Last week, the Lions suffered a close loss at the hands of the Cincinnati Bengals, in part due to a couple of special teams miscues. This week, Detroit had another home game, this time against the Dallas Cowboys. A win would make them 5-3 at the halfway point. That would be big for them. Would it happen?
The Lions struck first. Matthew Stafford hit Calvin Johnson for a big 87-yard game. However, they were unable to get the ball in the end zone after three plays. So, they went for it on third down, and then Stafford and Johnson connected again. A bold move by Jim Schwartz, which fortunately worked out.
In the second quarter, Detroit was driving, and then a Stafford pass hit Johnson, but it bounced off him into Sean Lee’s hands. Disappointing, but somewhat fluky. This didn’t lead to any Dallas points at least. The Cowboys did eventually score, however, thanks to a long field goals. Kickers just be making all their 50-yard field goals against the Lions. Then, as the Lions were driving again, and got deep into Dallas’ side of the field, Stafford threw a terrible interception, once again to Sean Lee, which almost turned into a pick six. The Lions managed to tackle Lee, but then Romo hit Dez Bryant for a touchdown. The game was 10-7 in favor of Dallas, thanks in part to Detroit’s two turnovers.
In the third, the Lions were driving once more and, well, you can probably guess what happened. Reggie Bush fumbled the ball, and the Cowboys recovered it. Detroit kept them from scoring, but then on the Lions next drive, once again in Cowboys territory, Johnson fumbled this time, and Dallas recovered it again. That’s four turnovers by Detroit. That, to say the least, is disappointing. This time, the Cowboys kicked a field goal to make it 13-7.
Things then got wacky in the fourth quarter, if it hadn’t been wacky so far. The Lions drove deep into the red zone, but they settled for a 20-yard field goal to make it 13-10. Then, a couple minutes later, Romo hit Terrence Williams for a 60-yard score. Detroit cut into the lead again, this time scoring from close range with a 1-yard Joique Bell plunge. So, Dallas responded with a 50-yard throw from Romo to Bryant. In turn, Bush found the end zone from 1-yard out. It was now 27-24.
The Lions had the chance to score late, but they couldn’t, and they turned the ball over on downs. Detroit managed to keep Dallas from driving the ball, by burning their time outs, and they kicked a field goal to make it 30-24. There was a 1:02 left, and Detroit had no time outs. They got the ball at the 20-yard line. Stafford hit Kris Durham for a big gain. Then, he hit Megatron and got the ball down to the 1-yard line. Stafford was signaling to spike the ball, but then Stafford decided to go over the top, and he got the touchdown. The Lions kicked the extra point, and they won the game 31-30.
This is, truly, one of the most bizarre, ridiculous wins in Detroit history, and in football history. The Lions had a minus-4 turnover ratio. Yet, they still won. This is, literally, the second time this has ever happened. I believe the record is now 2-55. Detroit gained 623 yards. Dallas only had 268 yards. It was a wild game, to say the least.
Stafford had a huge game. He went 33-for-48 for 488 yards, one touchdown, and two picks, plus the running score. Johnson had one of the biggest games in NFL history. He caught 14 passes for 329 yards. 329! That’s the second most in league history. That’s a good day passing the ball for a quarterback. Hey, Megatron is very good. Bush finished with 92 yards rushing on 21 carries, and he had eight receptions for 30 yards. I was kind of surprised to see these finals numbers, because all I remember is Bush getting tackled for big losses.
Sure, you can probably say the Lions were a bit fortunate to win this game, what with the turnovers. Yes, the Cowboys were without DeMarco Murray, DeMarcus Ware, and Miles Austin, Still, victory is victory. The Lions are now 5-3. This was a huge win. Yes, in the abstract sense, each game is worth the same amount. One game is one game, one win is one win. However, contextually, this was a big win. The team had already played seven games, and those results were locked in. They were playing a fellow NFC team. A loss would have dropped them to 4-4. They could overcome that, but it would be more difficult than making the playoffs from a 5-3 standpoint.
We saw one of the most surprising, most exciting wins in Lions history this week. We saw a team do something that happens so rarely. We saw one of the best receiving games of all time. So, you know, it was a good weekend for Detroit.