Lions bring 3-pronged receiving attack to Dallas
As the Dallas Cowboys’ sputtering offense waits for a No. 1 wide receiver to emerge, the Detroit Lions are humming along with a three-way tie atop their wideout depth chart.
Strong starts by Golden Tate, Marvin Jones Jr. and Kenny Golladay give Dallas native Matthew Stafford confidence Sunday as he leads the Lions (1-2) against his hometown Cowboys (1-2) at AT&T Stadium.
“In my mind, we just have three No. 1 receivers. Pick your poison,” Tate said. “I think we’ve all started off pretty hot. It’s a good problem to have, having three dominant receivers.”
Following a big win against the New England Patriots on Sunday night, Tate leads the Lions with 20 catches for 257 yards — exactly one catch and 1 yard more than Golladay. Jones leads the club in yards per reception (14.8).
They are the only wide receiver trio in the NFL to each register 50-plus yards in all of their team’s first three games this season. Golladay and Tate each caught at least six passes in all three contests, while Jones’ streak of 10 games with 50-plus yards is the NFL’s third-longest active run.
“We go into the week saying that they’re going to double someone, probably, and that leaves someone else room to eat,” Golladay said.
The Cowboys, meanwhile, have been starved for offense while trying to replace the departed Dez Bryant and the retired Jason Witten. Cole Beasley leads the team with 12 catches for 132 yards. Dallas’ 41 total points are its fewest through three games since Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith’s rookie season in 1990.
Even though Dallas ranks 31st in scoring in 30th in total offense, head coach Jason Garrett is standing pat.
“I don’t think there will be any dramatic personnel changes,” Garrett said Wednesday, confirming that offensive coordinator Scott Linehan will continue calling plays. “We’ve just got to get back and get locked in and start finding ways to move the ball, be efficient and productive offensively.”
If history counts for anything, facing the Lions should help. Dallas has scored at least 28 points in eight of its past nine regular-season games against Detroit, averaging 31.7 points in that span (2003-16).
Stafford takes on a Dallas defense that ranks fourth in the NFL against the pass (182.7 yards per game) after facing Cam Newton, Eli Manning and Russell Wilson so far in September. Cowboys cornerback Byron Jones is the top-graded cornerback in the league by Pro Football Focus heading into Week 4.
The Cowboys won’t be at full strength on D without linebacker Sean Lee (hamstring) and defensive tackle Maliek Collins (knee).
For the Lions on Thursday, defensive end Ezekiel Ansah (shoulder) and tight end Michael Roberts (knee) did not practice, and offensive linemen Andrew Donnal (knee), Frank Ragnow (knee) and T.J. Lang (back) were limited. Ansah hasn’t played since the opener.
–Field Level Media
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