ARLINGTON, Texas – The Cowboys said all week they planned to keep their edge despite clinching home-field advantage throughout the upcoming playoffs. Monday's 42-21 victory over the Detroit Lions at AT&T Stadium was convincing proof.
On Sunday the DallasCowboys.com staff writers gave their gut feeling for Monday's game. Check out their instant reactions:
Nick Eatman: The Cowboys might have had a lull in the second quarter, but that's really the only complaint a fan could have about this game. They got to see just about everything and then some. The Cowboys purely dominated the second half on both sides of the ball. And they started to have some fun out there, with a trick play from Dez to Witten. Personally, I had the Cowboys winning this game comfortably but that was really the only thing I had right. Scandrick didn't get the pick although he was close. Beasley didn't have two scores, but it was Dez. But we all wondered how this team would perform when the pressure was off. We got the answer, and I think the rest of the league did as well.
David Helman: Well, I thought the Cowboys were going to score a bunch of points – but the difference is that I thought Detroit would keep pace. It's safe to say that didn't happen, as Rod Marinelli and the Dallas defense made some magical adjustments in a 42-21 beating. It's absolutely astonishing how effectively the Cowboys put the clamps on. Detroit's first three possessions tallied up 21 points on 28 plays. Their next five possessions? How about zero points on 26 plays. That's staggering. And meanwhile, the Dallas offense was the same old, efficient juggernaut we've gotten used to seeing this season. The Cowboys still have too many self-inflicted wounds, due largely to penalties. But there's no way you can look at this game as anything other than one of the finest performances of the year. Dak Prescott spread the ball around to all of his weapons, and both Zeke Elliott and Darren McFadden looked deadly on the ground. This was a Lions team that will contend for a division title next week, and the Cowboys pounded them. Not too shabby.
Rob Phillips: The Cowboys entered the game averaging over 27 points at home in seven contests, so I thought the key to Week 16 would be the Lions' ability or inability to score touchdowns in the red zone. After going 0-for-3 the previous week against the Giants, the Lions were a perfect 3-for-3 on their first three drives, all rushing touchdowns. The downside for Detroit: The Cowboys countered with a season-high 42 points and piled up too much offense for Matt Stafford and Co. to overcome. The Cowboys' defense did stop the Lions inside the 20 with a late fumble recovery that helped seal the game – part of a terrific second half by Rod Marinelli's group. The Lions' final eight possessions included four punts, interception, missed field goal, fumble recovery. Another great team win, tying the most in franchise history for a single season.
Bryan Broaddus: I thought that we were going to see more of Ezekiel Elliott running the ball but it just didn't make much sense with the way that the Lions were loading the box. What was interesting is that the Lions, with their banged up secondary, didn't do anything to help their corners which Prescott and these receivers took full advantage of.