DETROIT – Dak Prescott threw for 444 yards and three touchdowns, lifting the Dallas Cowboys to a 35-27 win over the Detroit Lions on Sunday.
The Cowboys (6-4) have won three of four games, leaning on the league’s top offense.
Dallas has had balance with the ball, but Prescott was passing with such ease that it wasn’t necessary to try to move the ball much on the ground in the Motor City.
The Lions (3-6-1) were without Matthew Stafford for a second straight game and have lost six of seven.
Stafford’s backup, Jeff Driskel, played well enough to give his team a shot to compete. He threw a 25-yard yard TD pass to Marvin Jones with 5:49 left to pull Detroit within eight points.
The Lions forced Dallas to punt on the ensuing drive, but they punted it back while facing a fourth-and-26 from midfield.
From the Cowboys 13 on second down, Prescott sealed the victory with a 23-yard pass to Blake Jarwin.
Driskel was 15 of 26 for 209 with two TDs passing and a rushing score.
That wasn’t enough to keep up with Prescott, who completed 29 of 46 passes.
The two-time Pro Bowler threw a 21-yard TD pass to Tony Pollard early in the second quarter and a 19-yard pass to Randall Cobb with 27 seconds left in the quarter, giving him a career-high 274 yards passing in a first half.
Prescott threw a pass slightly wide to Ezekiel Elliott midway through the fourth quarter and the running back made the catch, kept his balance and scored from 17 yards out.
Michael Gallup had nine catches for 148 yards, and Cobb made four receptions for 115 yards.
As usual, Dallas did not get off to a good start.
The Cowboys gave up the first score for the seventh time in 10 games this season, and the latest player to strike first was a familiar face.
Bo Scarbrough, drafted by Dallas last year, ran for a 5-yard TD a day after being promoted to the active roster from Detroit’s practice squad. Scarbrough finished with 14 carries for 55 yards.
The Detroit Lions (3-5-1) welcome the Dallas Cowboys (5-4) to Ford Field Sunday. The Cowboys are in 1st place in the NFC East and are looking to make a playoff run behind the play of Dak Prescott.
The Lions have lost two straight games and five of their last six. They’ll be starting Jeff Driskel again as quarterback this week as Matthew Stafford remains out with a back injury.
The Cowboys look to be a tough match-up for the Lions on paper. Let’s look at what the Cowboys bring to this game and come up with three keys for a Detroit win Sunday.
NFL’s best offense: The Cowboys come in as the top ranked offense in the NFL. They can be very balanced in their attack, which is called by former Lions QB Kellen Moore. Dallas has one of the better offensive lines in football which gives them a lot of freedom in what they do.
Over the last few games the Cowboys have been throwing the ball more, but they can still run the ball well with the 5th-ranked rushing attack in the league.
Dynamic Players: Looking at the Cowboy’s roster they have a solid group of players that can be game changers. On offense, Dak Prescott is playing at a high level. Zeke Elliott is still one of the better running backs in the league. Amari Cooper gashes secondaries and former Green Bay Packer Randall Cobb is a very good second option at receiver.
On defense the Cowboys have a Khalil Mack-like player in Demarcus Lawrence and another good defensive end in Robert Quinn. Leighton Vander Esch and Sean Lee are solid linebackers. And keep an eye out for S Jeff Heath and CB Jourdan Lewis, who both have Michigan ties.
Strong defense: By the numbers, the Cowboys also have one of the better defenses in the NFL. They’ve held opponents to less than 20 points per game and are in the top 10 for yardage allowed. With Jeff Driskel starting again, you’d think this defense is looking forward to a match-up with a backup QB.
Keys for the Lions to win
Make big plays: The Lions are going to need some big plays on both sides of the ball to stay in this game and have a chance to win. Jeff Driskel is going to have to take some shots down the field because that’s been a big part of the Lions’ offense so far this year. If they can’t make big plays down the field, they won’t win.
Detroit needs to make big plays on the defense too. Whether that’s big third down stops to force a punt or field goal attempt or a turnover, the Lions’ defense needs to play their best for the Lions to win.
Start fast: The Lions’ offense needs a good start. Last week, the Lions had a nice first drive, working all the way down the field but only getting a field goal. If the Lions can score a touchdown early in the game, that could give them the boost they need to keep the game close.
The Lions’ defense started fast last week, holding the Bears scoreless until their last drive of the first half. Another start like that helps the Lions’ chances.
Limit mistakes and turnovers: Jeff Driskel can’t turn the ball over this week. The interception he threw last week turned into a touchdown for the Bears, and he almost threw another interception the next time the Lions had the ball.
The Lions can’t commit costly penalties either. Penalties hurt the Lions last week and that lack of discipline can’t leak into this game.