ARLINGTON, TEXAS – Rookies Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott keep winning for the Dallas Cowboys, even with Kirk Cousins setting records for the Washington Redskins.
Prescott accounted for two touchdowns, Elliott ran for a pair of scores and the Cowboys extended their franchise regular-season record with a 10th straight victory, beating the Redskins 31-26 on Thursday.
Prescott tied Don Meredith’s club quarterback record from 50 years ago with his fifth rushing TD and the NFL-leading Cowboys (10-1) won despite 449 yards passing and three touchdowns from Cousins, the first Redskins quarterback with two 400-yard games in a season.
“Over and over and over again, at critical moments, he came up with a big play, whether it was a third down, down in the red zone, again and again and again he just played winning football for us,” Dallas coach Jason Garrett said about Prescott. “He did the things that winning quarterbacks do.”
The Redskins (6-4-1) got swept by their NFC East rival, and the defending division champions fell 3½ games behind Dallas with five games left. It was their seventh loss in eight tries on Thanksgiving against the Cowboys, who had never won more than eight straight in the regular season.
“We’ve been in third place for a while, so we have to understand where we are what it’s going to take to get an opportunity to come back here in the future,” Washington coach Jay Gruden said. “The last five games of the year are critical.”
Elliott, the NFL rushing leader, had the fourth score on five straight second-half touchdown drives between the two teams with a 1-yard run for a 31-19 lead midway through the fourth quarter. The 21-year-old had 97 yards to give him 1,199 for the season.
After getting 43 yards on the first Dallas possession, Elliott had just 13 yards before a 21-yarder to start Dallas’ last TD drive. It was the second straight week he finished with 97 yards after some difficulty in the first half.
“Over time, you keep running the football, you’re going to wear them down,” Garrett said. “He made some big runs late that were critical. It really broke their back.”
Lions 16, Vikings 13: In Detroit, Darius Slay dropped into coverage as if he was going to cover a deep route and pounced on an opportunity to help the Lions come back to win another game.
Slay intercepted Sam Bradford’s pass from the left hash across the field to help send Detroit into sole possession of first place in the NFC North.
Slay returned the interception 13 yards with 30 seconds left to set up Matt Prater’s 40-yard field goal as time expired.
The Vikings could have stuck with the conservative approach they took on offense for much of the game and played for overtime on their last drive, but coach Mike Zimmer allowed Bradford to pass and Slay made him regret it.
“I knew they were going to throw,” Slay said. “They didn’t want overtime. They know what happened last time.”
Earlier this month, Prater made a game-tying 58-yard field goal at the end of regulation at Minnesota and the Lions won in overtime.
Slay, a standout cornerback, who calls himself “Big Play Slay,” fooled Bradford by coming up and stepping in front of Adam Thielen to pick off the pass.
Steelers 28, Colts 7: In Indianapolis, Antonio Brown hauled in three touchdown catches of more than 20 yards to give Pittsburgh a rout over a depleted Colts team that was missing star quarterback Andrew Luck.
“I don’t take it for granted, but I’m not surprised by it,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said of his star receiver. “He maximizes opportunities.”
Even when Ben Roethlisberger doesn’t throw much. He finished the game 14 of 20 for 221 yards with three TDs.
Brown took full advantage of his chances by scoring on three of his five catches and finishing with 91 yards, two short of joining Hines Ward as the only players in franchise history with four straight 1,000-yard seasons.
Brown has 23 receptions for 342 yards and seven TDs in three career games against the Colts (5-6).
Those weren’t the most interesting numbers to the Steelers (6-5), though. They helped their playoff chances with a second straight win and snapped a four-game losing streak on Thanksgiving, a stretch that began with a loss at Detroit in 1983.
Luck sat out with a concussion, and Indy’s first winning streak of the season ended at two games.
Pittsburgh built a 21-7 lead by scoring touchdowns on each of their first three possessions — a 5-yard TD run from Le’Veon Bell, and touchdown catches by Brown of 25 and 33 yards.
Bell ran 23 times for 120 yards.
IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5