Dallas Cowboys vs Detroit Lions Live Gameday Blog
The Dallas Cowboys are teetering on the edge of playoff contention after a frustrating home loss to the Minnesota Vikings last week. Luckily for Dallas, they have a chance to rebound against a short-handed Detroit Lions team, that will be without their star quarterback, Matthew Stafford.
The Cowboys are not going to be at full strength either, with Connor Williams and Jeff Heath sidelined due to injury. Xavier Su'a-filo and Darian Thompson will be called upon to step up in the absence of the two starters.
Dallas will have the benefit of La'el Collins being active as well after he was questionable during the week.
If the Cowboys are going to have an advantage in this game, it will be with their passing game, where the Lions are one of the worst teams in the NFL covering the pass. Expect Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and Randall Cobb to be heavily involved in the Cowboy attack.
As per usual, Ezekiel Elliott is also set to receive a heavy workload on Sunday afternoon, as he finds himself just 164 yards away from becoming just the fifth player in NFL history to rush for 5,000 yards in his first 50 career games.
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The Cowboys started with the football, and on the second play of the game, Ezekiel Elliott fumbled the football, giving the Lions the ball deep in Cowboy territory.
The Lions quickly took advantage of the Dallas mistake, riding former Cowboy running back Bo Scarbrough, who signed with the Lions just a week ago, to an early touchdown, and a 7-0 lead.
A mistake on the ensuing kick return by Tony Pollard forced the Cowboys to start inside their own 15-yard line. After gaining only one yard on an Elliott run on first down, Dak Prescott threw two-straight incompletions, bringing up fourth down, and a punt.
The Cowboy defense forced a three and out on the next Lions drive, thanks in large part to the pressure put on Jeff Driskel from Robert Quinn. The Lions punt put the Cowboys in bad field position once again, however, with Tavon Austin being tackled at the Dallas 12-yard-line.
Dak Prescott started the next drive well, completing his first pass of the game to Michael Gallup for a first down. After a nice run from Zeke Elliott, Tony Pollard got another first down on a jet sweep for his first offensive touch of the game. After Prescott got the Cowboys inside the Lions' five-yard line, he was sacked by Devon Kennard on third down, forcing Dallas to settle for a field goal, and making the score 7-3 Lions with 2:18 to go in the first quarter.
The Lions were unable to get things going on their next opportunity, thanks once again to the Dallas pass rush making Driskel uncomfortable. After the Detroit punt, the Cowboys started their next possession with their best starting field position of the day.
Behind the arm of Dak Prescott, the Cowboys began their next drive and quickly moved the ball into Lions territory before the end of the first quarter.
A couple of plays later, Prescott hit Tony Pollard for a short pass that turned into a 21-yard score, putting the Cowboys up 10-7 in the first minute of the second quarter.
Robert Quinn got the Cowboys defense off to the right start on the following drive, sacking Jeff Driskel on first down, and forcing second and long. After a short run by J.D. McKissic, Driskel's next pass was incomplete, forcing another Lions punt.
A quick Dallas punt after five plays gave the Lions an opportunity to get back in the game, and thanks to a 32-yard punt return from Agnew, the Lions had the ball in Dallas territory. They took full advantage from there, riding the running game into scoring position, where they would capitalize on a Jeff Driskel rushing touchdown, and take a 14-10 lead.
The response was quick from the Cowboys, with a big pass from Michael Gallup setting up the Cowboys deep in Lions territory. Ezekiel Elliott took care of things from there, rushing up the gut from the one-yard line to put the Cowboys back up 17-14 with 4:37 to go in the half.
After the Lions came up empty on their next drive, Dak Prescott got the Cowboys going in the two-minute drill, hitting Michael Gallup and Randall Cobb for big gains to take the offense into Detriot territory. The drive was capped off by a Prescott to Cobb touchdown pass, giving the Cowboys a 24-14 lead with just 27 seconds to go in the half.
The Lions started the second half receiving the football, and Driskel led a methodical drive to get the ball into Dallas territory. Driskel then hit Marvin Hall for a 39-yard gain inside the Dallas 10. Driskel then hit Marvin Jones in the back of the endzone for a short touchdown pass, cutting the Dallas lead to 24-21.
The Cowboys came out on their next drive firing, with Prescott hitting Randall Cobb for a big gain to start things off. Once the Cowboys got into scoring position, however, the drive came to a halt, and the Cowboys were forced to settle for a field goal, extending their lead to 27-21 with 5:05 to go in the third quarter.
On the following drive, and behind the legs of Jeff Driskel and Bo Scarbrough, the Lions started once again moved the ball at a steady pace. By the end of the third quarter, the had crossed midfield, and had momentum at their backs, down just six.
After the Cowboys jumped offsides on fourth and short, the Lions drive continued. The Cowboys were able to stop the bleeding after that, however, forcing the Lions to punt the ball back to Dak Prescott and the offense.
The Cowboys put together a haymaker of a drive on their next opportunity, once again using the arm of Dak Prescott to attack the weakened Lions secondary. The drive was capped off by a screen touchdown from Prescott to Elliott. After electing to go for two, Tony Pollard punched in the PAT on the ground, putting the Cowboys up 35-21 with 7:56 to go in the game.
Driskel's leg got the Lions going when they got the ball back, with the backup QB scrambling for 30 yards in just two plays. Driskel then hit Danny Amendola for a big gain, giving the Lions the ball deep in Dallas territory. After Xavier Woods and Anthony Brown were both injured on the same play, the Lions attacked the middle of the field for a long touchdown pass, cutting the Dallas lead to 35-27 after they missed the two-point conversion.
Going against conventional wisdom, the Cowboys came out throwing with just over five minutes to go in the game, up by eight points. The plan worked to a degree, with Prescott connecting on a big pass to Michael Gallup to move the chains. The Lions were able to make a stop, however, forcing the Cowboys to give them the ball back with 86 yards in front of them, and 3:44 to go in the game.
After Driskel connected with Kenny Golladay for a 34-yard gain, a Darian Thompson facemask added 15 yards to the end of the play and gave Detroit the ball at the 32. A Michael Bennett sack two players later, followed by an incompletion from Driskel, made it 3rd and 26 for Detroit with 2:13 to go. DeMarcus Lawrence forced an incompletion on the next play, and Lions punted from there with the two-minute warning and two timeouts left in their pocket. Dallas would take over from their own 13.
A gutsy play-action call to Blake Jarwin on second down gave Dallas a first down, and iced the game, allowing Dallas to move to 6-4 with the 35-27 win.