Quick reads: Ezekiel Elliott punishes Lions defense

By Nolan Bianchi
The Detroit News
The Cowboys' Ezekiel Elliott pulls in a reception and takes all the way into the end zone for the first Dallas touchdown.

Nolan Bianchi of The Detroit News breaks down the Lions' 26-24 loss to the Cowboys:

Elliott punishes Lions defense

By air and by ground, Ezekiel Elliott torched the Lions consistently in Dallas' 26-24 victory over the Lions. He rushed for 152 yards on 25 attempts and pulled down four receptions for 88 yards and a touchdown. Aside from pushing Dallas across the first-down marker on third-and-short in several instances, Elliott also had a knack for making the big play: He made the Lions pay for putting Jarrad Davis on his route, pulling in a 34-yard reception on second-and-10 with 1:23 remaining, allowing Dallas to run out the clock for a last-second field goal by Brett Maher that gave the Cowboys a win. His longest rush of the day went for 41 yards, and he also pulled in a 38-yard reception.

Tate and Co. find groove

Golden Tate had his best game of the season so far, pulling in all eight passes thrown his way for 132 yards and two touchdowns. It was the first time in Tate's career that he's had over 100 yards receiving and scored twice. Kenny Golladay also continued his solid play, pulling in four catches on four targets for a total of 74 yards -- with all of them giving the Lions a new set of downs. Marvin Jones was covered tightly all game, but still managed to pick up 56 yards on three receptions.

Detroit running game silenced

After breaking the Lions' streak of 70 games without a 100-yard rusher, Kerryon Johnson got the nod to start for Detroit. On the first play from scrimmage, the rookie back gashed the Cowboy defense for a gain of 32 yards -- and then he stopped getting the ball. He had just five more carries in the first half, despite the fact that Detroit held the ball for 20:31 of the first two quarters. Johnson's number was called only three times in the second half, with one of those going for an 8-yard touchdown. LeGarrette Blount struggled to get anything going all game, picking up 12 yards on seven carries.

Lang concussion hurts Lions

T.J. Lang, who has battled injuries for most of the young season, left Sunday's game with a concussion. This proved fatal for the Lions. Backup guard Kenny Wiggins struggled to contain Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, who often cut inside on the inexperienced lineman and sacked Matthew Stafford three times. The loss of Lang's run-blocking ability most likely had a hand in Blount's inability to pick up any yardage on runs to the right side, specifically. 

Red zone defense keeps Cowboys at bay

Despite being unable to stop Elliott, Detroit's defense held up a theme for Matt Patricia defenses: Bend but don't break. Before Maher's winner, the Cowboys kicked three field goals on the evening; two of the attempts were from less than 35 yards with the other coming from 43 yards out. Detroit's biggest red-zone stop came in the fourth quarter with Dallas threatening to extend its lead to 10 after picking up a fresh set of downs at the 6-yard-line. Elliott was stopped for a 2-yard gain on first down, and Prescott's next two passes were defended nicely, forcing a field goal that allowed the Lions to take a 24-23 lead on their next drive.