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After further review: Dak Prescott’s return and how the Cowboys' defense never stops working

What we can learn after re-watching the Cowboys tape versus the Lions.

NFL: Detroit Lions at Dallas Cowboys Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

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.



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:

And others left something to be desired:

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 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.

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.

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.



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.


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.


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!


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.

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.


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.


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?

And this is how close KaVontae Turpin was to having a 90-yard punt return for a touchdown.

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