clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Cowboys news: The “two-headed monster” leads Dallas to crucial 26-24 win over the Lions

The Monday morning links!

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

NFL: Detroit Lions at Dallas Cowboys Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Ezekiel Elliott powers Cowboys to much-needed victory - Todd Archer, ESPN

Zeke came up huge time after time and play after play in Sunday’s big and crucial win.

A week after Elliott took the blame for the Cowboys’ loss to the Seattle Seahawks -- stepping out of bounds to negate a touchdown catch and a fumble that effectively ended a late-game comeback -- he carried the Cowboys against the Lions.

“I have never seen him play better than he played today,” Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones said.

With their season on the line -- yes, really -- Elliott turned in the game’s biggest play because of his ability as a pass-catcher. On second-and-10 from the Dallas 41, Dak Prescott did not look deep to any of his receivers. He went deep to Elliott, who hauled in a 34-yard completion over Lions linebacker Jarrad Davis.

“It was make it or break it this game,” Elliott said. “We needed to go out and get a win, get some momentum, get back to .500 so we can be in a good place the rest of the season. We came in and we weren’t perfect, but we fought til the end and got the dub.”

5 thoughts from the Cowboys’ win over the Lions: It’s time to pay DeMarcus Lawrence; Zeke and Dak bounce back - Jon Machota, SportsDay

When Dak, Zeke, and Tank have big games, good things typically happen.

1. Dak Prescott was very good when he needed to be Sunday afternoon, having his best game since the win in New York last December. And he saved his best for last. Prescott’s finest throw came in the final minutes, dropping a perfect pass over the shoulder and into the waiting hands of Ezekiel Elliott.

Prescott finished with his first 200-yard game of the season, completing 17 of 27 passes for 255 yards, 2 touchdowns and no interceptions. He got things going early by connecting on a deep ball with Michael Gallup (37 yards). It was Prescott’s first pass attempt of 20-or-more-air yards in eight quarters. Prescott also executed a nice screen to TE Geoff Swaim on that same drive that went for 31 yards. Maybe it’s the Lions. Last time Dallas played Detroit in 2016, Prescott was 15 of 20 passing, 212 yards, 3 TDs and a 148.3 passer rating.

Pay the man!

4. Give DeMarcus Lawrence a long-term deal as soon as possible. Nothing more really needs to be said. He was clearly the most outstanding defender in the building. Elite pass rushers don’t grow on trees. He’s entering his prime. Do whatever it takes to keep him around for the foreseeable future. As good as the offense was, the Cowboys don’t win Sunday without Lawrence.

The Cowboys win over the Lions saves their season, for now - Dave Halprin, BTB

That was certainly a season-saving victory for the home team.

The Dak and Zeke show, with nice complementary play from the receivers and the offensive line, remind us of how the Cowboys did it during their 13-3 season in 2016. Power running, efficient passing, and just enough explosive plays to put points on the board. Rely on a defense that does just enough to help win the game, and you get victories. For one week, the Cowboys looked like their old selves. Now, can they do it again, and again.

This win puts the Cowboys right back in the thick of the playoff race. With the Eagles losing to the Titans today, the Cowboys are tied with Philadelphia and Washington with two wins, although Washington is on a bye so will lead the division at 2-1 (the Giants are still playing). It’s just that crazy from week to week in the NFL, especially in the first month of the season. Dallas hits the quarter mark of the 2018 season at 2-2, but feeling much better about themselves after rediscovering their identity. The trick is to continue that. They have a winnable game next week against the Texans.

Are they back on track, or was this just a one-week reprieve?

‘A two-headed monster’: What Lions defenders said of Cowboys QB Dak Prescott, RB Ezekiel Elliott - Jori Epstein, SportsDay

Speaking of ‘the Dak and Zeke show’, here is what one Lions defender said following Sunday’s game.

But in their final drive - and throughout the contest - quarterback Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott did enough to win.

Lions defenders said they tipped their hats to the 414-yard offensive performance Prescott and Elliott spearheaded.

”We just need to stop the run, not let them be a two-headed monster,” Lions defensive tackle Ricky Jean-Francois said. “When them two get the ball rolling, they don’t really got to put the ball in there and they control the game.

”We never had grasp of the game.”

Cowboys beat the Lions with help of ‘Linehan Special’ - Calvin Watkins, The Athletic DFW

The Linehan Special? That’s a new one. Let Watkins explain:

The Philly Special occurred in the first half Super Bowl LII when Eagles quarterback Nick Foles lined up behind the right tackle and then was late in his release after the snap. Running back Corey Clement found Foles for a touchdown pass. It was a hugely impactful — and emotional — play for the Eagles in a game they would eventually win over the Patriots. Eagles coach Doug Pederson said at the time the play was inserted into the playbook late in the 2007 season.

The Linehan Special has always been in the Cowboys’ playbook. It’s a play where Elliott sets up in the slot. If he gets man coverage against a linebacker, Prescott is almost certainly throwing him the ball.

During training camp practices, Sean Lee faced Elliott when the play is run.

Sunday it was linebacker Jarrad Davis facing Elliott.

“Once I saw man-to-man with the linebacker, I just knew inside fade,” Elliott said. “(Prescott) made a perfect throw.”

‘I know what I can do’: What strong performance against Lions did for psyche of Cowboys, Dak Prescott - David Moore, SportsDay

Sunday was a huge step in the right direction in building Dak’s confidence back up to where it needs to be.

Bold guarantees aren’t Dak Prescott’s style. But the Cowboys quarterback did issue an assurance heading into Sunday’s game with Detroit.

Prescott needed this performance and result. The same goes for head coach Jason Garrett and offensive coordinator Scott Linehan as the group struggles to reclaim its offensive identity and remain competitive.

“It’s huge,’’ Prescott said on nudging the record back to 2-2. “It’s what we needed.

”To be able to go down there and win that game on our last drive, it’s big for everybody’s confidence moving forward and the momentum we can take from this game.’’

What Cole Beasley is saying now about QB Dak Prescott after Sunday’s comeback victory - Clarence Hill, The Star-Telegram

Beasley backed his QB on Sunday.

“I have always been Dak’s biggest supporter every year and it’s never going to change and it hasn’t changed,” Beasley said. That is what people do. They take your words any way they want to twist it to cause controversy and try to divide us in this locker room. But it’s not going to work. We all got chips on our shoulder and sometimes it comes out with stuff I say

“I got love for every guy in this locker room. I am going to fight for all my teammates always. That is what I feel like I was doing. I was fighting for the wideouts. They are my teammates too. I was defending those guys.”

How a poised Dak Prescott revived Cowboys hopes with game-winning drive against Lions - Clarence Hill, The Star-Telegram

Dak (and Zeke) came through when it mattered.

Quarterback Dak Prescott played an efficient and seemingly mistake-free game.

Running back Ezekiel Elliott had been dominant with over 150 yards on the ground and a 38-yard touchdown reception on a screen pass, known as the (offensive coordinator Scott) Linehan special because it works every time, per Prescott.

But with 2 minutes, 17 seconds left, it all seemed for naught.


“Yeah, you’ve heard me say this before, he’s a damn good football player,” Garrett said of Prescott. “He handles success. He handles adversity as well as anyone I’ve been around at that position. He’s a great leader. He never blinks. He just goes out and plays. I think if you look at his performance today, it’s the way we want our quarterbacks to play. A balance of run and pass and again, attack a lot of different ways. He threw to different guys all over the field, made plays with his feet, made plays with his arm, made plays at the critical moment. So he’s an awfully good football player.”

Brett Maher unfazed by early miss, delivers first last-second, game-winning kick - Stefan Stevenson, The Star-Telegram

Brett Maher came up BIG on Sunday.

Since missing a 45-yard attempt in his NFL debut in Week 1, Maher has made eight consecutive field goals, including a 38-yard, last-second game-winner in Sunday’s 26-24 win over the Detroit Lions.

Maher made four field goals against the Lions, including a long of 43 yards.

Cowboys’ owner and general manager Jerry Jones liked the way Maher was kicking but admitted he was nervous before the game-winner.

Maher, who kicked several game-winners in the CFL, said the pressure didn’t faze him.

“No, not really at all. I’m happy and excited but I don’t feel any sense of relief or anything like that,” he said. Maher was asked what side he’d prefer to kick from and he chose left but really doesn’t have a strong preference, he said. “It was exciting. It’s fun to be a part of this team. I feel like I’m lucky to be in this locker room and with these guys.”

This was the pivotal play Cowboys owner Jerry Jones wanted to discuss after victory over Lions - Kate Hairopoulos, SportsDay

This play won’t end up on SportsCenter, but Jerry Jones came away impressed with what happened.

Down by one with 2:17 to play, the Cowboys needed to maneuver into field goal range to avoid a devastating 1-3 start to the season.

On the second play of the drive - 2nd and 3 from the Dallas 32 - Detroit defensive lineman Da’Shawn Hand got into the backfield and knocked the ball out of Prescott’s grasp. Prescott turned and chased the ball down behind him. He scrambled, avoided a defender at about Dallas’ 12 and looked downfield before throwing the ball away into the Cowboys sideline.

“The whole thing was riding on it,” Jones said, “and he had presence of mind to get it, field it properly, and get back up and do something with it. And I think as I do with some of these quarterbacks, I will always remember that play.”

GameDay Blog: D-Law Dominates With 3 Sacks - Staff

Let’s give the defense some love, too!

D-Law Dominates With 3 Sack Performance

(Sept. 30, 5:53 p.m.) – It gets a bit lost in the shuffle of such a dramatic win, but it’s only fitting to do it justice.

There’s no need for a clever introduction. Simply take a look at DeMarcus Lawrence’s stat line from Sunday’s win against Detroit.

Eight tackles, three sacks, three tackles for loss and a quarterback hit. The Lions entered Week 4 having allowed just three sacks on the year – and Lawrence matched that tally all on his own.

“I am basically trying to show the world that I am no one-trick pony,” Lawrence said. “Every time I step on the field, I am here to put on a show.”

Lawrence certainly did that. The stellar performance put him at 5.5 sacks on the season, which will assuredly put him among the league leaders by the end of the weekend. Going back to the start of last season, he also has 20 sacks in his last 20 games.


Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Blogging The Boys Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your Dallas Cowboys news from Blogging The Boys