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With the Detroit defense focused on stopping the run, the Cowboys were forced to attack through the air more than usual but would need receivers to step up with Amari Cooper obviously feeling less than 100 percent. Answering the call were veteran slot-man Randall Cobb and breakout youngster Michael Gallup. Both took advantage of the additional volume to post excellent numbers while allowing Dak Prescott to accumulate more than 400 passing yards through the air.
The offense took a hit late in the game when Prescott fell into the back of right tackle La’el Collins’ left leg. The extent of the injury unknown. In addition, left tackle Tyron Smith did not play well throughout the game and was dominated by edge defender Trey Flowers — who left the game himself in the fourth quarter with an arm injury. Dallas will need both players to return to form and health in order to get a struggling ground game back on track.
Cornerback Chidobe Awuzie almost completely took away Kenny Golladay from the Lions' game plan. Awuzie shadowed Golladay for a bulk of the plays, and he didn't allow the star receiver to make a catch against him.
Safety Darian Thompson was on the wrong end of several big plays through the air. Both of Marvin Jones‘ touchdowns came against Thompson, and he was in coverage for Marvin Hall‘s 39-yard gain in the third quarter and Golladay's 34-yard catch in the fourth.
While cornerback Darius Slay began the game with a pair of defensed passes, the Lions’ secondary and pass defense as a whole struggled to prevent much of anything. Multiple busted coverages, needless penalties and missed tackles provided the Dallas attack with more than enough to stay ahead.
The play of Trey Flowers stood out above all other Detroit defenders in simply manhandling La’el Collins to an extent rarely seen. He forced his way into the Dallas backfield all afternoon in defense of both the pass and run. Flowers left the game late when Collins seemed to fall at an odd angle on either his right shoulder or arm.
Jeff Driskel‘s mobility played a major factor on Sunday. Not only did he have a handful of big runs, but his legs helped create some passing windows against the Cowboys' stingy secondary.
With Golladay locked down for most of the game, Marvin Jones stepped up in a big way. He kept the Lions in the game with two touchdowns in the second half. His first came on an adjustment as Driskel scrambled and found him in the back of the end zone. Jones did it all on his second score, as he caught the pass over the middle and broke two tackles before falling into the end zone for a 25-yard score.