Sunday’s victory against the Lions was critical for the Cowboys to maintain division relevancy at the quarter mark of the season. When your team’s back is against the wall, you expect your best players to step up. That is exactly what the Cowboys best players did.

Ezekiel Elliott

The NFL leading rusher had a career day racking up over 240 yards of total offense. Every time the offense needed a big play, Zeke was there to make it happen. He gashed the Lions on the ground to the tune of 152 yards on 25 carries (6.1 yards a carry avg.), but his biggest plays came in the passing game.

Late in the 2nd quarter, Dallas was trailing 10-6 and the offense had been moving the ball but couldn’t punch it into the end zone. Offensive coordinator Scott Linehan dialed up one of those timely screens to Zeke and he took it to the house for a 38-yard touchdown.

The “Linehan special” flipped the momentum of the game and the Cowboys would go into the half up 13-10.

Elliott’s second big reception of the game came after the Lions scored the go-ahead touchdown with about 2 minutes left in the game, enough time for Dak Prescott to orchestrate a comeback drive. Dak would find Zeke streaking down the sideline in one on one coverage in which he hauled in a beautiful over the shoulder 34-yard catch to set up the Cowboys to win the game. A few plays later Brett Maher would kick the game-winning field goal. Zeke was a one-man show Sunday afternoon, as evidenced by being the team’s leading rusher and receiver.

Demarcus Lawrence

While Ezekiel Elliott leads the league in rushing yards, Demarcus Lawrence leads the league in sacks at 5.5 after four games. Lawrence wrecked the Lions offensive line all game to the tune of 3 sacks, a career high. He has now picked up at least a half sack in four straight games. He has 20 total sacks in the last 20 games. Folks, he is elite.

In yet another contract year Lawrence is showing the Cowboys why they need to pay him. At only 25 years of age, his best years still may be ahead of him. His dominant skill set was shown all afternoon vs Detroit. Not only was he a terror in the passing game but also tough against the run registering 3 tackles for loss. Anchored by Demarcus Lawrence and a stifling Byron Jones the Cowboys rank 3rd in the league in sacks and points per game. The unit also ranks 5th in yards per game. The defense seems to be back in Big D.

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