Wow, what a game that was. An amazing game to say the least. Balancing on the edge of unbelievable and deceiving your eyes. A team from 24 down in the 3rd quarter, rallies back to win the game by 4 points.
Boy was it a tough game to watch for a Lions fan, and then eventually for a Cowboys fan. Blowing the lead in the 4th quarter when it seemed inevitable that the Cowboys would win. Throwing two pick6’s in back to back drives to cut the lead to 10. Letting a WR catch a TD pass in triple coverage. Throwing yet another interception when the game seemed all but wrapped up. Allowing the opposition to march back down the field and score. This was the tail for the Cowboys in the second half of Sundays game. Mistake, after mistake, after mistake. Nothing was clicking for them. Which was the polar opposite for the Lions. Horrible 1st half, great 2nd half.
Coming into this game, I knew it’d be tough. A team on the road, a long distance from their home and coming off a hard fought win, the Lions looked like a tired, unmotivated team early on. Matthew Stafford missed last years contest, and it showed early as he was constantly missing throws or they were just out of reach of the intended receiver. Stafford is a Texas boy, so it’s understandable that he was very, very excited for this game and was overhyped. He was missing easy throws and generally looking poor, which included an interception on the Lions opening drive.
Looking at the first half, it was a tale of two teams. The Cowboys were gliding down the field and constantly converting on those drives, putting up 20 points. The Lions, like in week 3, couldn’t get anything going and could only muster 3 points. Which is 3 points better than last week, but a horrible effort all the same. A lot lead to this horrible first half, but the main reasoning was poor DB play. Dez Bryant beat both Chris Houston & Eric Wright for TD’s which could have easily been avoided if they were better positioned. One of my key points in the preview that I wrote last week focused on the DB’s and that they hadn’t been tested by this skilled of a QB yet. My prediction came true, as Romo’s final line had him passing for an impressive 377 yards. The Lions had problems in the secondary, though, with Amari Spievey having to leave the game because of a hamstring injury and then Erik Coleman going down to an ankle injury. However the vast majority of Romo’s yards came in the 1st half. The run game was pretty unimportant for both teams, so I think I’ll skip over that one.
Onto the second half. Now, I’ll be honest, I didn’t have much hope, but I knew it was a possibility. Hell, they just beat up on the Lions for 20 in the first half, why couldn’t the Lions do the same? Well, it then became 27-3 and a bit more hope was gone. But! I’ve seen this team play 3 teams prior and definitely knew their capabilities. I wasn’t sure that 24 points was within them, but I never counted that possibility out. As I was watching this game, I knew that the thing the Lions needed most was an interception. And maybe it was the 5th least likely guy to do it (the 4 D-Linemen being the first 4), but he did it all the same. Bobby freakin’ Carpenter! Who, you ask? Well, ironically, he was Tony Romo’s best man at his wedding and also the OLB back-up player for the Lions, who was filling in for Justin Durant. And even though Joe (worst commentator in the world) Buck wasn’t excited, I sure as hell was. But wait, there’s more! On the following drive, Romo throws yet another interception to Chris Houston, who was having a rough day, who grabbed it with one hand and took it back to the house. And again, as Buck was wishing he was somewhere else, speaking as if it was a golf tournament, I was freaking out with excitement! Are you kidding me?! excitement. Back to back pick6’s? Is this real life? The Lions were on a roll, holding the Cowboys to a field goal the following drive. Their finals points for the game.
As the Lions came out for that next drive, you could tell they had the momentum and were fired up, with Stafford connecting with Pettigrew for a 22 yard gain, just before the 3rd quarter ended.
And then…the play of the game. In TRIPLE, yes, TRIPLE coverage, the best WR in the league (Sorry Cris Carter, truth hurts) hauls in a precise throw over Calvin’s head where only he can catch it and brings it down for the TD. This play was amazing all-round, and even for Lions fans who’ve seen Calvin make these plays before, this was just an amazing, amazing play. It was also the point at which the game turned for me. When Cowboys heads dropped and Lions heads rose and were held high with passion and belief. Hanson then proceeded to add another 3 points to shorten the gap to 3, before Romo threw his 3rd INT of the game to Stephen Tulloch.
With the ball in hand, down by 3 and 4:13 to go in the game, the Lions were able to go down the field, before Stafford threw the ball up to Calvin, in 1-on-1 coverage, on a fade and he jumped up and caught it, giving the Lions a 4 point lead with the follow-up PAT. Yet another stellar play by Calvin, who out-jumped Newman with ease to reel it in for the go-ahead score.
But the game wasn’t over yet. With 1:39 left, the Cowboys still had a chance to win it. But then the clinching play. Willing Young, the 3rd DE on the depth chart, came off the edge, pushed Tyron Smith right on his behind and tackled Romo for a sack of 10 yards. The Cowboys were without timeouts and were facing a 3rd and 20. Romo threw the pass to Laurent Robinson, who’d really stepped up for them with the absence of Miles Austin in this game, but Robinson dropped it cold, leaving the Cowboys with a 4th & 20. Probably the weirdest and stupidest play you’ll see was on the 4th & 20 play, where the Cowboys had their WR’s set up for a Hail Mary, yet Romo checks down to Felix Jones who spins out of a tackle and then just unknowingly steps out of bounds. It was weird all-around as Joe Buck thought it was 3rd down, Romo thought it was 3rd down and even one of the Cowboys announcers thought it was 3rd down. I’m not entirely sure how that all came about, but it did, all the same. Before Stafford and the Lions formation took the victory formation and won the game.