Cowboys Win Dak’s Return, 6-24
All eyes were on center as quarterback Dak Prescott returned after missing the previous five games with a broken thumb on his throwing hand.
Would it show any rust? Could the Dallas Cowboys offense kick things up a notch? Will they take care of business against a struggling Detroit Lions team?
To say the game was a thing of beauty might be overselling it, as Prescott and the Cowboys struggled to find a consistent rhythm, especially early on. But in the end, Dallas pulled out a hard-fought 24-6 victory over the Lions, which is always a good look.
Not that Prescott is bad, by any means. He completed 76 percent of his passes for 207 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions for an impressive 113.2 passer rating. Noah Brown and Dalton Schultz, who continue to battle an injured knee, led the team with five catches apiece, while CeeDee Lamb posted 75 yards.
On the ground, Tony Pollard had 83 rushing yards on 12 carries and Ezekiel Elliott added 57 yards and two touchdowns, his first multi-score game of the season. With the way the defense played, Prescott and company didn’t have to worry about taking advantage. The Cowboys didn’t give up a touchdown while scoring 10 or fewer points for the third time this season. The unit came up with five takeaways on the day, two interceptions, and three sacks, all of which came in the second half.
While Dallas’ offense was slow to get out of the gate — going three-and-out on its opening two possessions with Prescott under center for the first time since Dec. 22, 2019 — the Lions took an early 3-0 lead. On the second possession of the game, the visitors were able to move 49 yards in 10 plays, with quarterback Jared Goff completing 4 of 5 passes for 34 yards. Detroit would stall at the Cowboy’s 21-yard line and settle for a 40-yard field goal.
As the clock ticked down to the second frame, Prescott and his soldiers started to match the Cowboys reached Detroit’s 3-yard line, and were thinking hard about going for it on 4th-2.
Despite the fact that Amon-Ra St. With Brown leaving the game with a concussion, the Lions were again able to move the ball into the goal area. Of course, they were helped by a questionable roughing the pass penalty on Micah Parsons, which went 9 yards on a 15-yarder to finish off Goff. But the Dallas defense slowed it down, this time Detroit got a 53-yard field goal from Michael Badgley to get back on top.
The Cowboys had another opportunity for points just before halftime when they moved from their own 24-yard line to the Lions’ 20. But after Brown hauled in a 14-yard pass at the six, the wideout was completely overturned and fumbled for the ball. he tumbled to the ground. Detroit recovered at the 3-yard line, ending the threat.
They all maintained their collective width throughout the drive when Elliott took a hard hit to his right knee that appeared to hyperextend it
Which is a good thing he did. After Trevon Diggs earned his third interception of the season to give Dallas possession at their own 18-yard line, the Cowboys needed just seven plays to reach the pay. Elliott interfered with a defender on a nifty 18-yard run with Pollard, then broke off a 28-yard run up the middle. But it was Elliott who ultimately got the honors, diving in from 1 yard out to give Dallas a lead it would never relinquish, 10-6.
Talk about taking a break when they need it most. The Cowboys had their backs against the wall as the Lions traveled 79 yards to the Dallas 1-yard line for a first-and-goal. But the very next moment, running back Jamaal Williams had the ball knocked down by defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, and linebacker Anthony Barr fell on a fumble to give the Cowboys a touchdown.
Shortly after, the Dallas defense transformed again. Although the Cowboys’ offense had to punt after the goal line recovery, they got the ball right back when cornerback Jourdan Lewis dove in front of Goff and offered to give him the ball at his own 46-yard line. He didn’t come back.
But this time, the Cowboys were able to take advantage of the turnover. As Prescott ate up 5:39 of the clock on 11 plays and 54 yards, he connected with Lamb for 15 yards, twice with Brown for a 25-yard drive, Two plays later, Elliott was in the end zone again.
Any hopes of a comeback were quickly dashed when, on the Lions’ second play of their next series, rookie defensive end Sam Williams sacked Goff, stripped the ball, and recovered it for the trifecta. After Pollard scampered up the middle for 25 yards, the eventual touchdown came on a 2-yard pass from Prescott to tight end Peyton Hendershot, the rookie’s first career score.
Once Parsons stripped Goff again on the Lions’ next drive, this time with a Dorance Armstrong recovery, the Cowboys were left with nothing but a winning formation.