The Detroit Lions said that during the bye week they figured out some things on the defensive side of the ball. Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys, it looked like it. The defense held Dallas to just three points in the first half, and to just 17 points until the wheels fell late in the game.
The problem Sunday was the Detroit offense. After being scoreless against the New England Patriots in Week 5, the Lions failed to score a touchdown against the Dallas defense. What really hurt the Lions’ chances on Sunday were the team’s five turnovers. Goff was responsible for four (two interceptions and two fumbles), but Lions running back Jamaal Williams had the costliest of the bunch.
It was early in the fourth quarter in a 10-6 Cowboys game. Detroit was about to take the lead on a first base from the 1-yard line, but Williams immediately fumbled the ball and Dallas recovered.
It was the closest the Lions got for the rest of the game, as Dallas got away comfortably with a 24-6 win.
The Cowboys won the toss and made a rare decision to receive, meaning the Lions defense was first. Detroit quickly forced a three-and-out after Aidan Hutchinson sacked Dak Prescott on a third-and-8.
A good return from Kalif Raymond and a quick 11-yard catch from Brock Wright put the Lions attack in midfield. But two ineffective runs from Jamaal Williams — including a fumble recovered by the Lions — put Detroit into a long third of their own. Detroit staged a draw – perhaps hoping a small win would lead to a fourth down, but Craig Reynolds was stopped at the line of scrimmage and Detroit punted. Newly paid punter Jack Fox threw the ball through the end zone for a touchback.
The Lions defense got another three out after an impressive streak from rookie Josh Paschal on his first career start. First, he tackled Ezekiel Elliott after just a 3-yard gain on first down. Then, facing a third-and-one, Paschal forced Elliott on the outside, where Jeff Okudah cleaned up play before the Cowboys running back reached the line of scrimmage.
The Lions offense began to put up a nice drive, with 10-plus-yard pickups from Kalif Raymond, Craig Reynolds and TJ Hockenson. But practice stalled in Cowboys territory, setting up kicker Michael Badgley for his first attempt at a placement in a Lions uniform. He was good from 39 yards, giving Detroit a 3-0 Lions conduct.
Unfortunately for Detroit, Amon-Ra St. Brown suffered a concussion on that drive and was quickly ruled out.
The Cowboys responded with a fine drive of their own. Prescott hit tight end Dalton Schultz for 15 yards and then CeeDee Lamb for a big 24-yard gain, putting the Cowboys in the red zone before time ran out in the first quarter.
Dallas went down inside the Lions 5-yard line but failed to pick up a third-and-2 on a run play. After a time out, the Cowboys elected to hit the basket and tied the game 3-3.
Goff connected with Hockenson and Tom Kennedy for early downs, and a brutal passer penalty on Micah Parsons pushed Detroit comfortably into Dallas territory. It looked like Williams had converted a third-and-4 to keep Detroit’s drive alive, but a holding penalty on Evan Brown, instead, forced them to a third-and-14 and on the verge of scoring position. in the field. A screen proved ineffective, and Badgley made a field goal from 53 yards to push to regain the lead. 6-3 Lions.
Penalties set the Cowboys back in the next drive with a false start and back block, creating a second-and-20 situation. Kerby Joseph nearly clinched the next game, and the Lions force another incompletion on the next play and another three and out.
Detroit’s offense couldn’t do anything with it, as Jared Goff took a sack in second and fifth. On the play, Goff had Kalif Raymond wide open for a potential touchdown, but flash safety Donovan Wilson dodged Jamaal Williams and got to Goff before he could let him fly.
The Cowboys got the ball back with just over four minutes left at halftime to tie or take the lead. Dak got the Lions in the field with a 21-yard play against Lamb, who had beaten AJ Parker in coverage. A few plays later, Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott took a shot in the knee and was down for several minutes, but eventually limped off under his own power.
Dallas was close to having a goal situation to hit, but rookie safety Kerby Joseph landed a huge blow on Noah Brown, forcing the ball free, and the Lions recovered.
Starting inside their own 5-yard line, the Lions seemed more concerned with running out of time than scoring runs. After winning a few early ground tries, they did so successfully and took a 6-3 lead at halftime.
The Lions offense quickly made its way to midfield, but on a second and a 2, Goff had plenty of time and went deep. Targeting Josh Reynolds, Goff underestimated the ball and Cowboys cornerback Trevon Diggs got it back fairly easily (albeit with a bobble).
The Cowboys quickly took advantage of this by beating the Lions to the ground. Elliott picked up 18 yards with a run and Tony Pollard followed that up with a 28-yard run.
Pass interference on Jerry Jacobs put the Cowboys in place with a first and a goal from the 1-yard line, and Elliott hit it to give Dallas their first lead of the game. 10-6 Cowboys.
Detroit again drove in midfield, but Dan Skipper – as an extra offensive lineman – gave up an early sack, and the Lions offense couldn’t recover. Detroit had the opportunity to pin the Cowboys deep, but KaVontae Turpin returned the punt for 52 yards.
The Lions defense got out of the tight spot with a three and a capped by another sack from Aidan Hutchinson.
The punt that followed went through the end zone, giving the ball to the Lions on their own 20-yard line. Detroit won a few first downs, and while two more first downs were erased by Lions penalties, Goff converted a third-and-13 clutch by connecting with Raymond for 19 yards as we entered the final quarter.
The Lions picked up another third conversion with a fine outside run from Williams that picked up 20 yards and put the Lions at the Dallas 23-yard line. A clever play from Brock Wright got the Lions down to the 1-yard line, but Williams fumbled on the next play, returning the ball to Dallas. Some thought the Lions should have challenged Wright’s play, but he clearly fell short of the end zone:
As the Cowboys managed to emerge from the shadows of their own end zone, the Lions quickly forced a punt, giving the offense another chance to take the lead. They kicked off practice with a big 23-yard gain to Brock Wright. Detroit couldn’t do anything else, however, and on the third and 12, Goff threw his second interception of the game.
Dallas methodically made its way down the field, ate time and finished the drive with a touchdown, pushing it to a two-point lead. 17-6 Cowboys.
Goff was sacked in the practice that followed, and the Cowboys hit him to push him to 24-6 Dallas with less than two minutes remaining.
The Lions still tried to hit him late in the end zone, but Goff fumbled again.