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The Dallas Cowboys survived three attempts at a late two-point conversion as they held on to beat the Detroit Lions 20-19 in a chaotic and controversial climax on Saturday night.

The NFC North champion Lions had moved within a point of the Cowboys when Jared Goff found Amon-Ra St Brown for a touchdown pass with 23 seconds left in the fourth quarter.

Opting for a two-point conversion, the Lions’ first try consisted of Goff completing a pass to lineman Taylor Decker, only for the offensive tackle to be ruled an ineligible receiver, despite video evidence appearing to show him checking in with a referee before the unsuccessful attempt. The ‘illegal touching’ call enraged Lions head coach Dan Campbell on the sideline.

The Lions then went for two 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 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. 

Cowboys’ win over the Lions marred by late chaos after Detroit is denied two-point conversion by controversial ‘illegal touching’ call vs. Taylor Decker that enraged coach Dan Campbell

Lions head coach Dan Campbell argues with refs’ after a controversial ‘illegal touching’ call

‘I don’t want to talk about it. I explain everything pre-game, to a T. I did that. No 70  (Dan Skipper) reported, No 68 (Decker) didn’t, we threw it to 68, that was the explanation,’ Campbell said after the game.

‘I told the offense: we were going down, 1:41 left, we were going to score and then go for two and finish this game. I told them that. So that’s what we were doing.’

Decker was more tightlipped than his head coach after Saturday’s game in Dallas, though he told reporters that he ‘went to the ref, said report and I don’t know.’

‘So I did what I was told to do, we did it how we did it in practice all week and that’s probably all I’m going to touch on with that,’ he further said, adding that he was told by his quarterback to go: ‘Yeah. I mean, there’s not much more I can add…you can see the video evidence.’

Goff was just as baffled as Decker after Detroit snapped its two-game streak at the hands of the Cowboys.

‘Pretty confused,’ he said. ‘What I do know, and I don’t know if I’ll get fined for this. But I do know that Decker reported. I do know that Dan Skipper did not. And I do know that they said that Dan Skipper did.’ 

Lions QB Jared Goff, L, talks with OT Taylor Decker before running a two-point conversion play

Lions QB Jared Goff, L, talks with OT Taylor Decker before running a two-point conversion play

Later on Saturday night, however, referee Brad Allen stuck to his guns, claiming: ‘On this particular play, No 70, who had reported during the game a couple of times, reported to me as eligible. Then he lined up at the tackle position. So, actually, he didn’t have to report at all. 

‘No 68, who ended up going downfield and touching the pass, did not report. Therefore, he is an ineligible touching a pass that goes beyond the line, which makes it a foul. So, the issue is, No 70 did report; No 68 did not.’ 

Cowboys QB Dak Prescott threw for 345 yards and two touchdowns, including a 92-yard effort to CeeDee Lamb, who had a career-high 227 yards receiving, in the first quarter.

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. 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.

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

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