Dak Prescott and Dez Bryant fire as Dallas sees off Detroit with NFL play-offs looming
With the NFC East title secure, the Cowboys show no sign of slowing down in final regular-season home game with big win over Lions
The Dallas Cowboys entered their final regular-season home game with the NFC East title and home-field advantage in the play-offs in their back pocket.
Even so, Dallas showed no signs of slowing down as they raced past the Detroit Lions in the third quarter on the way to a 42-21 victory at AT&T Stadium.
The Lions (9-6) were the team trying to lock up a play-off berth, but they couldn’t keep up after half-time with a Dallas side who had all of their stars on display.
Cowboys rookie quarterback Dak Prescott passed for 212 yards and three touchdowns.
Wide receiver Dez Bryant caught a pair of touchdown passes and threw another, and rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott rushed for 80 yards and two scores on 12 carries.
— NFL (@NFL) December 27, 2016
The only sign that Dallas might have let their hair down a bit, with the NFC East title in hand, came in the third quarter when Bryant threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jason Witten.
On first-and-goal from the Detroit 10, Bryant took a pitch going to his left on a reverse and appeared headed upfield.
But just before Bryant reached the line of scrimmage, he tossed to a wide-open Witten in the end zone for the score.
The Bryant-to-Witten connection put an exclamation point on the Cowboys’ domination of the third quarter.
After going to half-time tied at 21, Dallas won the third 14-0 by moving the ball efficiently and shutting down the Lions’ attack.
Cowboys safety JJ Wilcox ended Detroit’s opening possession of the second half by intercepting Matthew Stafford at the Lions 46-yard line.
Dallas stopped Detroit’s second series of the third quarter at the Lions 36, and Detroit kicker Matt Prater missed a 47-yard field goal on the Lions’ third and final offensive series of the period.
The Cowboys responded to Prater’s miss by driving 63 yards in seven plays. Prescott hit Bryant for a 19-yard touchdown that put Dallas ahead 42-21 and in total command with 12:12 left.
Stafford finished 26 of 46 for 260 yards and the one interception. Detroit running back Zach Zenner produced two touchdowns and 67 yards on 12 carries, while tight end Eric Ebron had eight receptions for 93 yards.
Bryant made a juggling one-handed touchdown catch, despite being interfered with by Lions cornerback Johnson Bademosi, to tie the game at 21 going into half-time.
Prescott converted a third-and-seven by hitting Bryant for the 25-yard touchdown with 1:04 left in the second quarter.
Detroit scored on their first three possessions to take a 21-14 lead with 7:40 remaining in the half.
— NFL (@NFL) December 27, 2016
Dallas struggled for most of the first half to stop the Lions’ combination of Stafford and Zenner. Stafford finished the first half with 137 passing yards, and Zenner rushed for 64 on 10 carries before intermission.
However, Prescott and Elliott helped the Cowboys keep pace.
Prescott hit wide receiver Brice Butler for a 21-yard touchdown to give Dallas a 7-0 lead after their first drive.
Elliott broke loose for a 55-yard touchdown run late in the second quarter to put the Cowboys back in front 14-7.
Elliott finished the first half with 74 yards on eight carries.