Cowboys beat Lions: What were the keys to victory?
The Dallas Cowboys climbed back to 2-2 with their win over the Detroit Lions. What were the keys to this week’s victory? Let’s dissect the specifics.
The Dallas Cowboys pulled out a vintage 24-26 victory over the Detroit Lions at home Sunday. The defense was not as solid as they’ve been so far but used opportunistic sacks and pressures to help the team to victory. The offense went back to what the fans were calling for and fed running back Ezekiel Elliott. Let’s dissect the specifics that paved the way for a Cowboys victory.
The first key to victory was an offense that produced the highest output all season. What made the offense run? All-Pro running back Ezekiel Elliott. Offensive coordinator Scott Linehan finally allowed Elliott to carry the ball for more than 20 times and Elliot finished with 25 carries for 152 yards.
Linehan also involved Elliott in the passing game more with screen plays that turned into points, as well as a deep pass to set up the game-winning field goal. Linehan had been confining Elliott to pass-blocking and check-down duties in the passing game. This game he allowed Elliott to get different looks as well as involve back-up running back Rod Smith to provide a change of pace.
This all translated to quarterback Dak Prescott and his performance in the passing game. The play-action passing game opened up today and the offensive line had the benefit of pass-blocking against a tired and Elliott-strung defense. Prescott had time and routinely was able to step into accurate throws.
Prescott also took the deep shots Linehan called and could’ve had over 300 yards passing had his receivers made a few more plays. Dak was accurate overall and seemed comfortable and in-rhythm all game. He was not perfect and could have had some disastrous moments, but all-in-all played a good game. This is the scheme and performance from Prescott the team needs to see the rest of the season if they want to be a playoff team.
Finally, the Cowboys did not commit the backbreaking turnovers and penalties this team has been accustomed to in its two losses. First downs remained first downs and sacks did not tun into roughing the passer. As a usually disciplined team under head coach Jason Garrett, the team is getting back to playing that way. With Prescott keeping the ball safe through the air, the Cowboys were able to win the field position battle.
While the defense did provide pressure and got to quarterback Matthew Stafford, the secondary allowed way too many busted plays and tackling remains poor. They also have had trouble creating turnovers, but have the talent to get this turned around.
When both sides of the ball are clicking at full speed, this team can be dangerous. With defensive lineman David Irving returning next week, we might see a culmination of both sides of the ball against the Houston Texans and their leaky offensive line. Hopefully, this win is the turnaround the teams’ been looking for.