ARLINGTON, Texas – This one had a game-winning kick and a running back that had the best day of any skill player this season.
But there were more moments to this one than just Brett Maher's 38-yard field goal as time expired, or any of Ezekiel Elliott's 240 all-purpose yards.
Throughout every game, there are several moments or plays that go unnoticed, or could be overlooked. Still, they play a huge role in the eventual outcome.
Let's look at five plays that changed the direction of this game.
Lions fail to pin Cowboys deep – On the first drive of the game, the Lions were able to get into Cowboys' territory but stalled thanks to a big tackle for loss on second down. But the Detroit punt seemingly put the Cowboys down at their own 1-yard line. However, the Lions weren't able to keep a toe off the goal line, forcing a touchback that moved the ball out to the 20. Considering that Dallas went three-and-out on that drive anyway, it's fair to assume the Cowboys would have used a more conservative approach with their backs against the goal line, which would've led to a punt and much better field position for the Lions, who started the next possession on their 30 and again had to punt.
D-Law gets to Stafford before halftime – What a game for DeMarcus Lawrence, who was able to get to Matthew Stafford three times. But the first one was perhaps the biggest, pushing the Lions back from scoring before halftime. With the Cowboys leading 13-10, Detroit had first down at its own 45 with 1:13 left to play before half. Stafford was sacked for a 9-yard loss by Lawrence, changing the dynamic of the drive and how aggressive the Lions wanted to be. Instead of trying for points, the Lions went for a short pass and then a deep ball down the sideline that fell incomplete. The Cowboys were able to go into the half with the lead, but it might've been different without that sack.
Dak finds Beasley near the end zone – On a third-and-10 from the Lions' 12-yard line late in the third quarter, the Cowboys were trying to extend a three-point lead. Dak Prescott nearly took a sack but somehow altered his throwing motion just enough to fire a pass into Cole Beasley, who had gotten open over the middle. Beasley was able to stretch the ball out for 9 yards, setting up a manageable fourth-and-1 from the 3. Ezekiel Elliott picked up the needed yardage on that play, setting up a TD pass to Geoff Swaim moments later. But without the 9-yard gain on third down, the Cowboys likely settle for a field goal and a 16-10 lead instead of 20-10.
Lions penalty leads to FG – The Cowboys led 20-17 with 10:43 to play, and faced third-and-7 at the Lions' 47. Prescott quickly fired a pass to Michael Gallup that fell incomplete, which would've led to a punt. However, the Lions were called for lining up offside, giving Dallas a third-and-2 from the 42. This time, Elliott got the handoff and went for 7 yards and a first down. The Cowboys were able to keep the ball moving and picked up a field goal to make it a six-point game.
Dak's alert scoop and throw saves time – With the game on the line, the Cowboys needed to get into field goal range and couldn't have any setbacks. However, a fumble by Prescott seemingly put the offense way behind the chains on second-and-3 from the 32. Prescott was able to scoop it up back at the 19 and scrambled himself out of the pocket to throw it away and set up third-and-3. If Prescott simply falls on the ball to keep possession, it would've been third-and-16 and one less timeout. That play kept it manageable for the Cowboys, who got 9 yards on the next snap and eventually drove for the game-winning field goal.