Final Score: Detroit 34, Dallas 30
Arlington, TX (Sports Network) - For a second straight week, the Detroit Lions
made an epic rally, this time finishing a happy homecoming for quarterback
It also resulted in the largest collapse in the history of the Cowboys.
Stafford threw a two-yard touchdown pass to Calvin Johnson with 1:39 remaining
in the fourth quarter, rallying Detroit from a 24-point deficit in the third
quarter for a 34-30 win over Dallas.
The Lions picked off Tony Romo three times in the second half, two resulting
in returns for touchdowns by Bobby Carpenter and Chris Houston. The last pick,
by Stephen Tulloch, led to the go-ahead score, rallying the Lions from a 27-3
The Lions (4-0), winners of eight in row going back to last season, tied their
largest come-from-behind victory. It came in similar fashion from last week,
when Detroit scored all its points after halftime, rallying from a 20-0
deficit for a 26-23 overtime win at Minnesota.
"I think we did a great job in the second half as a team," Stafford said.
"Last week the defense was getting stops and we were putting scores on the
board. This week the defense was putting scores on the board for us."
Detroit's franchise-record fifth straight road win also put the Lions 4-0 for
the first time since 1980.
Stafford, the first-overall pick in the 2009 draft who was a high school star
at Highland Park in Dallas, completed 21-of-43 passes for 240 yards with two
scores to Johnson. He was also intercepted once.
Romo ended 34-of-47 for 331 yards and three scores, but the Cowboys (2-2) gave
up 31 points in the second half.
Romo was ridiculed for what happened in the season-opener against the Jets,
when the Cowboys blew a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter and lost.
"Turnovers, it's the most important stat there is in the game," Romo said.
"You protect the ball. It's my No. 1 job. I didn't do a well enough job of
that today. For a lot of the game we did, but don't take anything away from
them. They made a play when they had to, but I shouldn't have allowed them to
have that chance."
Johnson came up with a leaping 23-yard TD pass in the end zone between safety
Barry Church and cornerback Mike Jenkins. That capped a five-play, 80-yard
drive and got the Lions within 30-24 with 13:37 remaining. Stafford completed
all four of his passes during the march for 77 yards.
The Lions killed themselves with penalties on a drive that started midway
through the last quarter, but still managed to get a Jason Hanson 51-yard
field goal with 4:22 left.
On Dallas' next play from scrimmage, Romo threw the ball to tight end Jason
Witten, but Tulloch stepped in front of the pattern and tipped the ball to
himself, giving the Lions the ball at the Cowboys' 40.
Stafford completed passes of nine and 15 yards to Johnson before Jahvid Best
ran twice for a total of 12 yards to set up a 1st-and-goal. On third down,
Stafford threw to the end zone for Brandon Pettigrew. The ball was knocked
away by cornerback Frank Walker, but he was whistled for holding. On the next
play, Stafford threw to Johnson in the right side of the end zone and he came
down with the ball in front of cornerback Terence Newman.
"We got in a hole early and had to start throwing the ball sooner than we
wanted to," Stafford said. "That's their strength is playing pass defense,
getting after the quarterback, mixing up their coverages. It took us a little
while to get settled down, but once we got moving guys had to step up and make
plays, and they did."
Romo moved the Cowboys as far as the Detroit 45, but his pass on 4th-and-20 to
Felix Jones resulted in only a seven-yard gain with four seconds left as he
inexplicably stepped out of bounds.
Laurent Robinson, replacing an injured Miles Austin, had seven catches for 116
yards for the Cowboys. Witten caught eight balls for 94 yards.
Johnson tallied eight receptions for 96 yards.
Romo's one-yard TD pass to a wide open Witten early in the third came one play
after Cowboys coach Jason Garrett lost a challenge that Kevin Ogletree scored
before being pushed out of bounds. The TD boosted Dallas to a 27-3 cushion
with 12:23 left in the quarter.
Two minutes later, Carpenter, a former Cowboy, picked off Romo, cut back to
the right and his 35-yard return gave the Lions hope, down 27-10. Carpenter
barely got into the end zone before fumbling the ball into the hands of
teammate Eric Wright.
"That play gave us the spark," Lions coach Jim Schwartz said. "It wasn't the
game-winner, it didn't turn the tide completely, but it gave us a spark and
got things going."
Dallas' next possession also ended in a pick-six. Romo forced a short pass
towards Robinson on the right side, but Houston came down with the ball and
surged down the sideline for the 56-yard score.
The Cowboys then got a reprieve on their next drive, even after a Dez Bryant
34-yard catch was overturned on a challenge because he was out of bounds. On
3rd-and-3 from the Dallas 39, Romo threw incomplete to Robinson, but Ndamukong
Suh was given a 15-yard penalty for delivering a shot to the face of Romo.
Then came a 37-yard connection to Witten, setting up Dan Bailey's 23-yard
field goal in the final minute of the quarter to set up a wild fourth.
On Detroit's fourth offensive play of the game, Stafford tried to get the ball
to Johnson on the left side of the field, but Gerald Sensabaugh stepped in
front to make the interception.
There was a question going into the game if Bryant would be active due to a
bruised quadriceps, but he paid immediate dividends following the turnover,
catching a 25-yard touchdown pass.
Detroit's defense had a big goal-line stand late in the opening quarter. The
Cowboys ate up over six minutes off the clock, but faced with a fourth down at
the one, Jones was stuffed up the middle, pinned under a pile of tacklers.
Early in the second, Robinson caught a 44-yard bomb down the middle of the
field to set up Bryant's six-yard TD catch on the left side of the field. He
caught the ball in front of Wright and fell into the end zone with 10:58 left
in the quarter.
Just over four minutes later, Bailey kicked a 41-yard field goal for a 17-0
margin before the Lions finally cracked the scoreboard when Hanson split the
uprights from 33 yards away.
Ryan Donahue's 56-yard punt sailed into the end zone for the Lions with 1:28
left until halftime, but Romo led the Cowboys into field-goal range thanks to
passes of 18 yards to Robinson, 10 to Witten and nine to Tashard Choice, who
added a 14-yard run. That set up Bailey's 35-yard field goal on the half's
Lions linebacker Justin Durant was inactive because of a concussion...Austin
missed his second straight game due to a hamstring injury...Sensabaugh left
the game due to a concussion...Johnson is the first player in NFL history
with at least two TD catches in each of his first four games of a season.
10/02 18:13:53 ET
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