DETROIT– The Cowboys scored four touchdowns, including a few highlight throws from Dak Prescott and some nifty running from the two backs, Tony Pollard and Ezekiel Elliott.
Those were big, but all games have those plays that go unnoticed but still play a major factor in the outcome. Here are the five you can’t forget about:
First 13 For 13 – Michael Gallup had one of the best games of his career, including a dazzling 41-yard catch that led to a crucial touchdown. But his first catch of the day was huge. The Cowboys were off to a terrible start, already down 7-0 with two offensive drives netting only 3 yards and a fumble. But on first down at their own 14, the Cowboys calmed down and went to work. Prescott hit Gallup for 13 yards out to the 27. From there, the offense drove down to the Lions’ 2-yard line and settled for a field goal. It was only three points, but the way the Cowboys were able to shift the momentum on that first catch not only got the offense on track, but perhaps Gallup as well as he finished with 148 yards.
D-Law stuffs Scarborough – The Cowboys held a 17-14 lead before the half, but the Lions had some life after they converted a 20-yard gain on first-and-17 from their own 8. However, on the next play, former Cowboys draft pick Bo Scarbrough, who had already scored once, was met in the backfield by DeMarcus Lawrence for a 6-yard loss. That led to the Lions having to punt, giving Dallas enough time to generate another drive. The Cowboys took over at their 17-yard line with 1:48 left and marched down for a touchdown to grab a 24-14 lead before the half. But the tackle for loss by “D-Law” helped swing the momentum back to Dallas.
Witten’s back-to-back catches – Leading 28-21 early in the fourth quarter, the Cowboys had just picked up 5 yards on second down with a catch by Jason Witten. But on third-and-3 at the 38, Prescott went through at least three reads before firing another pass to Witten. The future Hall of Famer hauled in an 11-yard catch with a defender on his back. The Cowboys moved the chains and eventually scored a touchdown for a two-score lead.
Tavon’s swat; Cooper steals the pick – Here’re two plays for one, both involving near interceptions for Pro Bowler Darius Slay. The Lions cornerback thought he had an easy pick down the field on a throw from Prescott, but Tavon Austin came flying in to knock the ball away. On second down, Prescott then fired a pass to Amari Cooper, but Slay jumped the route and nearly had another pick. Instead, the ball went through his hands and straight to Cooper, who picked up first-down yardage. A few plays later, Elliott scored on a screen pass to give the Cowboys a commanding lead.
Pollard salvages a bad bounce – The kickoff returns were a bit of an adventure for Pollard, who already returned one out of the end zone that should’ve been downed. He also let a few bounce to the end zone for touchbacks. But late in the game, after the Lions trimmed the lead to 8, Pollard let the ball bounce over his head and assumed it would land in the end zone. But a crazy bounce stopped the ball at the 5-yard line, where Pollard alertly caught it, turned up the field and broke a few tackles to get out to the 31. Had he just grabbed the ball and gone down, the Cowboys would’ve been pinned back and likely changed the aggressive nature of their calls. The Lions didn’t take over until 3:44 was left in the game, but back on their own 14-yard line.