NEXT OP­PO­NENT: LIONS

Packer Plus - - NEWS - Schuyler Dixon

Game ba­sics; player stats, sched­ules, ros­ters, depth charts

Ar­ling­ton, Texas — Dak Prescott saw sin­gle cov­er­age by a line­backer on Ezekiel El­liott with the Dal­las Cow­boys try­ing to get in po­si­tion for a win­ning field goal against the Detroit Lions. So did the 2016 NFL rush­ing leader. “I lined up in the slot. I was ex­cited,” said El­liott, who was face-to-face with lead­ing Detroit tack­ler Jar­rad Davis. “I was ex­cited. I got them one-on-one with me. He made a per­fect throw. One pass, we won the game.”

Prescott’s 34-yard toss on a deep throw to his star run­ning back set up Brett Ma­her’s 38-yard field goal as time ex­pired, lift­ing the Cow­boys to a 26-24 vic­tory Sun­day and once again spoil­ing Matthew Stafford’s home­com­ing.

The win­ning play came af­ter Stafford had put the Lions (1-3) in front with 2:17 re­main­ing on a 38-yard touch­down to Golden Tate, their sec­ond TD con­nec­tion of the day.

Stafford had his third straight loss at the home of the Cow­boys (2-2), seven years af­ter his only win in his first trip to AT&T Sta­dium. The for­mer Dal­las-area high school star threw for 307 yards.

“I would much rather be the guy with the ball last,” said Stafford, who lost a play­off game in his home­town al­most four years ago.

Trail­ing 20-10, Stafford led the Lions 75 yards to rookie Ker­ryon John­son’s first ca­reer touch­down, an 8-yard run that started a back-and-fourth fi­nal quar­ter. John­son ran 32 yards on the first play of the game and fin­ished with 55 yards.

Af­ter the Cow­boys set­tled for Ma­her’s third field goal on an 85-yard drive, Stafford found Tate for 35 yards into Dal­las ter­ri­tory be­fore Tate eas­ily beat zone cov­er­age down the side­line and strut­ted to­ward the end zone, just as he had on a 45-yard score in the first quar­ter.

Prescott had an an­swer while throw­ing for at least 200 yards for the first time this sea­son. The Dal­las quar­ter­back saved the fi­nal drive by pick­ing up his fum­ble when he was hit on the arm and scram­bling be­fore throw­ing the ball out of bounds.

Prescott then con­verted a third down and two plays later hit El­liott in stride on the de­ci­sive play.

“Any­where you got him the ball, any­where he had the ball in his hands, he was dom­i­nat­ing the game and set­ting the tone, from the screens to the check­downs to that last play right there,” Prescott said. “It was just a dom­i­nat­ing per­for­mance for him.”

The Cow­boys killed the clock to set up Ma­her, the kicker they chose over Dan Bai­ley – the sec­ond-most ac­cu­rate kicker in NFL his­tory – at the end of the pre­sea­son in a cost-cut­ting move.

“My craft is same ev­ery time I step on the field, no mat­ter what,” said Ma­her, who has made all eight kicks since miss­ing the first of his NFL ca­reer in an open­ing loss at Car­olina. “I was go­ing out there try­ing to be 1 for 1 again.”

El­liott had a sea­son-high 25 car­ries for his 152 yards, and Prescott was 17 of 27 for 255 yards with two touch­downs, in­clud­ing tight end Ge­off Swaim’s first ca­reer score.

Stafford was 24 of 30 with the two scores to Tate, who had eight catches for 132 yards.

Rough­ing the passer: The touch­down screen to El­liott was set up by a rough­ing-the-passer penalty against Romeo Ok­wara. The ques­tion was whether the whis­tle had blown when he hit Prescott, who was try­ing to es­cape pres­sure when he stum­bled out of an at­tempted tackle and went to a knee. Prescott popped up but had stopped mov­ing, an­tic­i­pat­ing that he was down, when Ok­wara knocked him to the ground.

Ca­reer first: Dal­las re­ceiver Ter­rance Williams was a healthy scratch for the first time in his six-year ca­reer. The Cow­boys have strug­gled for con­sis­tency with their pass catch­ers in the first sea­son with­out Ja­son Wit­ten and Dez Bry- ant. They have seven re­ceivers on the 53-man ros­ter. Williams was the odd man out this week, and was a no-show at prac­tice Fri­day.

Sack master: De­Mar­cus Lawrence matched his ca­reer high with three sacks af­ter Stafford came in hav­ing been brought down just three times com­bined in the first three games. Those were all three Dal­las sacks. Lawrence has at least half a sack in all four games and 5½ for the sea­son.

In­juries: Lions: RG T.J. Lang didn’t re­turn af­ter sus­tain­ing a con­cus­sion in the first quar­ter.

Cow­boys: DT Ant­waun Woods left in the first half with a calf in­jury. Woods was ques­tion­able be­fore the game be­cause of a groin in­jury.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Detroit Lions of­fen­sive guard T.J. Lang, (left) a for­mer Packer, suf­fered a con­cus­sion in Sun­day’s game against the Cow­boys.

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