Dak Prescott returned as the Cowboys hosted the Detroit Lions and he led the team to their most lopsided win of the year. Dallas struggled through much of the first half, as it was evident that the offense wasn’t clicking right away, but they put it together at halftime to get a strong 24-6 victory.
There were several key plays throughout this game, and you could make a whole list just to explain the poor start to the game for Dallas, especially on offense. But since this game was won in convincing fashion in the second half, here are five plays that spurred the Cowboys to victory en route to taming the Lions.
Trevon Diggs picks off Jared Goff to start the second quarter
The Cowboys entered the halftime break having outplayed the Lions in almost every facet, but they still trailed 6-3. With Detroit getting the ball to start the second half, the defense needed to get a stop early.
They did exactly that. Three plays into the third quarter, Jared Goff decided to take a deep shot to Josh Reynolds. That’s when Trevon Diggs did Trevon Diggs things:
.@TrevonDiggs lays out for his 3rd INT of the season!— NFL (@NFL) October 23, 2022
: #DETvsDAL on CBS
: Stream on NFL+ https://t.co/DSA5AKkBhB pic.twitter.com/jHbxRDpAKB
It was exactly what the Cowboys needed to get things rolling after what had been a rather unproductive first half. And as it turned out, the Cowboys quickly responded with a scoring drive to take the lead.
Tony Pollard moves Cowboys into scoring position with big run
After the interception from Diggs, the Cowboys were gifted an opportunity to really turn it on. They quickly showed that they were ready to do just that, including a big run from Ezekiel Elliott that saw him hurdle a defender.
Two plays after that, though, came the big one. On second and one at the Detroit 44, just after getting into Lions territory, the Cowboys handed it off to Tony Pollard, who showed off his burst with a big 28-yard gain.
Pollard’s big run put the Cowboys in the red zone, and three plays later Dallas was in the endzone to take the lead. It was an early statement in the third quarter that the Cowboys had woken up, and it kicked off a pretty dominant second half for the Cowboys.
Anthony Barr recovers the fumble at the goal line
The Lions are a team that are never truly out of a game, so being down 10-6 shouldn’t have made anyone feel comfortable. After their defense forced a three-and-out, the Lions offense started moving.
A big catch-and-run gave them the ball on the goal line and it seemed like a given that the Lions were about to take the lead right back. But when Jamaal Williams took the handoff, things changed in a hurry.
The Cowboys force a huge goal line fumble! Demarcus Lawrence with the hit, and it's recovered by Anthony Barr! #DallasCowboys pic.twitter.com/GH3W80yeYi— Pro Football Culture (@proftblculture) October 23, 2022
DeMarcus Lawrence got credited for knocking the ball loose, and Anthony Barr made a heads up play by falling on it right at the goal line. It was a crushing blow for Detroit, as this had been their longest drive of the game, but they were robbed of the chance to retake the lead.
Noah Brown breaks tackle to pick up big first down
The next time the Lions offense took the field, Jourdan Lewis picked the ball off to give the Cowboys favorable field position. Another touchdown would give Dallas a near insurmountable cushion.
It almost didn’t happen though. A holding call on Tyler Smith backed Dallas up to first and 20 at the Detroit 36. Dak Prescott hit Noah Brown on two consecutive passes, the second of which saw him shake contact and move the chains.
In previous seasons, a holding call like that would derail the drive and result in a field goal at best, which would’ve kept the Cowboys’ lead at just one possession. Instead, Prescott and Brown extended the drive and it resulted in a touchdown four plays later.
Sam Williams’ strip sack clinches the win
The Cowboys going up 17-6 with just under three minutes in the game made things bleak for the Lions, but they had pulled off wilder comebacks in the past. Dallas still needed to put their foot on Detroit’s neck one last time.
Not only did they do exactly that, but it was rookie Sam Williams who did the stepping.
Sam Williams says that's my ball! Incredible play! #DallasCowboys pic.twitter.com/64RxpLa9RF— Pro Football Culture (@proftblculture) October 23, 2022
Williams had notched his first career sack earlier in the game, but he followed it up with a big strip sack and fumble recovery that sunk the dagger right into the Lions’ chest.