4 Cowboys who rescued Mike McCarthy from coaching disaster in win over Lions

The Dallas Cowboys made it tough on themselves but these four players willed them to a narrow win in Week 17

Dallas Cowboys
Dallas Cowboys / Cooper Neill/GettyImages
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The Dallas Cowboys were able to snap a two-game losing streak with a 20-19 win over the Detroit Lions in Week 17. They surely didn't make it easy on themselves with a couple of turnovers, some terrible clock management by Mike McCarthy, and another prevent-defense meltdown from Dan Quinn. Despite their best efforts, Dallas pulled it off thanks to Taylor Decker being flagged for illegal touching on what looked like a game-winning two-point conversion.

Now at 11-5, the Cowboys suddenly control their own destiny in the NFC East after the Eagles choked and lost to the lowly Cardinals. With a win over the Commanders in Week 18, Dallas takes the division and the No. 2 seed.

In the meantime, let's look back at this nail-biting win and highlight four players who willed the team to victory ... and saved McCarthy from a historic coaching collapse.

4. Brandin Cooks, Wide Receiver

He didn't have the monster night CeeDee Lamb had but the No. 2 wideout in Dallas was still an integral part of this win. Brandin Cooks finished with five receptions for 60 yards and even hauled in an eight-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter to put Dallas up 17-13. That score was huge but it wouldn't have happened if not for another play Cooks made earlier in the same drive.

Facing a third-and-five from their own 41, the Cowboys needed a spark and Dak Prescott went to Cooks โ€” who was happy to oblige. With pressure coming at his face, Prescott dropped a dime into the arms of Cooks who not only made a great sideline catch but held onto the ball despite Brian Branch swatting at the ball. Cooks shook off his blanket coverage and the ball never moved even as he hit the turf.

Cooks was nearly the hero in Week 16 when he caught a late touchdown to give the Cowboys the lead over Miami. The defense was unable to hold up in that one, but that wasn't the case this time.