The Dallas Cowboys took care of business Thursday night, beating a Tennessee Titans team missing multiple starters.
People expected a Cowboys blowout win with Derrick Henry, Ryan Tannehill, and four defensive starters out with injuries for Tennessee. The 27-13 final score shows Dallas delivered, but sloppiness from the offense made it a tight game going into the fourth quarter.
Here are the biggest storylines from the game, and what we learned from the Cowboys 12th win of the season:
Turnovers continue to be an issue
Dak Prescott threw two interceptions, making it his sixth-straight game with a pick. Prescott’s 14 interceptions are tied for the most in football despite the QB having missed five games with a thumb injury. Dak has also thrown a pick in six-consecutive games.
Peyton Hendershot deserves the blame for Prescott’s first INT. The pass was placed perfectly but Hendershot couldn’t reel it in, and it popped up and into the hands of a Titans defender:
According to Pro Football Focus, seven of Prescott’s interceptions came on plays where the receiver was at fault, not the QB.
The second pick was Dak’s fault. Prescott also lost a fumble on a mishandled snap from C Tyler Biadasz.
The Cowboys cleaned it up in the second half and avoided more turnovers. But Dallas only led by four points in the fourth quarter, and giving the ball away was the reason for a tight score vs. an inferior opponent.
You can turn the ball over three times and still notch a win against a team like the Titans. But making that many mistakes in the postseason is a recipe for disaster. If Dallas wants to win the Super Bowl, this must change.
Lamb and T.Y. balled out
CeeDee Lamb has played the best football of his career in recent weeks. Lamb recorded 100 receiving yards on Thursday night, and he’s now surpassed that total in three-straight games. CeeDee has 346 yards in that span.
Lamb also has 102 receptions on the year. He joins Jason Witten and Michael Irvin as the only players in Cowboys history to tally 100+ receptions. If he can catch 10 passes next week, he’ll break the single-season franchise record.
T.Y. Hilton has also proven to be a worthy signing just two games into Cowboys career. Last week, Hilton made the play of the game with a 52-yard catch to move the chains on 3rd and 30.
Against Tennessee, he caught four of five targets for 50 yards for a healthy 12.5 yards per reception.
Hilton isn’t just making an impact on the field. Earlier this week, T.Y. told the media that he and Lamb have bonded, and Hilton is already imparting veteran wisdom to his 23-year-old teammate.
With this being Hilton’s 11th season in the NFL, there’s no doubt he has plenty of knowledge to share.
The defense got some swagger back
The Cowboys defense hasn’t been performing well lately. In the three game’s prior to Week 17, they’ve allowed an average of 32 points and recorded one lonely sack.
Against the Titans, they got back on track by giving up only 13 points and getting two sacks. Impressive considering Dallas’ offense turned the ball over three times in the first half.
The Dallas faithful certainly won’t be throwing a parade for the defense’s performance. Afterall, they did face a Titans team that started QB Josh Dobbs, who last took a regular season snap in 2020. Plus, injuries forced Tennessee to start third-string RB Hassan Haskins.
But the Cowboys defense has to feel good about its performance on Thursday night. Even if it is against a lowly Titans offense, building winning habits is never a bad thing.