver wire this weekend when other teams with more QB depth are forced to make moves. While his passing numbers were solid – 14 of 19 for 94 yards and a touchdown – it was inability to hold onto the ball that created major problems for the Cowboys and helped take them out of the game.
The first miscue came on his second snap from center. He bobbled the snap and never had a chance to recover, as the ball rolled forward after coming out of his hands and wound up being recovered by Vikings defensive tackle Howard Green. The fumble came on the Dallas 19-yard line and was devastating for a quarterback trying to make an impression with the game tied 7-7 in the second quarter.
The Vikings offense took advantage of the mistake, moving the needed 19 yards in six plays – including a fourth-and-1 conversion – to score a touchdown and take a 14-7 lead, one they would never relinquish.
Moore was given plenty of chances to redeem himself, since he played from the start of the second quarter well into the fourth quarter, but once again it was his hands that betrayed him. With less than 13 minutes remaining in the game, Moore was trailing 20-14 looking for the touchdown that would give the Cowboys the lead late. But, with the ball just past midfield, Moore held the ball too long and got stripped by defensive back Patrick Body. Once again, Green was the man on the spot, recovering the fumble.
As they had done in the first fumble by Moore, the Vikings took advantage of the turnover, driving into field goal range and cashing in on a 37-yard field goal from Ryan Longwell that gave the Vikings a 23-14 lead with 8:48 to play – making it a two-possession game.
For those who simply look at passing numbers to evaluate quarterbacks, one could surmise that Moore had a good game. But, upon further review, his two turnovers on fumbles were directly turned into 10 points – the margin of victory Thursday night – and created the Turning Point of the Game.
In a game in which the Vikings produced five turnovers and set a franchise preseason record with 14 of them, Moore's two fumbles were the ones that kept the Vikings in control and evened their preseason record.
Turning Point: Moore Turnovers
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