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5 TDs Dallas Cowboys Should’ve Made Against Detroit, But Didn’t

Make no mistake, looked far superior Sunday afternoon against the than they have at any point so far in the . Having said that, they missed at least five opportunities at scoring a touchdown by my count, instead settled for field goals for the most part. It may be nitpicking, but it could've cost them the “W” against Detroit.

I don't know who's responsible for lighting a fire under 's rear, but his playcalling was pretty impressive against the Detroit Lions. He had the offense and using much more an up-tempo pace, more pre-snap motion, and play action to get them back on track. It was enough to secure the victory, but just barely.

Because of missed touchdown opportunities, the Dallas Cowboys had to rely on to make a game clinching 38 yard field goal as the final seconds ticked off the clock. Maher ended up being the hero Sunday afternoon, but could've easily cost Dallas the victory. This is a game that never should have depended on the leg of Maher to begin with.

1st Missed TD Opportunity

Michael Gallup
Dallas Cowboys WR

Just three plays later after Dak Prescott hooked up with rookie Michael Gallup on a 37 yard completion, the Dallas Cowboys missed their first touchdown opportunity when Prescott overthrew Gallup in the end zone on a 3rd and 9 play from Detroit's 14 yard line.

Gallup had a step on the Lions best , Darius Slay, but unfortunately Prescott's throw sailed out of bounds. It would have likely taken a nearly perfect throw into the back corner of the end zone to give Gallup a chance at securing the catch for the TD, but the opportunity was there nonetheless. Instead, the Cowboys had to settle for Maher's first FG of the game.

2nd Missed TD Opportunity

The Dallas Cowboys next missed opportunity to score a touchdown came in the second quarter when they were trailing the Detroit Lions 7-3.  This failed opportunity might just have been Dak Prescott's best throw of the entire game. Yes, I'm talking about the dime he threw to in the end zone from 34 yards out.

In all honesty, Prescott couldn't have thrown a better pass to Austin.  It was somewhat surprising he was challenging Darius Slay once again, but Austin did have a step on him and probably should've secured the catch for the Cowboys first TD of the game. Instead, it bounced off his hands and fell incomplete. The result of this series once again ended in a Maher FG, bringing the score to 7-6, Detroit.

3rd Missed TD Opportunity

The Dallas Cowboys ended up scoring a touchdown on this particular offensive series, but it ended up being much more difficult than it needed to be. This is the series where Prescott hooked up with for his first career TD. But, Prescott could have made a much easier TD pass to WR , who is standing wide open in the end zone just two plays earlier.

Unfortunately, Prescott gave up on the Hurns just a millisecond too early. This was an excellent example of route running by #17, and it should've resulted in his first career touchdown with the Cowboys. Luckily though, the Cowboys were able to score a TD on this drive. But, it was still a missed opportunity regardless of the outcome.

4th and 5th Missed TD Opportunities

The Dallas Cowboys fourth and fifth missed touchdown opportunities came in their second to last offensive series in the fourth quarter. After an impressive 19 yard pass to , the Cowboys were looking at first and goal from Detroit's 6 yard line. Let's take a look at how this failed TD opportunity played out…

  • 1 – 6 to DET 4 for 2 yards.
  • 2 – 4 Prescott overthrows Swaim on the right side of the end zone
  • 3 – 4 Prescott's pass to falls incomplete
  • 4 – 4 Maher makes a 22 yard field goal

As much as I liked Scott Linehan's playcalling against Detroit, I hated this sequence of plays, mostly the second and third down plays. I have much more faith Zeke would've scored from 4 yards out than I do in Prescott's ability to connect with one of his pass catchers in the end zone. After all, Detroit didn't have an answer for #21 the entire game.

The Cowboys could've possibly scored however on either of the two passes to Swaim or Gathers. Swaim was open, but Prescott's pass was off target in large part due to the pressure he had in his face. Isolating Gathers, who is vastly unproven, was highly questionable. Yes, he had the size advantage over Detroit's smaller DB, but that's not a very high percentage play to make. That's especially for someone as inexperienced as Rico.


I know a lot of these plays may seem like nitpicking to a lot of you, but the good teams around the NFL typically capitalize on these kind of opportunities. If the Dallas Cowboys want to be serious postseason contenders, they can't allow these failed touchdown opportunities to slip through their fingers. Kicking field goals instead of scoring touchdowns isn't the best way to win games.

What do you think of these 5 missed TD opportunities by the Dallas Cowboys?

Brian Martin
Brian Martin
Level C2/C3 quadriplegic. College graduate with a bachelors degree in sports and health sciences-concentration sports management. Sports enthusiast. Dallas Cowboys fanatic. Lover of life with a glass half-full point of view.

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Ethan Chazin

during the course of a game where your offense may have 65 plays there are going to be lots of missed opportunities. Having said that, good lord why is Dak missing so many open looks? In the nfl having a step on a defender is nearly “Wide Open” so what is the deal? Also it might help if the D could actually get a turnover. They have ZERO INTs…zero!

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