"He's just around the football a lot," coach Jason Garrett said. "He's a very instinctive guy. He studies so hard, but I just think he has a feel and a nose for the football. He's always around it, he's always making tackles."
Lee flattened Matt Flynn on a delayed blitz for a sack fumble in his first game back from a toe injury that sidelined him for the final 10 games a year ago.
The Cowboys are counting on Lee's return to help a revamped defense under new coordinator Monte Kiffin rebound from a disappointing end to the 2012 season.
Kiffin switched Dallas from a three-man front to a four-man line with star pass rusher DeMarcus Ware moving from stand-up linebacker to rush end. Ware's presence helped lead to Lee's big play.
"I came on a blitz, came free and I saw the quarterback and was able to get a good hit on him," Lee said.
"That's nice, not playing for a while and having a nice free hit on the quarterback. With DeMarcus he's a guy you can stick him in on that and he kind of takes a couples guys with him. So it was nice to come free and get a hit like that."
It was a rough night for Dallas' special teams as the Cowboys had a field goal blocked and allowed a 51-yard kickoff return.
"Those are plays that are going to hurt you," Garrett said. "Those aren't winning football plays. We got to make sure we correct that."
Tony Romo, who sat out last week against Miami after offseason surgery to remove a cyst from his back, completed 6 of 8 passes for 88 yards in his first two series of the preseason.
Romo completed 5 of 6 passes for 77 yards before Bailey's field goal attempt was blocked by Tyvon Branch.
Flynn's night was over after going 4 for 5 for 37 yards.
"We're making strides," Flynn said. "We still have a lot of work to do. I think that timing, that trust factor is coming. There are definitely things we need to clean up. My job is to get the ball in the hands of the playmakers."
Pryor came in and mixed in some electrifying plays with questionable ones. Pryor ran 13 yards on a read option on his first play, delighting the fans who have been partial to the former Ohio State star since he joined the Raiders in the supplemental draft two years ago.
But those promising plays were erased when he rolled out on third-and-4 from the 6 and threw late across his body when he had room to run and was intercepted by Wilcox in the end zone.
"It was just me being greedy," Pryor said. "I looked at the pictures and I could have ran it easy. That was just me being greedy."
Pryor bounced back after Orton completed all six passes on an 80-yard touchdown drive and completed three passes for 54 yards in the final minute to set up a field goal by Janikowski.
Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press