The Dallas Cowboys got the win over the Detroit Lions on Sunday. The win puts them at 5-2 on the season. Once again, the defense did all the heavy lifting with an offensive spurt at the end. There were both good and bad things on both sides of the ball. Let’s take a closer look and see what we can discover after further review.
HOW DID DAK DO?
In the much-awaited return of Dakota Rayne Prescott, the Cowboys' offense scored three touchdowns for the first time all season. How convenient. Of course, they only had 10 points with just under three minutes left in the game before a couple of late scores made the game look more like a blowout than it actually was.
Prescott was okay in his return. He finished the game 19/25 passing for just 207 yards. It was a nice first game to help get the blood flowing again. Some of his passes were spot on:
HEY ALEXA: If something cost 80 cents and I give the cashier a dollar, what do I get back? pic.twitter.com/qWZ7hZ7FV5— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) October 24, 2022
And others left something to be desired:
It was a mixed bag for Dak Prescott in his return. He made some good throws, and he made some not-so-good throws. He threw into coverage a couple times and his footwork wasn't the greatest. pic.twitter.com/gLUt5iGdOm— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) October 24, 2022
On the surface, it seemed like Dak was very similar to Cooper Rush. The offense wasn’t explosive, and there were a couple of passes that could’ve been picked but weren’t, so the Cowboys were fortunate there. Dak holds the ball longer than Rush, so we saw the offensive line breaking down a bit at times in pass protection.
While the score wasn’t much different than what we’ve seen with Rush under center, it should be noted that Prescott does a better job extending plays and Dak also throws the ball downfield more. He takes more chances and he forces the defense to be mindful of the deep ball. That’s important. Prescott didn’t light it up downfield in this one, but this was a solid game to get out of Dak’s system and we should feel good that better days are coming.
THE RUNNING GAME
The Cowboys continue to work in a good mix of Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard. The team rushed for 130+ yards for the fourth time in the last five games. While the rushing attack was fine for the most part, they did have their struggles in short-yardage situations.
The Cowboys were unusually bad in short-yardage situations against the Lions. Credit Detroit's defense for shedding and flying as they closed quickly. pic.twitter.com/IUeGxIWJMA— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) October 24, 2022
When we saw Zeke laying on the ground after taking a hit to the leg, it didn’t look good. We’ve seen those exact types of collisions end player's seasons before. But in true Elliott form, the veteran was back on the field in no time and he was jumping over people. Outstanding.
I don't care what anyone says, Ezekiel Elliott is one tough SOB pic.twitter.com/cj40KdZvqq— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) October 24, 2022
You can say he’s lost some juice. You can say he’s overpaid. But one thing you can’t say is that Elliott is soft because he’s one of the grittiest players on this football team and he gives everything he’s got.
There were a lot of fans not happy about the Cowboys' play-calling. Why was Kellen Moore trying to get cute? What is up with these end-arounds when they’re just trying to run out the clock? After re-watching the game, I don’t have an issue with the play-calling. Moore is always looking for mismatches and he’s not just going to sit on his offensive weapons. When the team executes, they look nice. When they don’t, Moore looks like a goat. That’s just how it works.
As the lone member of the Kellen Moore fan club, let’s the best play-call of the game. Spread the defense out and give Tony Pollard room to run.
Kellen Moore gets accused of putting on his fancy pants, which is weird considering how fans whine about being "vanilla," but he has some cool play designs and when the execution is there, it's fun to watch. Moore explosive plays are coming soon! pic.twitter.com/qDFBmZGlK4— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) October 24, 2022
The Lions are a good rushing team with a good offensive line, so we knew it was going to be a task to slow them down. Not having their star back D’Andre Swift certainly helped the Cowboys, but credit the defense for getting in there and making stops. They’ll still have moments where their opponents will find creases and get some nice gains, but they also have plenty of tackles in the backfield.
The Cowboys' run defense is a weird beast. They either give up nice gains or blast you in the backfield. Watch Dante Fowler, DeMarcus Lawrence, and Carlos Watkins get so deep into the backfield that they're going through the running backs' front pockets looking for change. pic.twitter.com/Xf8KZ81g5d— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) October 24, 2022
This defense is so fun to watch because their guys never quit. Players across the board are always on as this is one of the highest-motor groups we’ve seen in a long while. Defenders will come out of nowhere to make a play all the way across the field. It’s just a testament to the high energy that Dan Quinn’s group brings.
It's truly amazing how consistently relentless the Cowboys' edge rushers are. So many times a player will come from a different time zone to make the play. There is no escape from DeMarcus Lawrence, Dorance Armstrong, and Micah Parsons. They will get you. pic.twitter.com/MbB3hdPyvQ— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) October 24, 2022
And never was it more on display when the Lions had a chance to take the lead in the fourth quarter, but thanks to a couple of defensive stars, Detroit came away with nada!
This is such a phenomenal two-play sequence by the Cowboys' defensive leaders. The Lions had two shots at a walk-in touchdown, but Micah Parsons and DeMarcus Lawrence had other plans. This is why you never give up! pic.twitter.com/nvUVXGUu1q— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) October 24, 2022
CAREER DAY FOR THE ROOK!
There were plenty of defensive playmakers on this day, but it was a stellar day for the Cowboys' 2022 second-round draft pick Sam Williams.
What has two thumbs and predicted Sam Williams would get his first-ever NFL sack in this game? This guy. However, I could not have predicted he would've been this much of a game-wrecker. Have yourself a day, rook! pic.twitter.com/m01YD0dD2s— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) October 24, 2022
Jim Nantz and Tony Romo noted that it should’ve been a penalty when Williams body-slammed the running back. Williams has had a handful of personal foul penalties which was one of his bugaboos at Ole Miss. You got to love his aggressiveness, but he needs to keep that tenacity within the confines of the rules of the game.
DONO SPLASHES AGAIN
Jayron Kearse drew a tough assignment with covering T.J. Hockenson who was kept to just 48 yards on four catches. But the real safety star of the day was Donovan Wilson who thrives at the line of scrimmage. Wilson continues his splash play collection with a couple of outstanding plays attacking in the backfield. Wilson is in the last year of his rookie contract and is picking a great time to have a monster year.
Even with Jayron Kearse back, Donovan Wilson keeps making splash plays. Watch him launch his blocker into the body of the RB forcing a fumble, and watch the nice bend to get around the edge for a sack. Bravo, Dono. Bravo. pic.twitter.com/zRmB2ZGB1u— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) October 24, 2022
Raise your hand if you thought the Cowboys were going to get flagged for “leaping” and give the Lions a new set of downs. Fortunately, the officials got together and made the correct call. What’s a Lions game without picking up a flag, amiright?
Dorance Armstrong is so athletic that even from a standstill spot at the line of scrimmage, he creates the illusion of "leaping." I'm glad the referees got together and discussed this as this would have been an egregious error had they not picked up the flag. pic.twitter.com/CD9PSDbSwK— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) October 24, 2022
And this is how close KaVontae Turpin was to having a 90-yard punt return for a touchdown.
It's just a matter of time before KaVontae Turpin takes one to the house, but that time could've been Sunday. There's no way anyone catches him if he breaks to the outside. pic.twitter.com/vQhTF4yacW— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) October 24, 2022