The ‘ season is officially on the brink.
After a disappointing 17-6 loss to the a week ago, the Lions entered Monday night with a chance to book a playoff spot. All they needed to do was beat a banged-up team that had nothing to play for except pride. That’s definitely a harder task than it sounds, but the point stands: The Lions needed to win Monday night.
They didn’t win. They lost, 42-21. And now they’re staring at a very real future that doesn’t involve them playing postseason football.
At 9-6, the Lions will still have an opportunity to win the NFC North if they beat the next weekend. But the Lions are also in jeopardy of ending their season with a loss to the Packers, because if the beat the Giants this weekend, the loser of the NFC North title game will miss the playoffs entirely.
Oh, by the way, the last time found himself in that exact same situation, he broke the ‘ hearts at Soldier Field with a fourth-down, game-winning touchdown to .
Have fun, Detroit.
The Lions had their chances early against the Cowboys. They scored on their first two possessions. They even led 21-14 late in the second quarter before went all Dez Bryant on them to tie the game before the break. Still, 21-21 isn’t a bad place to be in Dallas. The Lions were hanging with — arguably outplaying — the Cowboys. All they needed was one more half of solid football.
They caved instead. After halftime, looked like the Stafford of years past, turning the ball over twice. His offensive line didn’t help matters, allowing four sacks during the game. The running game, which surprisingly came alive in the first half, returned to its comatose state. The Lions had 65 rushing yards at halftime. They finished with 90. The offense was shut out in the second half.
And the defense couldn’t force a stop. The Lions were outscored by 21 points in the second half.
After beating the Bears on Dec. 11, the Lions were 9-4 and a lock to make the postseason. They’re now one Aaron Rodgers game away from dropping the final three games of the season and maybe missing out on the postseason altogether.
Conventional wisdom says the Lions are on the cusp of completing a stunning collapse, but the truth is, they’ve overachieved all season long. So engineered by Stafford. That might be a fun wvertz.McManaman says the German is probably on Jurgen Klopp’s radar – although, we won’t know about it.”He’s a young player and he’s doing really well at Bayer Leverkusen, so we will wait and see,” McManaman wrote in his Horse Racing column.”It’s oneay to win football games — Stafford broke ‘s single-seasonft of young players for loan this summer.Sky Sports says the eight returning to Cobham from Dublin include Lewis Baker, Izzy Brown and Lucas Piazon, as well as Trevoh Chalobah, Dujon Sterling, Ike Ugbo, Conor Gallagher and Marc Guehi.All eight featur record with eight fourth-quarter comebacks — but it’s not necessarily a sustainable method. It’s not the way most legit contenders win. It doesn’t lead to wins over the league’s top teams, like the Cowboys.
They still have one more game to prove us all wrong. But they’re quickly running out of chances.
Here are some more takeaways from Monday’s game:
+ Zeke are still unstoppable
The Cowboys didn’t waste any time putting the Lions in an early hole on the road. On the first possession of the game, Dak Prescott went 5 of 6 for 71 yards.
He finished off the drive with a 21-yard touchdown pass to on third-and-14.
The Cowboys’ second drive belonged to their other dynamic rookie, . After getting bottled up on the first series, According to .com’s Chris Wesseling, .
Also, shoutout to that blocking:
Prescott tossed his second touchdown to tie the game just before halftime (more on that in a second) and Zeke scored his second touchdown on the ground to give the Cowboys a 28-21 lead in the third quarter. You know you’re good when you bounce a 1-yard run all the way to the outside and showboat before you reach the goal line.
Zeke’s final numbers: 12 carries, 80 yards, and two touchdowns.
Prescott’s stat line: 15 of 20 for 212 yards, three touchdowns, zero interceptions, and a 148.3 passer rating.
Yeah, they played well.
Dez caught it … and threw it
The Lions didn’t have an answer for Dez Bryant either. Just before halftime, made one of those impossible catches that makes you inadvertently shout at your TV.
How the heck did to snag this football?
And that wasn’t even his most memorable moment. That honor belongs to his first career pass, which resulted in his first career touchdown.
Who knew Dez was a lefty?
That touchdown gave the Cowboys a 35-21 lead. Jerry Jones status update:
Bryant scored his third touchdown of the game in the fourth quarter, which handed the Cowboys a 21-point lead. It also completed a 28-0 run that began with Bryant’s ridiculous catch in the second quarter.
The best part about the Cowboys? Their rookie duo has been so damn unstoppable this year that we’ve sort of forgotten all about Bryant.
The Cowboys are peaking
Need more proof that the Cowboys are peaking? This is their punter:
When the Cowboys lost to the Giants for the second time on Dec. 11, they looked vulnerable. Dak Prescott played so poorly in that loss that some wanted to replace him with Tony Romo.
Well, the Cowboys and Prescott have certainly responded, putting an end to the quarterback controversy and cementing their status as the best team in the NFC. After that loss, the Cowboys knocked off a pesky team and then demolished the Lions.
They’re 13-2, by the way, and the clear front-runners in the NFC.
Matthew Stafford went full Favre
Since suffering that injury to the middle finger of his throwing hand, Stafford’s struggled, hardly looking like the MVP candidate he was for most of the year. Against the Bears, Stafford posted a 64.3 passer rating. Against the Giants, he posted a 71.8 rating. So, how’d he fare against the Cowboys?
He channeled his inner Brett Favre, which isn’t exactly a good thing.
He completed crazy passes into tight coverage, demonstrating his world-class arm talent. He zipped in side-arm fastballs to his receivers.
He scored a crucial, tough touchdown on fourth down to tie the game in the second quarter.
But on the opening drive of the second half, Stafford made an unforgivable mistake. With the Lions facing second-and-long, Stafford scrambled like a madman in the backfield and It reached ‘s arms instead.
Stafford ended up throwing only one pick, but he also fumbled near the goal line. He averaged 5.7 yards per pass. He didn’t throw a touchdown. His passer rating? 63.7.
For a third straight game, Stafford played poorly.
Nice to meet you,
The Lions do not run the ball particularly well, but they ran the ball all over the Cowboys to begin the game. To be specific, Zach Zenner ran all over the Cowboys.
On the Lions’ f move to Heerenveen.Halilovic had joined Standard in January on an 18-month deal, but managed just 14 appearances last season.He will now spend the current campaign with Heerenveen, who are 10th in the Eredivisie after five games.The Croatian was theirst drive, Zenner picked up 38 yards on three carries and caught two passes for 25 yards. He also found the end zone.
He earned the approval of running back .
Zenner wasn’t done. With the score tied at 14-14 in the second quarter, he reached the end zone again.
The Cowboys’ health
Week 16 was already marred by the injuries and sustained, which ended the and ‘ seasons to varying degrees. Injuries had to be on Dallas’ mind, especially considering the coaching staff opted to play all of their healthy starters.
So, how’d they fare? Prescott stayed healthy. So did Zeke. The only issue might be left tackle , who is incredibly important to the Cowboys’ success.
On the final play of the third quarter, Smith served as the lead blocker on a run to the left. He ended up hurting his right knee. Trainers surrounded him on the sidelines. The Cowboys immediately declared that so hopefully the injury isn’t serious.
The Lions will host the Packers with the NFC North title on the line. That game was . If they tie, they’ll both make the playoffs.
The Cowboys, on the other hand, already have the No. 1 seed in the NFC wrapped up. So, their game against the next week will only be worth monitoring to see if they give their backups — including Tony Romo — any reps.