clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

RECAP: Overturned game-winning 2-point attempt leads to Lions loss over Cowboys

The Detroit Lions nearly mounted a last-second comeback, but an overturned two-point conversion erased a potential upset win.

Detroit Lions v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

If I were to tell you that the Detroit Lions held the Dallas Cowboys to 20 points in Saturday night’s game, you would have likely thought they walked away with a comfortable win. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case.

The Lions offense couldn’t muster up much of anything all game. The offensive line struggled to protect Jared Goff, and the Lions quarterback also threw two costly interceptions, including one on a potential game-winning drive late in the game.

But the Lions got one last opportunity, and Goff led them to a potential game-winning/game-tying drive. Coach Dan Campbell opted to go for the game-winning two-point conversion. After initially succeeding, the Lions were called for an illegal touching. Detroit opted to go for it again, and didn’t convert.

Defensively, the Lions held strong—led by a three-sack performance from Aidan Hutchinson. But when Dallas needed a play, CeeDee Lamb was dominant. He finished the game with 227 yards and a touchdown, which was just enough to put the game away.

The Lions dropped to 11-5 on the season, and now the No. 1 seed is essentially a far-away dream. Here’s how the game played out.

First quarter

Dallas won the toss and deferred, giving the Lions the opportunity to score first. To kick off the drive, Jared Goff found Kalif Raymond to convert an early third-and-9. On the next play Goff found Amon-Ra St. Brown for a 23-yard gain into Cowboys territory. David Montgomery picked up 11 yards on a third-and-3 to move the chains and get Detroit near the red zone. The Lions drive stalled there, and the Lions had to settle for a 41-yard field goal attempt. Michael Badgley nailed it to take an early 3-0 Lions lead.

The Cowboys, too, picked up an early third down conversion. CeeDee Lamb beat Cameron Sutton, then shook his tackle attempt for a big 31-yard gain.

But just as it looked like the Cowboys were ready to score themselves, Ifeatu Melifonwu stepped in front of a Prescott throw for his second interception in as many games.

With the good field position, the Lions quickly moved into Dallas territory with a WR screen to St. Brown for 13 yards. However a tackle for loss from Micah Parsons and a sack from Dorance Armstrong forced Detroit to punt.

The Lions quickly got the Dallas offense into a third-and-12. Detroit opted to send the heat, but Prescott sidestepped the pressure and uncorked a deep shot to Lamb. Lions cornerback Kindle Vildor slipped, leaving Lamb open for a 92-yard touchdown pass and a 7-3 Cowboys lead.

Detroit quickly went three-and-out after Dallas sniffed out a third-and-short draw, taking down Montgomery for a 3-yard loss.

The Lions defense responded with a three-and-out of their own, forcing the Cowboys to punt on the first play of the second quarter.

Second quarter

The Lions kicked off the drive with a 19-yard gain to St. Brown all the way down to the Cowboys’ 38-yard line. Then the Lions tried a sneaky screen pass, but former Wolverine Jourdan Lewis read it from the beginning for the Cowboys interception.

A couple of passes to Brandin Cooks moved the Cowboys quickly into field goal range. But the Lions would get another turnover. Prescott found Lamb, but as the receiver tried to reach over the pylon for a score, he fumbled the ball through the end zone, giving the ball back to Detroit.

The Lions looked like they were headed for a three-and-out, but the Lions dialed up a ballsy fake punt. Jalen Reeves-Maybin found Khalil Dorsey down the right side for a 31-yard explosive play to move the chains.

The Lions rushing game quickly moved into the red zone. But the Lions stalled there, and on fourth-and-goal from the 5-yard line, Detroit opted to go for it. Under quick duress, Goff forced a ball to Sam LaPorta and it fell incomplete.

The Cowboys were able to drive out of their own end zone, but a sack from Aidan Hutchinson (and a subsequent delay of game penalty) forced the Cowboys into a third-and-22 they would not convert.

The Lions would get the ball back at their own 42-yard line after a nice return from Kalif Raymond. But Detroit would quickly go three-and-out after the Cowboys sniffed out another third-and-short run for negative yardage.

Dallas would take over with under 40 seconds left inside their own 10-yard line. Another sack from Hutchinson ended the drive and the half.

Third quarter

Dallas started the second half with the football. Lamb picked up an early third-and-8 with a quick slant. But they couldn’t convert on a third-and-12 after Brian Branch broke up a pass to Lamb.

The Lions went back to the ground game and found some early success. A 22-yard gain from Montgomery moved them into Dallas territory. The drive would continue after the Lions went for it on fourth-and-2 and found LaPorta for a 4-yard gain. Goff then found Josh Reynolds who turned upfield and ran to the Cowboys’ 11-yard line. Facing a third-and-2, Detroit played more bully ball, and Montgomery pushed it in from 3-yards out for a 10-7 Lions lead.

An 18-yard run from Tony Pollard on third-and-1 got Dallas into Detroit territory on the ensuing drive. From there, Dallas faced a third-and-11 and converted with a catch-and-run from Lamb for 14 yards, escaping a tackle attempt from Branch short of the sticks. The Lions would get their stop on the next series of downs, forcing the Cowboys to attempt a 51-yard field goal, which was good. 10-10 tie.

A 34-yard run by Gibbs was negated by a holding penalty on James Mitchell, setting the Lions’ drive back a bit, as the game moved into the fourth quarter.

Fourth quarter

The Lions got out of the hole with a shot play to Jameson Williams. Goff hit Williams in stride for a 63-yard play that immediately set the team up in the red zone.

On the play, Williams suffered an injury and went to the locker room. He was listed as questionable to return with an ankle injury. He would not return.

But Goff couldn’t find Gibbs on a third-and-3, and Detroit settled for a short field goal 13-10 Lions.

Dallas converted a big third-and-5 with a 21-yard dime to Cooks, moving the Cowboys into Lions territory. A few plays later, Prescott hit Cooks for an 8-yard touchdown and a 17-13 Cowboys lead with 7:20 remaining.

The Lions offense had no answer this time, going quickly three-and-out. Under pressure Goff, couldn’t find St. Brown, and Detroit punted away to Dallas with 5:52 remaining. Lamb continued his dominant night, converting a key third-and-10 to keep the chains and clock moving. But Aidan Hutchinson gave the Lions offense one more shot, sacking Prescott for the third time and forcing a fourth-and-13.

The Lions would start at their own 11-yard line with 2:33 remaining. But on the second play of the drive, Donovan Wilson jumped Goff’s pass for an interception that would almost seal the game.

The Lions defense got the stand that they needed to, but not before the Cowboys tacked on a field goal to make it 20-13 Cowboys with 1:41 left.

A couple passes to LaPorta got the Lions down to the Cowboys’ 40-yard line quickly. A 14-yard strike to St. Brown moved Detroit to the Cowboys’ 26-yard line. LaPorta got them down to the 11-yard line with 30 seconds left. To cap it off, St. Brown dove in for the 11-yard score.

Detroit opted to go for two to take the lead with 23 seconds left, and it initially looked like they converted with a trick play to Taylor Decker. However, the officials called it an illegal touch, as they believed he wasn’t an eligible receiver on the play.

The Lions attempted for a second time, and Goff couldn’t find James Mitchell, leading to a final score of 20-19 Cowboys.

Subscribe to PODD

After winning their first NFC North title in 30 years, the Lions have unfinished business this offseason. Stay updated with Jeremy Reisman through Pride of Detroit Direct, our newsletter offering up exclusive analysis. Sign up with NFCNORTH30 to get 30% off after your free trial.