Cowboys hang on as penalty nixes Lions’ 2-point conversion


ARLINGTON, Texas — CeeDee Lamb could only watch from the sideline in the final seconds of the best game of his career, hoping it would be enough for a 16th consecutive home victory for the Dallas Cowboys.

It was, because the Cowboys survived a 2-point conversion fest with Detroit going for the win.

Dak Prescott had two touchdown passes, the first of which was a 92-yarder to Lamb, and Dallas stopped the third 2-point try from the Lions after their first attempt was converted but negated by a penalty with 23 seconds remaining in the Cowboys’ 20-19 victory Saturday night.

On the first conversion try after Jared Goff’s 11-yard touchdown pass to Amon-Ra St. Brown, Goff completed a pass to lineman Taylor Decker, but Decker was ruled to be an ineligible receiver.

The Lions went for 2 again from the 7-yard line and were stopped on an interception that didn’t even reach the end zone, but the Cowboys were called for offsides.

On the final attempt, Goff’s pass to James Mitchell short of the goal line was incomplete, finishing off the Dallas celebration of two-time Super Bowl-winning coach Jimmy Johnson’s induction into the team’s ring of honor at halftime.

“Very stressful,” said Lamb, who had a career-high 227 yards receiving. “But definitely I know my defense had us, and they held it down.”

Lamb’s touchdown was the second-longest pass in club history — behind the 95-yard connection in 1966 between two more ring of honor members in Don Meredith and Pro Football Hall of Fame receiver Bob Hayes.

The NFC North champion Lions (11-5) went for the victory after entering the game with hopes of getting one of the top two seeds in the NFC.

“I told the offense that we were going down, 1:41 left, we’re going to go down and score and then we’re going to go for 2 and finish this game off,” Lions coach Dan Campbell said. “I told them that, and so that’s what we’re doing.”

The playoff-bound Cowboys (11-5) have a shot at the NFC East title, but need division-leading Philadelphia to lose at least once in the final two weeks.

Dallas went ahead 17-13 on Brandin Cooks’ scoring catch from Prescott midway through the fourth quarter, and the Cowboys extended the lead to seven on Brandon Aubrey’s record 35th field goal without a miss to start his career.

Goff’s second interception set up Aubrey’s kick, but he led the Lions 75 yards in nine plays to St. Brown’s TD catch.

Goff said Decker, the starting left tackle, reported to officials and Dan Skipper, a backup offensive tackle, did not. Skipper said he didn’t report to an official. Two players can’t report to be eligible receivers on the same play.

“I don’t want to talk about it,” said Campbell, who was visibly angry with referee Brad Allen after the successful 2-point play was negated.

In a pool report, Allen said Skipper reported to him as eligible, but then lined up in a tackle spot that didn’t require him to report. Allen said Decker didn’t report, and that his conversation with Decker was about Skipper reporting.

Video showed Allen and Decker talking before Allen said something to the Dallas defense.

“That conversation is where [Skipper] reports to me, and I then go to the defensive team, and I say to them, ‘[Skipper] has reported as an eligible receiver,’ so they will be aware of who has reported,” Allen said in the pool report.

Goff finished 19 for 34 for 271 yards with a TD and two interceptions, and David Montgomery had a scoring run.

“It’s unfortunate, man,” Goff said. “I don’t know if I’ve had this feeling before where you feel like you won and then you didn’t.”

Prescott finished 26-for-38 for 345 yards with an interception.

Lamb broke two of receiver Michael Irvin’s single-season club records from 1995 while also setting career highs with 13 catches in his first 200-yard game.

The third catch broke Irvin’s mark of 111, although it ended up being a turnover when he fumbled into the end zone out of bounds when Dallas was on the verge of a 14-3 lead.

Lamb has temporary taken the NFL receiving yardage lead with 1,651 yards, 10 more than Miami’s Tyreek Hill, who plays Sunday. Irvin had 1,603 yards in 1995.

“I really don’t know where to start,” Lamb said. “Shout out to the defense for bailing us out. I told y’all I’d enjoy it more if we won, and we did.”

Irvin was there to see every catch and yard. He and his fellow Hall of Fame “Triplets” from the 1990s Super Bowl winners — quarterback Troy Aikman and running back Emmitt Smith — greeted Johnson as their former coach joined them in the ring of honor during a halftime ceremony.

Dallas was trailing 3-0 and facing third-and-13 from its 8-yard line in the first quarter when Detroit linebacker Derrick Barnes ran right by Prescott with a chance to sack him just inside the goal line. Cornerback Kindle Vildor fell just as Prescott was throwing deep to a sprinting Lamb, who caught the ball near midfield and cruised to the end zone.

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