What We Saw: Week 7

The What We Saw team recaps everything you missed from Sunday's action

Detroit Lions @ Dallas Cowboys

Final Score: Cowboys 24, Lions 6

Writer: <Michael James> (@MikeoftheFF on Twitter)


The Detroit Lions are off the bye week and visiting the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium.  The two teams got together to discuss what their plans are for Thanksgiving.  Turns out, they’re both playing football that day, go figure.  Detroit came off the bye week and looked to fine-tune their high-powered offense after losing the number one spot thanks to a visit to the Patriots beforehand.  With the extra prep time, they looked to fire up their defense against a Dallas team that is getting their starting QB back after going down in Week 1.  And here you go, I know you missed it even more than I have:



Dallas won the toss and decides to receive the kick-off only because they are that eager to get Dak Prescott back onto the field.  The very first snap is a naked bootleg out, the pass was thrown fast and sharp but sadly for the comeback movie, falls incomplete.  The Lions aren’t here for a feel-good story, and end the drive on a 3rd down sack.  The Lions only did a little better, but after getting a first down, stalled out on 3rd-and-long due to a fumble at the line from the previous play.  The Lions put together a drive towards the end of the first quarter using a west coast style of quick out passes for big gains after the catch to get down the field, Jared Goff going 5-for-5 before attempting his first downfield pass on third down, coming up incomplete setting up a Michael Badgley field goal to put Detroit up first with three points.

Dallas started the next drive with Dalton Schultz, who’s glad to have that Prescott connection back, catching two passes for 15 and 10 yards respectively.  In between that, we had Prescott’s first deep throw go into double coverage before it was brought in by CeeDee Lamb for 24 yards.  However, once in the red zone, Tony Pollard couldn’t break through the line three rushes in a row.  Brett Maher took the 4th down play through the uprights, tying the game up 3-3.  After looking like the drive was stalling out, Goff hit a 9-yard pass with an extra 15 yards for roughing the passer to advance the Lions into Dallas territory.  But a holding penalty would cut all momentum and halt the drive for Badgley to come out and put the Lions up by three again.

Dallas marched into Detroit territory on the back of Prescott’s 5 passing attempts in a row including a 21-yard catch to Lamb.  The Cowboys move the chains on a 14-yard option with Ezekiel Elliott, who had to come out after a bad tackle to the knee.  Then on the 15-yard catch by Noah Brown, he got tackled in a way that ends up somersaulting him and letting go of the ball for the Lions to recover on the 5-yard line to take us into half-time.





The Lions come out of the second half firing with a 16-yard catch over the middle to TJ Hockenson and then a 35-yard bomb to Cowboys cornerback Trevon Diggs, who was channeling his older brother Stefon’s energy for the interception.  On replay, it was seen that the ball was bobbled, but because it’s a turnover it cannot be challenged by the Lions.  For reasons unknown, the referee was never buzzed from the offices in New York, so the interception stood without review.  A really bad feeling for Detroit fans, Dallas got away with one.  The Cowboys took the ball and ran it up the middle repeatedly with Tony Pollard getting 28 of the drive’s 53 rushing yards on one play.  A pass interference call on Detroit when targeting Dalton Schultz for the touchdown, set up a 1-yard touchdown run for Ezekiel Elliott to put the Cowboys up 10-6.




The Cowboys looked to get started again after KaVontae Turpin‘s longest punt return (52 yards) of the NFL season started them in Detroit’s territory.  However, Aiden Hutchinson was having none of it picking up his second sack on the day taking Dallas out of field goal range, and forcing them to punt the ball back.  The Lions looked to strike back after converting a huge strike on 3rd-and-14 to Kalif Raymond to keep the drive alive despite two holding penalties against Detroit.  Aside from that play and a Jamaal Williams 20-yard rush, most of the drive continued to be a west coast style of short side passes to move up the sidelines, highlighted by a Brock Wright catch behind the line to run it 17 yards down to the 1.  Disaster struck though, as Williams fumbled for the first time this season turning it over.

After hitting Lamb for 15 yards over the middle, Prescott then scrambled and threw three passes in a row for 41 yards down to the 1-yard line, hooking up with Noah Brown multiple times.  Elliott takes two rushes to punch it in for his second touchdown of the day to put the Cowboys up by 11.  On the ensuing drive, the Lions start to crumble with Sam Williams just… taking the ball from Goff.  I don’t know how else to describe it.  Pollard would take it 25 yards into the red zone setting up a 2-yard touchdown pass to Peyton Hendershot to put the game up 24 to 6 for Dallas.  The Lions got one more shot but Micah Parsons punched the ball out of Goff’s hands for his second fumble, closing the game out for the win.




This game was a lot of “bend but not break” by both offenses for three quarters as we only had 16 points combined before the Lions’ defense finally broke in the fourth quarter allowing two touchdown drives.  Both teams just barely over 200 yards passing, however, both teams did eclipse 100 yards rushing.   But in the end, one team turned the ball over 5 times and failed to score a single touchdown.  This game had its fair share of momentum-halting penalties, 15 total on the day.  Neither team was efficient on 3rd down both teams going 3 for 9 on the day.  The Lions also allowed 5 sacks and, probably most importantly, were without key pieces to the offense.  Dallas moves to 5-2 and will continue their NFC North tour hosting the Bears next week.  Detroit is now 1-5 and will host the Dolphins next.



Detroit Lions




Jared Goff: 21/26, 228 Yards, 2 INT | 1 Carry, 4 Yards, 2 Fumbles (2 Lost)


Coming off the bye week, the game plan was to use the sidelines against the Cowboys’ defense, and push for the quick passes and gather yards after the catch.  Jared Goff played an extremely efficient first half, completing 10 of his 12 passes with 6 of those going to his backs or his tight ends.  The wheels came off in the second half with 4 turnovers by Goff as the team had to start to push for points rather than protecting the ball with the game time running out.  Both interceptions were at the fault of Goff with inaccurate throws that the receiver did not have much of a chance on.  Dallas continued its story of the season, with five sacks and five QB hits on the day.  It needs to be noted Goff was without two of his three starting WRs for most of this game.



Running Back


Jamaal Williams: 15 Carries, 79 Yards | 1 Target, 1 Reception, 4 Yards | 2 Fumbles (1 Lost)
Craig Reynolds: 4 Carries, 12 Yards | 3 Targets, 3 Receptions, 18 Yards
Justin Jackson: 3 Carries, 2 Yards


D’Andre Swift was ruled out of this game before kick-off giving the starting nod to Jamaal Williams who finished the day with an admirable 5.3 yards per carry.  Not so admirable was putting the ball on the ground on an end zone punch-through attempt.  The longest run of the day for him was a 20-yard run that helped get the Lions to the goal line where he would subsequently end the drive in said turnover.  He only got one target on the day as most of the little pass-catching for the running backs mostly went to Craig  Reynolds.  Swift, who has missed time since last playing the Vikings, will work on getting better for a potential start in week 8.



Wide Receiver/Tight End


Brock Wright: 4 Targets, 4 Receptions, 57 Yards, 1 Fumble (Recovered)
T.J. Hockenson: 5 Targets, 4 Receptions, 48 Yards
Kalif Raymond: 6 Targets, 5 Receptions, 75 Yards | 2 Carries, 20 Yards
Tom Kennedy: 3 Targets, 2 Receptions, 14 Yards
Josh Reynolds: 2 Targets, 1 Reception, 8 Yards
Amon-Ra St. Brown: 1 Target, 1 Reception, 4 Yards


With no DJ Chark for this game, fantasy owners would hope for even more work for the other two starting receivers.  Unfortunately, Amon-Ra St. Brown‘s first catch had him come down hard on the tackle and would be ruled out by observers with a concussion for the rest of the game.  Josh Reynolds didn’t see much work at all, bringing in only one of his two targets in the third quarter, with the other one being intercepted.

This left Kalif Raymond as the go-to man who shined with 95 yards from scrimmage on the day, catching five of his six targets.  It would appear with no time to throw, Goff was either looking for Raymond or one of his tight ends.  TJ Hockenson came up big with his first three catches going for first downs each and had another one that was nullified by penalty.  Frustratingly for owners, he split the workload with Brock Wright, who caught every ball thrown his way on the day and was one of Goff’s go-to targets when being pressured.   Now if we could just combine them for the stats on our fantasy team…



Dallas Cowboys




Dak Prescott: 19/25, 207 Yards, TD | 3 Carries


Welcome back, Dak Prescott!  Dallas won the toss and even decided to take the opening kickoff just to get their quarterback out there as quickly as possible.  As expected, there was some rust on communications, cadences (two false starts in the first half), and route timings.  All things considered, they got into their groove by half-time with Prescott completing 9 of his 14 passes for over 100 yards.  Of his 6 deep throw attempts, his only completion came to CeeDee Lamb who caught the first one in double coverage.  This seemed to embolden Prescott, as his next two deep attempts to Lamb were into triple coverage, barely avoiding interceptions both times.  He did hook up on with Peyton Hendershot for the Cowboys’ third touchdown of the day, all three off Detroit turnovers.



Running Back


Ezekiel Elliott: 15 Carries, 57 Yards, 2 TD
Tony Pollard: 12 Carries, 83 Yards | 2 Targets, 2 Receptions, 26 Yards


Lightning and Thunder both had great games today with Tony Pollard breaking good plays for over 100 yards total on the day, and Ezekiel Elliott surviving a knee injury scare at the half to rumble his way to two touchdowns.  Both backs split the short yard down work about 2:1 with Elliott being favored.  Elliott did have two greater than 10 yards to boost his YPC on the day, including the play just before the half where Prescott ran the option.  Aside from that, he was mostly used to gut the short-yard conversions up the middle, which included two goal-line runs that he would convert.  Pollard did have one drive where they attempted to punch it through three times in a row but didn’t quite make it to the end zone resulting in the field goal.  For the little that it is worth; I don’t know really how to describe “running with a purpose” but it is the sentiment I got watching Pollard break his runs.




Wide Receiver/Tight End


CeeDee Lamb: 6 Targets, 4 Receptions, 70 Yards | 1 Carry, -4 Yards
Noah Brown: 7 Targets, 5 Receptions, 50 Yards, 1 Fumble (Lost)
Dalton Schultz: 5 Targets, 5 Receptions, 49 Yards
Peyton Hendershot: 2 Targets, 2 Receptions, 5 Yards, TD
Jake Ferguson: 1 Target, 1 Reception, 7 Yards
KaVontae Turpin: 1 Carry, 3 Yards


Also enjoying the comeback of the starting quarterback was CeeDee Lamb who had 17.5 average yards per catch today, including two 20+yard plays with every single reception on the day going for double-digit yards.  There was even a drive where Prescott targeted Lamb on 3 of the 4 plays on that scoring drive.  Missing from the stat box was Michael Gallup who had two targets in the first half and nothing after that.  Now when asked what his floor is, I can point to this game.  Unlucky.  A benefactor from 7 of Prescott’s 25 targets was Noah Brown who after a slow start, caught a 15-yard pass to the red zone in the first half only to try to go over the tackler and take a wicked hit that flipped him completely spinning the ball lose for the fumble.  He would not let him get that down, as he went 3 for 3 in the second half for 34 of his 50 yards.  He even had a tackle on special teams if you are in an IDP league.

Perhaps the one who benefited the most from Prescott’s return was Dalton Schultz who saw a return to the chemistry we knew from last season, especially after the season slump he’s started this year off in.  Going 5 for 5, he was who Prescott would look for when the pocket was breaking down.  Peyton Hendershot ran a great route toward the end of the game to score the final touchdown, but that’s about all he did besides continue the fantasy owner’s lament of the wrong tight end scoring points.  And as a final small footnote: KaVontae Turpin had 66 yards on punt returns if you are in a deep league that tracks that sort of thing.


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