All’s well that ends well. The Dallas Cowboys narrowly squeaked by the NFC North Champion Detroit Lions on Saturday night. The game was too close for comfort, primarily because of untimely errors and questionable play-calling and time management from Mike McCarthy. The Lions played true to their reputation and were aggressive throughout the contest. They even gambled on a two-point conversion to take the lead late instead of opting for overtime.
The Cowboys’ exhilarating win in the final moments snaps a two-game losing streak and keeps hopes alive for an NFC East division title entering the last week of the season. On a night when Jimmy Johnson was inducted to the Cowboys Ring of Honor with several prominent Cowboys greats in the building, the team exhibited resilience in the clutch and a winning spirit that would make the Ring of Honor inductees proud. Here are your stars of the game of Saturday night’s win.
CeeDee Lamb continues to ascend among the ranks of elite receivers in the NFL. Weekly, Lamb shows up and shows out. On a night when Jimmy Johnson was inducted into the Ring of Honor, CeeDee Lamb made history. Lamb set the Cowboys franchise record for most receptions and yards in a single season by a Cowboys player. Lamb delivered a big time performance. He had 13 receptions for 227 yards and a touchdown. Lamb changed the early momentum of the game on his 92-yard touchdown reception. Lamb made Lions cornerback Kindle Vildor fall in coverage as grabbed the deep pass from Prescott near midfield and trotted his way to the end zone to give the Cowboys the 7-3 lead.
Sure, Lamb made a miscue on his fumble that went out of bounds, but overall it was a Cowboys performance for the ages. When Dak Prescott needed a first down or needed somebody to look to under pressure, Lamb answered the call. Lamb outgained the other Cowboys’ receiver by 118 yards. After Saturday’s game, Lamb now leads the NFL in receiving yards with 1,651 yards entering Sunday’s games. We’re witnessing an All-Pro season.
Jordan Lewis is somebody who doesn’t get enough respect these days. To be fair, when the season started, Lewis was likely going to be playing behind DaRon Bland as the slot corner and largely providing depth in the secondary. Since the season-ending injury to Trevon Diggs, Lewis has been relied upon to defend difficult matchups in the slot. Lately, he’s been terrific in his own return from injury.
Against Detroit? Lewis started his night with a physical tackle on end around from Jameson Williams that could have been a much bigger play for the Lions. His second quarter interception of Jared Goff was Lewis perfectly reading a screen play and getting the takeaway. He finished the night with six tackles.
Lewis looks like a different player, and his confidence is evident. If he can keep this level of play, it’ll tremendously uplift the defense heading into the postseason.
Watch this play.
After a fake punt, the Lions had stolen the momentum from the Cowboys and were on the verge of taking the lead from Dallas. Detroit called the right play, pulling their offensive linemen to the left. Wilson does an amazing job to take on Jonah Jackson blocks head-on and make the stop on the speedy Jahmyr Gibbs. On the next play, Detroit would go for it on fourth down unsuccessfully and hand the ball back to the Dallas offense.
Later in the game, when the defense needed yet another stop, it was Donovan Wilson coming through in the clutch. Trailing 17-13, the Lions were in their two-minute offense and looking to go ahead late. Jared Goff dropped back to throw an out route to Sam La Porta. Wilson read the play and drove on the pass for the diving interception. Wilson’s interception allowed the Cowboys to take a seven-point edge that led to the game’s final sequence.
Dak Prescott got more thrust on his plate than was necessary. The running game was nearly nonexistent. The reason for that was the insistence from the head coach and play-caller Mike McCarthy to run the ball on first down over and over. The Detroit Lions are a tough matchup for running backs, and the Cowboys unwisely welcomed the challenge. As a result, Prescott was tasked with several obvious passing downs. There was no complaining from number four, as he dug his team out of unfavorable situations. Prescott was also without guard Tyler Smith, who was hurt in the second half, and it only intensified the Lion’s pass rush.
With the help of Lamb, Prescott bounced back from an early interception and threw for 345 yards, his fifth 300-yard passing game this season and the 28th of his career. Prescott’s toughness in the pocket and improvisational skills led to Lamb’s 92-yard score. Then Prescott’s game-winning drive in the fourth quarter was exceptional. Prescott scored five-for-five on that drive and made two critical throws to Brandin Cooks. First, Prescott found Cooks down the right sideline for a 21-yard gain to keep the drive alive. Then Prescott capped off the possession with an 8-yard touchdown to Cooks.