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FOUR DOWNS: What went wrong on Cowboys' final drive


The biggest play in Detroit's 26-24 loss to the Dallas Cowboys Sunday was a 34-yard completion from quarterback Dak Prescott to running back Ezekiel Elliott down to the Lions' 25-yard line with just 1:23 left in the game and the Cowboys trailing by a point.

The play set up the eventual game-winning 38-yard field goal by rookie kicker Brett Maher as time expired.

Elliott torched the Lions for 240 total yards (152 rushing & 88 receiving) in the contest, but no play was bigger than that final big reception down the right sideline.

Elliott was able to get behind linebacker Jarrad Davis on the play. After the game, Davis owned up to the fact that he has to find a way to make a play there for his team.

"I just have to get in position to make a better play on the ball," he said.

"There's not really 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 and get it off of him and just fight all the way to the ground. I just have to make sure I finish that play."

Davis has struggled at times throughout his young career in coverage, though he entered Sunday's game allowing just three catches in three games, according to Pro Football Focus stats.

Elliott is one of the best skill position players in the NFL, and a tough matchup for most NFL linebackers, but that's a play Davis obviously wants back.

Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett said after the game the play was a matchup the Cowboys liked, and they exploited it at a crucial point in the game.

"I would say there was a lot of not very good coverage out there tonight," Lions head coach Matt Patricia said after the game when asked about the play. "There were a lot of plays out there where we had to do a better job.

"Pass rush, coverage-wise, all of it, was not good enough tonight. So, we have to go back and we have to coach it better and we go from there."

Davis finished the game with 11 tackles, one quarterback hit and a forced fumble.


One of the real positives for the Lions in the loss was the play of veteran wide receiver Golden Tate, who caught all of his eight targets for 132 yards and two touchdowns of 45 and 38 yards, respectively.

"Both really good plays by him," Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford said of the Tate touchdowns. "Obviously, the first one was a nice touchdown, breaking a tackle and making a guy miss. The last one, he ran a good route. I was able to find him out there, drop it into him and he did the rest."

But Tate wasn't too satisfied with the performance in the locker room following the game because it didn't help the Lions win.

"Me personally, this sucks." Tate said. "Because celebrating stats by yourself … to me means nothing. Celebrating a big win and having the bonus of stats, that's what you want to do."


NFL seasons, like games, are broken into four quarters.

The Lions finished their first quarter in disappointing fashion Sunday, dropping them to 1-3 on the year.

The poor start to this season has now put pressure on having a good second quarter, so as to not put themselves in too far a hole.

"It's just the first quarter. There's still a bunch of games left," Tate said. "There's a bunch of opportunities for us to get on the right track."

The next four games for the Lions are: Home against Green Bay, the bye week, at Miami, home against Seattle and at Minnesota.

The key for Patricia and Co. moving forward is to find a way to push the right buttons so this team can get back into the thick of the NFC hunt in the second quarter.

"This is a tough team," Patricia said. "I think our guys know that they have to stay in there and they have to hang in there for 60 minutes and we have to go out and we have to execute all the way to the end of the game.

"We have to regroup, we have to get the things fixed there were wrong in this game quickly and get back to work. You can't let one week lead into another, whether you win or lose. It doesn't matter."

View in-game photos from the Detroit Lions Week 4 game against the Dallas Cowboys.


Not counting a kneel-down to end the first half, the Cowboys scored on six of their final seven possessions in the game. Field goal, field goal, touchdown, punt, touchdown, field goal, field goal it how it finished off for the Cowboys.

Simply put, Detroit's defense couldn't get off the field enough.

The Lions' defense, which entered the game last in the NFL against the run, allowed 183 yards on the ground to the Cowboys, 152 coming from Elliott alone.

Dallas also racked up 255 passing yards. Prescott had failed to throw for more than 200 yards in his last five games.

"It's just consistency," Davis said of the issues on defense. "You just have to be consistent. You have to come out every single day and you have to know, 'Hey, this is what we got, this is where our issues are, this is what this team likes to do.' We have to be consistent in stopping them and consistent in not making our own mistakes."

Detroit's defense has to be much better, especially against the run, if they plan to get back to playing winning football.

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