What We Learned from Lions-Cowboys on Saturday Night, Week 17 of the 2023 NFL Season.

1.The bravery of lions has no limits. The game appeared to be gone only minutes before, but Lions head coach Dan Campbell didn’t even think twice about going for the victory when his team marched 75 yards in the last two minutes to get back. If Taylor Decker’s potential two-point grab hadn’t been nullified by his failure to register as eligible, as per the post-game pool report, Detroit would have been rejoicing in an unlikely victory owing to the bravery of its head coach. However, Campbell didn’t even consider to settle for overtime from the 7-yard line. He just trotted his team back out there, only to have to make the same choice the following play due to an offsides penalty. All of Dallas was on the edge of their seats for a wild and frantic sequence that would have had them on the edge of their seats minutes earlier, but the Lions’ third try to win, this time from the three, was unsuccessful. This was not Campbell’s lucky break, but it is what happens when a coach has the guts to defy expectations. The 2023 season has had several opportunities taken but no good plays made by Campbell’s Lions, a trait that has been evident from the start of the team, starting with their victory over the reigning Super Bowl winners in Week 1. It’s important to remember this as the NFC North champs attempt to win Detroit’s first postseason game in over thirty years in the next weeks. After a contentious loss, you never know what this club will do for Campbell in the future.

2.Dallas almost let their flawless home record slip away. You may wonder how the Lions came close to pulling off an unlikely victory. You need just look at the Cowboys’ last play following Donovan Wilson’s interception with 2:11 remaining in the game. After the two-minute warning, the Cowboys faced a first-and-25 situation due to a tripping penalty, meaning they needed to convert only one first down to win. Detroit was forced to use its second timeout after an 11-yard completion, but for some reason, the throws didn’t stop coming. The following play included an incomplete deep shot that raised some eyebrows and maybe even justified as a go-for-the-win call, but the pass was not even close, and it spared the Lions a crucial timeout and valuable seconds from the clock. Following the Cowboys’ last third-and-long touchdown, they used their final time of possession to put up a 43-yard field goal by Brandon Aubrey to extend their advantage to seven. The Cowboys defense was destroyed on a nine-play, 75-yard touchdown drive with plenty of time remaining, and those scores proved to be the difference. Although the team won, Mike McCarthy’s team didn’t look good, and this kind of fine-tuning will be required in the postseason.

3.Historical franchise numbers are produced using the Prescott-Lamb link. On Saturday night, Hall of Famer Michael Irvin’s records for the most receptions (122) and receiving yards (1,651) in a single season were broken by CeeDee Lamb, who had 13 receptions for 227 yards and a score. Lamb’s spectacular 92-yard touchdown reception, which resulted from a heads-up play by Dak Prescott and the receiver, was the highlight of the evening. Prescott spun away from a potential safety to the right and threw the ball 50 yards off one leg towards Lamb, who left his opponent in the dust on the faulty play, dodging an advancing Lions rush. When it came to over fifty percent of Dallas’ overall offense (384 yards), Lamb was outstanding on a night when the Cowboys’ run game was stuffed. Lamb continued his career-best campaign on Saturday night, and the opposition will have to focus on his relationship with Prescott.

4.Detroit’s offensive line will carry them just so far. Due to an offense plagued by a lackluster rushing assault and rattled by Cowboys disruptors on throwing downs, the Lions only had three points at halftime. But Detroit stuck to its game plan and opened the third quarter with a 13-play, 74-yard touchdown drive that included 11 rushes to tie the score. The Lions scored on their subsequent drive as well, following up on a magnificent 63-yard touchdown pass from Jared Goff to Jameson Williams. Even though Detroit had to settle for a field goal on that drive (perhaps because it was desperate after failing to convert on third down in its first red-zone effort), the performance in the second half demonstrated the apparent wake-up call the Lions offensive line received at halftime. Ultimately, the offensive line generated 125 rushing yards and gave up only one sack to quarterback Jake Long. If this all-star group performs well in the postseason, the Lions’ potential is virtually limitless.

5.The hurried attack by the Cowboys is still going nowhere. Prescott-Lamb’s partnership preserved an offense that was unable to create enough runs to relieve the passing attack’s pressure and maybe avert a Detroit comeback effort. Despite stuttering on a few of his tries, Tony Pollard managed to produce 49 yards off 18 carries (a long of 18 yards), and the AT&T Stadium erupted in cheers. With the playoffs quickly coming, there is cause for concern, particularly in a game where Tyron Smith was suiting up for the Cowboys and the O-line was playing at full strength. Guard Tyler Smith left the game on Saturday night without coming back, and his absence would not be good for an offense that has only produced one rusher with 100 yards or more in a game all season—that was in Week 3!

NFL Research: As of Sunday, Week 17, 2023, CeeDee Lamb’s 92-yard touchdown reception is the longest offensive play by any club.

The next generation stat of the day is that Jameson Williams’ 63-yard reception saw him hit a maximum speed of 21.48 mph, which was both the quickest in his career and the highest by a Lions ball carrier since Andre Roberts in the fourth week of 2016 (21.58 mph).


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