The Dallas Cowboys got the job done against the Tennessee Titans on Thursday Night Football, despite giving Tennessee more than a few opportunities to win. The Titans put unexpected pressure on the Cowboys all night and forced three turnovers, but still couldn’t pull off the upset victory.
With the Titans offense and defense banged up, this should have been a game that leaned a lot heavier on the Cowboys. That wasn’t the case, though, and the Boys, if they expect to make a deep postseason run, are going to have to play a lot better.
Dallas was only ahead by four points heading into the final quarter of the game. QB Dak Prescott had been in the entire time, and would have to use the rest of his energy to secure the Cowboys’ 27-13 win.
Cowboys Out of Sync
Prescott’s experience helped him keep his cool under pressure, allowing him to rack up 282 yards and two touchdown passes. These came even has he suffered two back-to-back interceptions and a fumble, which had allowed the Titans to stay within firing range.
Titans safety Kevin Byard was on fire, getting inside Prescott’s mind in the first half. A defense that was weakened due to injury wasn’t going to keep him from giving his all. He stole two passes on consecutive Cowboys drives to be a real threat to Dallas.
Kevin Byard intercepts it off the bobble @KevinByard#DALvsTEN on Prime Video
Also available on NFL+ https://t.co/745fAOdlLT pic.twitter.com/wRo9CFHw11
— NFL (@NFL) December 30, 2022
As much as Byard tried, he couldn’t do it alone. The Titans had trouble on both sides of the ball and made countless errors.
Behind an inexperienced QB, Joshua Dobbs, the offense struggled, but still managed to make the Cowboys work hard for their win. Dobbs, who only joined the team on December 21, passed for 232 yards and a TD, but also had a pick and two sacks in his initiation.
Dallas was only up 10-6 at halftime. Prescott then erased the first-half misses from his memory in the third quarter. He first connected with tight end Dalton Schultz following a solid drive, extending the lead to 17-6.
The Titans’ offense responded, though, picking up a TD that made it 17-13. Nothing else happened in the third quarter, but Dallas came out swinging in the fourth. Another TD pass to Schultz pushed the Cowboys out to 24-13.
The Titans couldn’t muster any more strength as the clock dragged on – a Dobbs interception killed their chances. But Dallas added a field goal to pad the lead and ensure victory.
The Race Continues
Heading into the game, there wasn’t a lot of doubt that the Cowboys would win. Tennessee was banged up and coming in with a new QB. However, Dallas didn’t take command of the field the way that most expected.
Still, their performance was good enough to make their backers happy. It also gave those who took them on the spread a little bonus.
Where many bettors may have missed, though, was on the over/under. Set at 40 or 40.5 on most sportsbooks, the final score was dead on, ending in a push in some cases.
The Cowboys are looking for a way to take the NFC East title from the Philadelphia Eagles, but that won’t happen. The Eagles play the New Orleans Saints and New York Giants in January, and would have to lose both to see any changes in the standings.
Instead, Dallas needs to focus on its last game of the season against the Washington Commanders, as well as the postseason. They won last night, but won’t survive for long if they don’t make major improvements.
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