ARLINGTON, Texas — After giving up a drastic 266 yards on the ground in a loss to Buffalo two weeks ago, the Cowboys defense has rebounded in the absence of Johnathan Hankins by allowing just 216 yards in the two games since against two top-five rushing teams in the NFL.
The credit can largely be attributed to the Cowboys' defensive ends – namely DeMarcus Lawrence and Micah Parsons – for containing the edges and not letting Lions running backs David Montgomery and Jahmyr Gibbs find continued success outside the tackles on Saturday night.
As a result, the Cowboys defense as a whole has been able to limit offensive success and stack solid defensive drives.
"That's what it's really about, getting back on track," Lawrence said in the locker room postgame. "With a win, the confidence grows. We're just running and hitting and having fun with our brotherhood."
The Cowboys defense anticipated a gameplan from Detroit to rely on the run and not let the Dallas pass rush get active, but the Cowboys were able to limit the run game and get to Jared Goff in the win.
"We kind of knew what they wanted to come into [the game]," Parsons said. "They didn't really want us to pass rush. I had been hearing all week they got the best tackles. It shows us how good we can be when we hone in on our keys and do what we need to do."
"Trusting it into the gameplan that we designed throughout the week," Lawrence said. "The calls lead us to go make plays, we just have to go out there and do it."
The win puts the Cowboys back on track at 11-5 with one game left in the regular season next week at Washington. With the confidence of the team's 16th consecutive home win in hand over an NFC contender that they could see in January, the momentum moving forward has the Cowboys looking for their second five-game winning streak of the season – one that would see them hoisting the trophy in Las Vegas at season's end.
"Wins are crucial and it's hard to win, no matter who you go against," Parsons said. "It's any given Saturday or Sunday at this point. It's crucial that we get the win and create some momentum going into the playoffs."
"I think we're really, really freaking close. But there's always room to get better. We're not perfect. At the end of the day, it's all about heart, dedication and what you put into it."