As quarterback Dak Prescott returned after missing the previous five games due to a fractured thumb on his throwing hand, all eyes were on the centre.
Would he exhibit rust? Would the offense of the Dallas Cowboys be able to step it up? Would they be successful against a faltering Detroit Lions team?
Prescott and the Cowboys struggled to find a consistent rhythm early in the game, so to claim that the game was a thing of beauty might be overstating the case. In the end, Dallas defeated the Lions by 24-6, which is always a positive result.
Not that Prescott was in any way harmful. He completed 76 percent of his throws for 207 yards, one touchdown, and no interceptions, resulting in a passer rating of 113.2. Noah Brown and Dalton Schultz, who continues to battle a knee injury, led the team in receptions with five apiece, while CeeDee Lamb led in receiving yards with 75.
Tony Pollard rushed for 83 yards on 12 rushes, while Ezekiel Elliott added 57 yards and two touchdowns in his first game with multiple scores this season. Dallas accumulated a total of 330 yards of offense.
However, given how the defense was performing, Prescott and the company did not have to worry about carrying the load. The Cowboys did not allow a touchdown for the third time this season while surrendering 10 or fewer points. All five of the unit’s takeaways, which included two interceptions and three fumble recoveries, occurred in the second half.
While the Dallas offense started slowly, going three-and-out on its first two possessions with Prescott at quarterback for the first time since December 22, 2019, the Lions jumped out to an early 3-0 lead. On their second possession of the game, the visiting team gained 49 yards in 10 plays, with quarterback Jared Goff completing four of five throws for 34 yards. At the Cowboys’ 21-yard line, Detroit would be forced to settle for a 40-yard field goal.
As the clock entered the second frame, Prescott and his forces began their advance. Between completions of 15 and 11 yards to Schultz, the quarterback completed a pass of 24 yards to Lamb. The Cowboys reached the Detroit 3-yard line and considered going for it on fourth-and-2, but ultimately called a timeout and settled for a 22-yard chip-shot from goal.
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Despite losing standout wideout Amon-Ra St. Brown to a concussion, the Lions were able to advance the ball within field-goal range once more. Micah Parsons’ controversial roughing the passer call added 15 yards to Goff’s 9-yard completion, which had already been completed. Michael Badgley kicked a 53-yard field goal to retake the lead for Detroit after the Dallas defense regained control of the game.
Before the half, the Cowboys moved from their 24-yard line to the Lions’ 20-yard line, giving them a second opportunity to score. Brown caught a 14-yard pass at the 6-yard line, but as he somersaulted to the ground, he lost possession of the football. At the 3-yard line, Detroit recovered the ball, eliminating the threat.
Elliott sustained a significant impact on his right knee during the drive, causing it to look to hyperextend. Consequently, the entire car was stunning. However, he did return for the second half.
And fortunately, he did so. After Trevon Diggs’s third interception of the season gave Dallas the ball at its 18-yard line, it took the Cowboys just seven plays to reach the end zone. Elliott’s 18-yard rush overcame a defender, followed by Pollard’s 28-yard run up the middle. In the end, however, Elliott was the hero, rushing in from one yard out to give Dallas a 10-6 lead it would never relinquish.
Discuss receiving a break when it was most needed, when the Lions traveled 79 yards down to the Cowboys’ 1-yard line, where they had first, and goal, the Cowboys’ backs were against the wall. On the next play, though, defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence knocked the ball free from running back Jamaal Williams, with linebacker Anthony Barr recovering the fumble from giving the Cowboys possession.
Soon later, the Dallas defense generated another turnover. Although the Cowboy offense was forced to punt following the goal-line recovery, they regained control at their 46-yard line when cornerback Jourdan Lewis blocked a Goff pass attempt. Lewis was wounded during the play and needed assistance leaving the field. He never returned.
However, the Cowboys were able to capitalize on the turnover this time. Prescott completed passes to Lamb for 15 yards, Brown and Schultz for a combined 25 yards, and Schultz once more for 7 yards to reach the 2-yard line, consuming 5:39 of the clock across 11 plays and 54 yards. Two plays later, Elliott was in the end zone once again.
On the second play of the Lions’ following series, rookie defensive end Sam Williams sacked Goff, knocked the ball loose, and recovered it for the trifecta, putting an end to any thoughts of a comeback. After Pollard’s 25-yard run up the middle, Prescott threw a 2-yard touchdown to Peyton Hendershot, the rookie’s first touchdown.
As soon as Parsons strip-sacked Goff yet again on the Lions’ next possession, with Dorance Armstrong recovering this time, the Cowboys had no choice but to employ the victory configuration.