It was a bounce back game for the Cowboys in their dismantling of Jared Goff and the Detroit Lions in Week 7, a performance that pushed them to an impressive 5-2 start to the 2022 season and puts them in position to gain more ground in the NFC as they start preparing to host the Chicago Bears. But first, let's give a Second Thought about what they did to the Lions.
The Verdikt from "No C": Never apologize for a win, especially in a league wherein they're so difficult to come by. The Cowboys did what they were supposed to do - beating a bad team rather handily - and they did it with a defensive obliteration that sent shockwaves up to and through Mount Olympus. I mean, seriously, five takeaways … in a half??
It was an effort that completely overshadowed the return of Dak Prescott, if not for Prescott being able to use the added possessions to awaken the comatose offense to the tune of three touchdowns - fueled by those takeaways. And not to be forgotten is how KaVontae Turpin continues to be a weapon as a returner - special teams continuing to impact games (including Bryan Anger and Brett Maher). Was the win perfect? Not at all. But you know what it is, though? A win … and one with a defensive message attached to it. -Patrik Walker
Unsung Hero: Sooner or later, or maybe never, people will truly begin to realize what Ezekiel Elliott does for this team. His numbers aren't as gaudy as they once were, but he continues to be the transmission that helps move the offense forward and this was again the case against the Lions - Elliott powering through what might be a knee contusion suffered during the game to deliver timely blocks in pass protection along with accounting or two of the Cowboys three touchdowns on the afternoon.
Elliott provides the thunder to Tony Pollard's lightning, but the three-time Pro Bowler reminded everyone he still has a lot of fire in his legs - hurdling a defender on a critical drive that followed Trevon Diggs' interception and led to one of Elliott's two touchdowns (and, again, this was after getting his knee walloped). If not for the stabilizing force that was Elliott, Prescott's return might've had a much, much different outcome. -Patrik Walker
Milestone Moment: On the day when Dalton Schultz returned to the lineup with a knee injury, it was another big moment for a rookie tight end. When Peyton Hendershot caught his first career touchdown in the fourth quarter, it marked the first time in Cowboys history that two rookie tight ends caught a touchdown pass in the same season. Jake Ferguson did it last week in Philly, followed by Hendershot against the Lions. -Nick Eatman
Stat of the Game: Any stat that takes us back to the Super Bowl days must be a good one. All the fans talk about is how long it has been since the Cowboys were playing in those games, so this must be a significant stat. How about the first time since Super Bowl XXVII have the Cowboys recorded five turnovers in a single half. The Cowboys turned over the Lions a handful times after halftime on Sunday. The last time it occurred in a game was that Super Bowl Sunday against the Bills in the 1992 season when they had five first-half turnovers in the 52-17 rout. _-Nick Eatma
The Kustodian's Kloset: So while there's nothing to apologize for when the outcome is a win, it's also true there are items to clean up to get better as a team going forward, and the Cowboys left some meat on the bone in the first half against the Lions. More effective play-calling and execution on third-and-1 is a must and the dark cloud of penalties (seven for 55 yards) need to be Swiffered as well for the offense, along with a usually high-performing tandem of Tyler Smith and Terence Steele getting back to disallowing pressure on the Cowboys quarterback.
These will be talking points ahead of the Chicago Bears arriving this coming weekend, along with getting a handle on opponents' rushing attack, to avoid throwing away a chance to move to 6-2 on the year. -Patrik Walker