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Justin Rogers and Bob Wojnowski of The Detroit News talk about their takeaways from Sunday's crushing 26-24 loss. Justin Rogers, The Detroit News

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Arlington, Texas — In the minutes after the Detroit Lions’ loss to the Dallas Cowboys Sunday, linebacker Jarrad Davis sat in his locker with a towel draped over his head as he struggled to hold back the tears.

“We work every day, all week. We work so long,” Davis said. “Through OTAs, through camp, we worked through so much. To get that close and have it ripped away like that, it sucks. I’m not one to hide my emotions about anything like that.”

The hard-hitting linebacker, who was selected a captain by his teammates in his second season, was the victimized on the game’s most critical play, getting beat for a 34-yard reception by running back Ezekiel Elliott.

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That catch set up Dallas’ winning field goal as time expired, capping a 26-24 victory.

Davis, who has had struggled with his coverage responsibilities since he was selected in the first round last year, was manned up against Elliott, who lined up in the slot. Davis offered about eight yards of cushion pre-snap before Elliott flew by him, getting instant separation as the linebacker was slow to turn and chase.

More: Justin Rogers' Lions grades: Offense sparkles, defense falters

More: T.J. Lang suffers another concussion in loss to Cowboys

The pass from quarterback Dak Prescott was well-delivered, dropping over his target's shoulder and into the back’s arms. Davis, who had closed the gap by the time the ball arrived, never got his head around to locate the pass and didn’t put his hands up when Elliott reached for the throw, negating the potential to break it up.

“I just have to get into position to make a better play on the ball,” Davis said. “I felt like I was — there’s really not a whole lot I can say. Dak threw a great ball. Put it in the right spot, where it needed to be. I just have to be in a better position, as a defender, to make a play on that ball, get it off of him and fight all the way to the ground. The way the catch rule is set up in this league, anything can happen.”

Davis finished the game as Detroit’s leading tackler with 11 stops, a quarterback hit and a forced fumble. He was quick to the ball most of the night and delivered some punishing hits, including one to Prescott near the sideline as the quarterback scrambled away from pressure in the pocket.

“When you play games like, get put in situations like this,” Davis said, “it definitely shows you that you’ve got to look in the mirror and you have to say, ‘Hey, what am I doing wrong? What am I doing right? Let’s eliminate the things we’re doing wrong and let’s make sure we’re getting better.’

“That’s the whole game. One play doesn’t define the game. I want to make plays, I want to win games. It was just frustrating to lose like that.”

jdrogers@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @Justin_Rogers

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