Cowboys vs. Lions score, takeaways: Dak Prescott victorious in return as Dallas sinks turnover-prone Detroit

It was a surprisingly low-scoring contest, but the Dallas Cowboys nevertheless secured their fifth victory of the season on Sunday, defeating the Detroit Lions 24-6. 

Most of the talk leading up to the game was about the return of Dak Prescott, but the Dallas pass offense was somewhat quiet in this contest and it took until the final two minutes of the game before Prescott (19 of 25 for 207 yards) threw his first touchdown pass of the season. Instead, the Cowboys leaned on their defense and run game for most of the afternoon. Dallas actually trailed 6-3 at halftime, but scored three second-half touchdowns and did not allow the Lions to get into the end zone at all.

Detroit, which entered the game without D'Andre Swift, lost Amon-Ra St. Brown on its second drive of the game with a concussion. Without their top two offensive threats, the Lions actually still managed to move the ball fairly efficiently (5.6 yards per play), but they undermined themselves by committing five turnovers and taking five sacks. Those miscues were all Dallas needed to stage a comeback victory.

Here are a few more things to know about this game. 

Why the Cowboys won

Timely turnovers, stingy defense and a strong run game. The Lions scored at least 24 points in each of their first four games of the season (and at least 35 in three of them) before being shut out by the Patriots in their fifth game. Dallas held Detroit to just six points in this one, with the aforementioned four turnovers and four sacks setting the tone for that performance. The Cowboys also got big games from both Ezekiel Elliott (two touchdowns on the ground) and Tony Pollard (109 total yards on 14 touches). Plus, Prescott was efficient (8.3 yards per attempt), if not necessarily explosive in his return from a broken thumb. 

Why the Lions lost

Turnovers. That's about it. For much of the game, the Lions and Cowboys were essentially even in time of possession, yards per play, yards per run and yards per pass. But Detroit turned the ball over four times, and Dallas turned it over only once. Jared Goff was intercepted once each by Trevon Diggs and Jourdan Lewis, Jamaal Williams lost a fumble at the goal line when Detroit had a chance to take the lead, and with Detroit needing two desperation drives to stage a comeback, Goff was strip-sacked by Dallas rookie Sam Williams. Then, after Dallas made it a three-score game, Goff was strip-sacked by Micah Parsons. 

Turning point

After Diggs picked off Goff early in the third quarter, Dallas ripped off a seven-play, 82-yard drive led by Elliott and Pollard. The two running backs combined for 64 yards on six carries, including Elliott's 1-yard plunge into the end zone to give the Cowboys their first lead of the game. 

Highlight play

After taking a nasty looking hit to his knee toward the end of the first half, it looked like Zeke might have suffered a serious injury. Incredibly, he not only came back into the game, but looked better than he did before the injury. That included a ridiculous full-speed hurdle of a Lions defender to break off his biggest gain of the day. 

What's next

The Cowboys are now 5-2 after playing the Lions and they will quickly finish up the NFC North portion of their schedule. They host the Chicago Bears next week, take their bye in Week 9, then visit the Packers in Week 10 and Vikings in Week 11. The Lions are 1-5 and will be in action for 11 consecutive weeks after taking their bye in Week 7. The next month features home games against the Dolphins and Packers followed by trips to Chicago and New York to take on the Bears and Giants, respectively.

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Dallas improves to 5-2 on the season, and will finish up the NFC North portion of its schedule over the next few weeks. The Cowboys host the Bears next week, then take their bye before traveling to Green Bay and Minnesota. 

The Lions drop to 1-5 on the year and after going on bye last week, still have to play 10 consecutive games from here on out. Up next are the Dolphins and Packers at home, followed by the Bears and Giants on the road.

October 23, 2022, 7:51 PM
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Wow.

October 23, 2022, 7:47 PM
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FIVE turnovers. Micah Parsons this time.

October 23, 2022, 7:47 PM
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Khalif Raymond has done a pretty nice job coming in and playing a bigger role in a bad spot after St. Brown was injured earlier in the game. 5-75 through the air for him now.

October 23, 2022, 7:46 PM
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Dak Prescott's first touchdown of the year goes to fourth-round rookie TE Jake Ferguson. This final score will not reflect how close the game was for most of the afternoon.

October 23, 2022, 7:42 PM
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Another big play from Pollard. He's had several chunk gains today. 83 yards on the ground now, plus a 19-yard catch earlier.

October 23, 2022, 7:38 PM
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FOURTH turnover of the game for the Lions and that will probably do it, folks. Sam Williams with the strip-sack, and then Dorance Armstrong with the recovery of Williams' fumble. 

October 23, 2022, 7:35 PM
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Then he gets in on the next play to make it a two-score lead with 2:46 to go.

October 23, 2022, 7:31 PM
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Usually you see a RB leap for the end zone from the 1-yard line. Zeke just tried it from about the 4-. Got the first down but not the touchdown.

October 23, 2022, 7:31 PM
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Back-to-back catches by Noah Brown. make up for the holding penalty on that Pollard run. Dallas now in the red zone, just outside the 10-yard line.

October 23, 2022, 7:28 PM
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Dak's hard count got the Detroit DL to jump, but it doesn't matter after he finds CeeDee over the middle for a first down anyway. Cowboys getting closer to scoring range now. Making this a two-score game, if they can get a touchdown, might put it away.

October 23, 2022, 7:27 PM
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Defensive holding on third down gives the Cowboys a free conversion after Dak had nowhere to go with the ball. Oof. Bad timing for that penalty.

October 23, 2022, 7:25 PM
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Lewis is headed to the locker room and needs the help of trainers. That does not look good for him at all. 

October 23, 2022, 7:22 PM
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Goff looking for Hockenson on third down but he's nowhere near open, and it gets picked off by Jourdan Lewis. Third turnover of the day for Detroit, but Lewis is down after the pick. 

October 23, 2022, 7:20 PM
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No. 2 TE Brock Wright is finding some openings in this Dallas defense. He's got 4 catches for 57 yards, leading the game in receiving yardage.

October 23, 2022, 7:18 PM
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All Pollard on this drive. Two runs and two catches, but only one first down. Alex Anzalone chased him down on third-and-1 and made a heck of a stop. Cowboys have to punt.

October 23, 2022, 7:14 PM
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That play looked like it was almost dead in the water but Dak finds Pollard in the flat for what turns into a big gain. It was damn near a pick-six.

October 23, 2022, 7:13 PM
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Looks like Williams just ran into his own blocker and dropped the ball. Second time this game that has happened.

October 23, 2022, 7:10 PM
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And Dan Campbell chose not to challenge the Wright catch. I think he was short of the end zone but there was a chance of it being overturned. 

October 23, 2022, 7:10 PM
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Oh wow. Jamaal Williams fumbles for the second time this game, only this time the Cowboys recover it. What a turn of events after it looked like the Lions had a chance to take the lead. 

October 23, 2022, 7:09 PM
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REALLY nicely designed screen play gets No. 2 TE Wright into open space and he damn near takes it to the end zone. Lions with a chance to take a lead on first-and-goal. 

October 23, 2022, 7:08 PM
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There, finally, is the chunk run for the Lions on third-and-2. Set up just outside the red zone now.

October 23, 2022, 7:06 PM
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We head to the fourth quarter with the Cowboys leading the Lions 10-6. This game is moving very quickly.

October 23, 2022, 7:03 PM
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Goff makes up for it, though, finding Raymond for 19 yards on third-and-13. Lions extend the drive. Nobody within a few yards of Raymond in that zone coverage.

October 23, 2022, 7:02 PM
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As soon as I compliment the Lions OL, they get called for two holding penalties in three plays. Naturally.

October 23, 2022, 7:01 PM
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This Lions offensive line is creating some nice holes. RBs just have not broken a big run yet.

October 23, 2022, 6:58 PM
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Aidan Hutchinson just smoked RT Terance Steele with an inside spin. That sack probably takes the Cowboys out of field goal range. Big stop from the Lions defense after being put in a bad position by the punt return.

October 23, 2022, 6:53 PM
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Turpin almost broke a huge return earlier and now he got one. He's been VERY close to taking one to the house a few times this season, and there's another. Dallas set up with excellent field position for this next drive.

October 23, 2022, 6:49 PM
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Parsons came screaming off the edge on third-and-long and nearly got a sack on Goff. He was able to escape and scramble for a bit but Parsons chased him down from behind. Rough hit on Goff but looks like he's alright.

October 23, 2022, 6:48 PM
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Cowboys DBs playing WAY off on that first-and-5 and Goff just fires it right to Khalif Raymond with plenty of room to run. Nice gain.

October 23, 2022, 6:46 PM
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