Detroit Lions players and fans alike have been subjected to bad or missed calls in Dallas before, nothing has changed.
After Detroit had their bye week in week six, a refreshed team came in playing conservative football. Unfortunately, the offense was unable to convert consistently enough to truly keep up with Dallas. The Lions lost to the Cowboys 24-6.
A game cannot be blamed on officiating, but it factored into this one too much to not mention. Once one questionable call was made, it became difficult not to become fixated on every whistle that was blown.
The Detroit Lions on Offense
Though D’Andre Swift participated in practice this week, he did suit up in this one. On the first pass thrown to him, leading receiver, Amon-Ra St. Brown was slow to get up. He was taken into the blue tent on the sideline and did not return due to a concussion.
Jared Goff and the Lions offense controlled the pace in the first half, with methodical decision-making and solid tempo. They ran out the clock to go into the half up 6-3.
The newcomer Michael Badgley accounted for all of Detroit’s points with two field goals, one was a 51-yarder.
With the two most dynamic and impactful players out for nearly the whole game. Detroit was forced to do their best with what they had, once again. It didn’t work out. Detroit turned the ball over five times, all in the second half.
Jared Goff could not take care of the football, with two interceptions and two lost fumbles. Credit the Cowboys defense for their ability to force those turnovers, additionally, they sacked Goff five times. Goff finished with 228 yards, two picks, two fumbles and zero touchdowns on 21-26 passing.
Despite a game-changing fumble, running back Jamaal broke out for some nice gains with 79 yards on 15 carries. Receiver Kalif Raymond had an impactful day with five receptions for 79 yards and made some big plays in crucial moments.
Both tight ends T.J. Hockenson and Brock Wright combined for 105 yards receiving and both caught four passes. Hockenson made some plays early on, but was not effective in the second half.
Early in the third quarter, Goff made a risky decision trying to go deep to receiver Josh Reynolds on a second and two. The pass was intercepted by Trevon Diggs at Dallas’ 15-yard line. CBS broadcaster Tony Romo was not convinced Diggs completed the interception, as it looked like the ball hit the turf when he hit the ground. It was also reported that the on-field referees did not look at the replay of the turnover. Detroit cannot challenge a turnover, because it’s supposed to be automatically reviewed, the officials failed to do so.
Dallas then marched down the field for their first touchdown of the game.
Late in the third quarter, the referees did their best job to keep the Lions at bay with a ghost holding call, but Goff was able to throw a bullet to Raymond for a 19-yard completion for a first down. It did not lead to a Lions score.
Early in the fourth quarter, Goff connected with Wright for a near touchdown. While head coach Dan Campbell did not challenge the placement of the ball, it was put at the one-yard line. The ball should’ve been placed at between end zone and the one. Williams then attempted to bull his way to a touchdown, but he fumbled, and it was recovered by Dallas. It was Williams first lost fumble in his career.
In the middle of the fourth quarter, running back Justin Jackson was stopped being the line of scrimmage and was suplexed to the ground after the whistle had been blown. The officials did not throw a flag for unnecessary roughness. Two plays later, Goff was forced to go for a long first down, and it was intercepted.
While the Lions defense has been the cause for concern all season, they showed out in week seven. Dallas’ franchise quarterback Dak Prescott played his first game since week one, and it showed early. Prescott threw for 207 yards, one touchdown and zero interceptions on 19-for-25 passing.
Prescott didn’t make any mistakes, but in the first half he made some risky deep throws that could’ve easily resulted in turnovers.
Lions rookie defensive end Aidan Hutchinson benefitted greatly, with both defensive linemen John Cominsky and Josh Paschal returning after injury. Hutchinson showed off some new moves, tallying 1.5 sacks, three tackles and one tackle for a loss.
They allowed Dallas running back Ezekiel Elliot to run for two punch-in touchdowns. Dallas put the nail in the coffin with less than two minutes to go with a short touchdown pass for their final score of 24 points.
Despite the scores, Detroit’s defense was able to get multiple stops. The defense held the Cowboys to 3-9 on third downs and looked like an NFL defense for the first time since week two.
Defensive back Jeff Okudah acted as a wrecking ball for Detroit, leading the game with 15 total tackles and 12 solo tackles. Okudah was flying across the field, getting big hit after big hit.
On a lesser scale of Okudah, but equally impactful, was rookie safety Kerby Joseph. He was able to force a fumble in the red zone, he nearly obtained an interception and tallied four tackles, three being solo.
Up Next for the Detroit Lions
The Lions head back to Detroit to host the Miami Dolphins at 1 p.m. at Ford Field.
Photo Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports