FIRST DOWN: COSTLY TURNOVERS
The Detroit Lions were right in Sunday's game in the fourth quarter on the road against a good NFC opponent with a chance to take the lead with a 1st and goal at the 1-yard line. That's when running back Jamaal Williams lost a fumble for the first time in his career.
DeMarcus Lawrence knocked the ball loose and linebacker Anthony Barr recovered it at the half yard line. The Lions were trailing 10-6 at the time and had a chance to take the lead on the road in the fourth quarter.
Williams' fumble, which was the second turnover on the day for the Lions after a Jared Goff interception to start the third quarter, opened the flood gates for Lions turnovers. There would be one more Goff interception and two more Goff fumbles to give the Lions five second-half turnovers and four in the fourth quarter. It's tough to win games with a 5-1 turnover deficit. The Lions ended up losing 24-6 Sunday.
"We take care of the ball we probably win," Goff said after the game.
It's hard to argue with him with as well as the Lions' defense played for a second straight game.
"Offensively, we played the type of game we needed to play against this opponent minus the turnovers, which killed us," Lions head coach Dan Campbell said.
Goff now has nine turnovers on the season in six games, which is too many.
"Can't do it," he said of his four turnovers. "Defense played their tails off today and gave us a great chance to win that game. We didn't do our part offensively."
SECOND DOWN: OKUDAH'S PERFORMANCE
Third-year cornerback Jeff Okudah had the best week of practice Campbell said he's ever seen him have leading into Sunday's game in Dallas.
Okudah followed a great week of practice with the best game of his career against the Cowboys. Okudah was a one-man wrecking crew for the Lions' defense Sunday. He's never been afraid to support the run defense and that was definitely the case all game long Sunday. Okudah had 15 tackles (12 solo) and a tackle for loss. He was all over the field, and also terrific in coverage all game.
"Played really well," Campbell said of Okudah. "That was encouraging. I'll tell you what, he had his best week of practice this week and that was his best game."
Okudah's play is certainly one of the positives to take from Sunday's loss. He is the only NFL cornerback since at least 1994 to produce a game with 15 total tackles and a tackle for loss.
THIRD DOWN: FRUSTRATION MOUNTS
The CBS broadcast caught a frustrated Campbell throw his headset to the ground following the Williams fumble at the 1-yard line in the fourth quarter. It turns out Campbell's frustration didn't boil over just because of the fumble. He was also upset with some slow recognition from his eye in the sky that helps him decide if he wants to challenge plays or not.
Before the Williams fumble, Goff threw a short pass to tight end Brock Wright that gained 17 yards down to the 1-yard line. Wright was pushed out at the 1-yard line, but was close to getting the ball over the pylon, and because it happened on the home side of the field, Campbell didn't have a good look at it.
"That was frustrating," Campbell said of the Williams fumble. "It was also frustrating I was trying to get a call for a review. It was a combination of the two. I was waiting for the eyes, my person upstairs, that's who I'm listening to. I have a devoted line to that."
It turns out Wright didn't get into the end zone, but he was closer to the goal line than where he was spotted. Campbell was frustrated that a decision either way didn't come down to him fast enough.
View photos from the Detroit Lions vs. Dallas Cowboys Week 7 game at AT&T Stadium on Sunday, Oct. 23 in Arlington, TX.
FOURTH DOWN: OFFENSE STALLS
It was a very conservative game plan offensively for the Lions, as they didn't want Micah Parsons, Lawrence or the rest of the talented Dallas defensive front to pin their ears back and come after Goff.
The Lions wanted to run the ball and play conservatively on offense. The plan was working well into the fourth quarter with the Lions having a chance to take the lead with that 1st and goal play at the 1-yard line. That was before four fourth-quarter turnovers got things off the rails.
Turnovers are becoming an issue for this offense, but so is inconsistency. They've gone two games in a row now without scoring a touchdown and have scored six points total against New England and Dallas in their last two contests.
The Lions have dealt with some critical injuries offensively. Running back D’Andre Swift was inactive Sunday and wide receiver DJ Chark went on IR this week after missing the previous two games with an ankle injury, but to Campbell, those are just excuses.
"It doesn't matter who we have, what we're doing or who we're playing," Campbell said. "The bottom line is you have to find a way to win and I really felt like we were on track to do that. Then we made those couple of mistakes that killed us, the turnovers. Against an opponent this good. Good luck."
The Lions got off to such a great start offensively the first four weeks of the season, but have taken a big step backwards the last two weeks. Offensive coordinator Ben Johnson has to find the right buttons to push this week to get that side of the ball playing better football before Miami comes to Detroit next week.
Goff said after the game that character is revealed in moments of adversity and he expects to play better moving forward. That has to be the case for him and the entire offense.