Live blog: Lions blown out by Cowboys
The Lions got off to a hot start and out to a 21-14 lead in the second quarter, but the Cowboys flexed their muscles as one of the best teams in football and scored 28 unanswered points en route to a 42-21 win over the Lions.
Dak Prescott was masterful, going 15-for-20 for 212 yards and three touchdowns, while the Cowboys totaled 164 yards on the ground behind the game's best offensive line. Ezekiel Elliott racked up 80 yards and two scores before taking a seat on the sidelines for the majority of the second half.
Matthew Stafford was 26-for-46 for 260 yards and an interception. He ran for a touchdown and had a fumble late in the game. Zach Zenner carried the ball 12 times for 67 yards, many of which came when the Lions offense was rolling in the first half.
The Lions will have to wait until Sunday to find out if they get into the postseason. They can clinch a playoff berth with a Giants win over the Redskins, but all eyes will be on Sunday night when they play the Packers for the NFC North title.
Stafford fumbles near goal line
After the defense forced a three and out inside the Dallas 5, the Lions took over just 30 yards from pay dirt thanks to a nice punt return from Andre Roberts.
On fourth and three from the Dallas 11, the Lions picked up a first down, but on the very next play, Matthew Stafford was sacked and coughed up a fumble that gave the ball back to the Cowboys with 4:51 remaining.
Cowboys stick a fork in the Lions
Dak Prescott carved the Lions up again and may have put the nail in the coffin with a 19-yard touchdown pass to Dez Bryant that puts the Cowboys up 42-21 with 12:12 to play in the fourth quarter.
Even with Ezekiel Elliott and left tackle Tyron Smith on the sidelines, the Lions defense was unable to slow the role of the Cowboys offense, which has scored 28 unanswered points since the Lions led 21-14 in the second quarter.
Prater with a rare miss
The Lions were able to hit on a couple of big passes to get into Dallas territory, but they decided to settle for a field goal attempt on fourth and five, and Matt Prater missed wide left.
With 47 seconds remaining in the third quarter, the Lions are in deep trouble, trailing the Cowboys 35-21.
Cowboys add to lead
Dak Prescott picked apart the Lions secondary and drove the Cowboys 95 yards down the field, but Dallas decided to mix it up near the goal line, allowing Dez Bryant to come on an end around and throw a touchdown pass to Jason Witten.
Cowboys lead, 35-21, with 4:03 to play in the third quarter.
During the drive, on a first down play, A'Shawn Robinson tackled Ezekiel Elliott for a loss and threw him to the ground. No whistles were blown until Elliott was on the ground, but the referees decided that it was an unnecessary tackle, which the ESPN broadcast deemed "ridiculous." The Lions are truly fighting an uphill battle right now.
Pass interference call sets up Zeke TD
The Cowboys got the benefit of a questionable pass interference call on Nevin Lawson covering Dez Bryant and turned it into a one-yard touchdown run from Ezekiel Elliott that puts Dallas on top, 28-21, with 10:19 remaining in the third quarter.
Matthew Stafford's mistake put the Cowboys in great field position, but the referees didn't do the Lions defense any favors on that drive.
Stafford picked off to start second half
The Lions picked up a quick first down to start the second half, but a holding penalty and a sack put them behind the chains. Matthew Stafford tried to force the ball downfield, throwing across his body, and a tipped ball was picked off by J.J. Wilcox.
Dallas starts at the Lions 38.
Lions, Cowboys tied at the half
The Lions got the ball on their own 25 with all of their timeouts and 1:04 to play in the first half, but they weren't able to do anything with an extra chance at points. Matthew Stafford hit T.J. Jones for a nine-yard gain on the first play of the drive, but the Lions weren't able to pick up that yard and had to punt the ball back to the Cowboys, who took a knee to send the teams to the break tied 21-21.
The Lions will get the ball to start the second half.
Stafford is 12-for-21 for 137 yards in the first half.
Zach Zenner has 10 carries for 64 yards and two touchdowns.
Dak Prescott is 9-for-12 for 122 yards and two touchdowns.
Ezekiel Elliott has rushed eight times for 74 yards and a score.
Bryant makes one-handed TD grab
After both teams exchanged punts, the Cowboys were set up with good field position near midfield and were able to able to tie things up when Dak Prescott found Dez Bryant, who made a 25-yard, one-handed touchdown catch in the end zone.
With 1:04 to play before halftime, it's 21-21.
Lions offense cooking in the first half
Matthew Stafford found Eric Ebron for two big first downs and Zach Zenner punched it in from five yards out for his second rushing score of the night, giving the Lions a 21-14 lead with 7:40 to play until halftime.
The Lions defense forced the first punt of the night from the Cowboys with a three and out, mostly thanks to a big sack from Ziggy Ansah on second down that put Dallas well behind the chains.
The Lions offense is clicking like everyone expected it to coming into the season. They are playing with a definite purpose.
Stafford punches it in on fourth down
The Lions had the ball first and goal from the Dallas 1 and went with two straight passes before the run got stuffed on third down. Jim Caldwell gambled and Matthew Stafford put his head down and plowed into the end zone to pull the Lions even with Cowboys, 14-14, at the start of the second quarter.
Eric Ebron hauled in two receptions to get the drive going. After an early drop on the opening drive, Ebron caught passes of six and 21 yards to start this drive.
On third and seven from the Dallas 17, Stafford audibled at the line of scrimmage and hit Marvin Jones on a nice back shoulder pass for a first down at the 1.
Elliott takes it to the house
Ezekiel Elliott reminded the Lions what the Cowboys do best, reeling off a 55-yard touchdown run on the fourth play of Dallas' second drive, giving the Cowboys a 14-7 lead with 2:49 remaining in the first quarter.
The Lions can expect a heavy dose of the rookie going forward. After getting carved up by the passing game on the game's opening drive, the Lions fell victim to what the Cowboys actually do best on the game's second drive.
Zenner leads Lions to opening drive TD
Well one thing is for sure after the Lions first drive: Zach Zenner has made the trip to Dallas.
Zenner ran for two first downs and hauled in two receptions for first downs as he led the Lions inside the Dallas 10 before putting them on the board with a seven yard touchdown run.
The Lions and Cowboys are tied, 7-7, with 5:23 left to play in the first quarter.
Zenner had three carries for 38 yards and two receptions for 25 yards.
Cowboys drive for opening TD
Dak Prescott dropped back on third and long and hit Brice Butler for a 21-yard touchdown that puts the Cowboys up 7-0 after an opening drive that went 66 yards on nine plays.
The Cowboys were behind the chains to start the game, but Dak Prescott found Dez Bryant for 16 yards on second and long to get Dallas out near midfield. After another first down got the Cowboys across the 50, Prescott used a fake toss to Ezekiel Elliott to find Jason Witten on a screen pass that netted 23 yards.
The playoffs start now for Lions
The Lions have a chance to wrap up a playoff spot in the NFC tonight is Dallas as they take on the Cowboys at Jerry's World.
The Cowboys have already wrapped up the top spot in the NFC, so they essentially have nothing to play for, though they've been saying all week that they don't want to get rusty and will play for the win.
There's good news and bad news in this situation for the Lions. The good news is that despite what the Cowboys are preaching, it's completely possible they show up tonight without their usual edge. The bad news is that they could play this game with a few extra wrinkles than they usually would. The Cowboys could go for it on fourth downs, run a few trick plays and, quite possibly, burn the Lions in the process.
Matthew Stafford has always played well in Dallas, but the Lions are going to have to put points on the board to win tonight. While it's true the defense has been vastly improved over the second half of the season, it's also true that they haven't seen a team that can run the ball like the Cowboys. It stands to reason that Stafford and the offense will need to put up more than 20 points to win this game.
DETROIT LIONS VS. DALLAS COWBOYS
When: Monday, 8:30 p.m.
Where: AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas
TV / radio: Channel 7, ESPN / WJR 760
Records: Lions 9-5, Cowboys 12-2
Line: Cowboys by 6