RECAP: Lions at Cowboys

ARLINGTON – There are no moral victories in the NFL but given the way the Dallas Cowboys had dominated opponents at AT&T Stadium this year, Detroit’s narrow 20-19 loss against one of the NFC’s top teams at their place shows Detroit certainly belongs among the NFC’s elite.

The Lions thought they’d taken the lead in the final seconds after quarterback Jared Goff led Detroit on a 75-yard scoring drive in the final two minutes. Goff connected with wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown on an 11-yard touchdown pass with 23 seconds left to make it 20-19.

Head coach Dan Campbell opted for a two-point conversion to try to win the game and Goff hit left tackle Taylor Decker for the conversion, but Decker was flagged for illegal touching and the two points were wiped off the board. Detroit opted to try and win it again with two points but Goff’s pass to tight end James Mitchell fell incomplete. When Detroit couldn’t secure the onside kick, the Cowboys escaped with their closest win at home this season.

Heading into Saturday night’s primetime matchup with the Lions, Dallas was undefeated at AT&T Stadium this year (7-0) and had outscored opponents 279 to 108.

Detroit’s defense held them to 20 points under their scoring average at home this year. They made a critical stop with two minutes and 39 seconds left in the game on Aidan Hutchinson‘s third sack of the game to give the ball back to the offense with a chance to drive 89 yards to win the game.

On just the second play of the Detroit drive Goff was picked off by Dallas safety Donovan Wilson on a diving grab in front of tight end Sam LaPorta at the Lions’ 31-yard line. The Cowboys turned that into a 43-yard field goal to extend the lead to 20-13 with one minute, 41 seconds left.

But credit Goff and the offense for scoring late, they just weren’t able to get the final two points.

The loss drops the Lions to 11-5 on the season and they remain the No. 3 seed in the NFC playoff picture as the NFC North division champions. Dallas improves to 11-5 and keeps their NFC East title hopes alive.

Detroit got touchdowns from St. Brown (11) and running back David Montgomery (3).

QB comparison: Goff finished the game completing 19 of his 34 passes with a touchdown, two interceptions and a 67.2 rating. He was sacked just once but was harassed by Dallas’ front seven most of the night.

Dallas’ Dak Prescott was 26-of-38 passing for 345 yards with two touchdowns, one interception (Ifeatu Melifonwu) and a 103.5 rating.

Big play: The Cowboys took the lead 7-3 late in the first quarter on a 92-yard touchdown pass from Prescott to Lamb. It was a play that easily could have resulted in a sack and a safety for the Lions, but linebacker Derrick Barnes whiffed on the potential sack. Prescott bailed out to his right and launched it deep to Lamb, who was one-on-one with Lions veteran cornerback Kindle Vildor. Unfortunately for Detroit, Vildor tripped at the 45-yard line and Lamb was all alone as the ball fell right into his arms at the 50-yard line.

What could have been a safety and a 5-0 lead with the ball turned into a 7-3 deficit.

Key stat: Detroit was just 4-for-13 on third down in the contest. They entered the game seventh in the NFL converting on third down with a 43.6 percent conversion rate.

Injury report: Wide receiver Jameson Williams left the game in the second half with an ankle injury and did not return.

Next week: vs Minnesota (7-8), TBD

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