Cowboys Lose to Lions, 34-30 in the Greatest Collapse in Dallas History


After being up by 24 points early in the 3rd quarter, the Dallas Cowboys lose to the Detroit Lions in a shocker on Sunday, 34-30. The Lions scored 17 unanswered points in the 4th  quarter to pull out the miracle win. For the Cowboys, it is the greatest lead ever lost by any Dallas team in franchise history.

The Lions started the game with a 19 yard run by RB Jahvid Best. But the Dallas defense made their presence felt early when safety Gerald Sensabaugh intercepted the Lion’s QB Matthew Stafford on a pass intended for WR Calvin Johnson.

As the Dallas offense took over, they started with a nice screen play to TE Martellus Bennett for a big gain. That lead to a 25 yard touchdown pass from QB Tony Romo to WR Dez Bryant along the right sideline. Bryant used his height advantage and simply reached out to grab the ball without much interference from the smaller DB. Dallas took the early lead, 7-0.

After the Lion’s offense went three and out on their next possession, the Cowboys would take the ball all the way down to Detroit’s one yard line after a great 3rd and 10 conversion play on a 13 yard  catch by WR Laurent Robinson. But the Cowboys were unable to convert the 4th down and goal play as Felix Jones was stuffed by the Lion’s defense at the goal-line.

Detroit’s offense then took over with the ball on their own one yard line just before the start of the second quarter. After more great Dallas defensive plays, the Cowboys offense would get the ball back in good field position. That position was made better by a 19 yard run by RB Felix Jones. That led to a big 44 yard pass play from Romo to Robinson that ended on the Lion’s 6-yard line. On the very next play, Romo hit Bryant for his second touchdown of the day. This time Bryant boxed out the smaller defender and twisted his way into the endzone. Dallas builds on their lead, 14-0.

It was a rough homecoming early on for Stafford who was constantly pressured in the first half. After more great Dallas defensive plays, the Cowboy offense was able to get a 41 yard field goal from kicker Dan Bailey. A big 3rd down conversation catch by TE Jason Witten help to set that score up. Dallas’ lead is now 17-0.

But the Detroit offense could not be held scoreless the entire first half. After getting the ball back, Stafford was able to hit Best by  flipping him the ball during a broken play. The 24 yard gain put Detroit into the Dallas redzone for the first time..and they took advantage of it. Veteran kicker Jason Hanson would hit a 33 yard field goal to make the score 17-3, Dallas.

Just before halftime, key catches by Robinson and Witten, and a 14-yard run by RB Tashard Choice led to a 35 yard Bailey field goal. Dallas would take the lead into the second half, 20-3.

The Dallas offense started the second half with the ball. A 15-yard catch by Robinson and a fake reverse pass to WR Kevin Ogletree got  the ball down to the Detroit one yard line. Learning the lesson from the first half, Romo opted to go to Witten in the back of the endzone for the touchdown. Dallas has it’s biggest lead of the day, 27-3. The Cowboys scored on five of their first seven possessions at that point.

But a game changing moment came on the next series. Safety Gerald Sensabaugh was injured by his own teammate, Anthony Spencer, on accident. Sensabaugh did not return to the game and was later diagnosed with a concussion. S Barry Church came into replace him.

After a great pass deflection by CB Mike Jenkins on Calvin Johnson, the Dallas offense took over and began what would become the greatest collapse in franchise history.

Former Cowboy first round pick and now a Lion, LB Bobby Carpenter intercepted Romo and returned the ball 34 yards for a touchdown making the score, 27-10. Another interception near the end of the 3rd quarter by CB Chris Houston was also returned 56 yards for a defensive touchdown. Now the score was 27-17, Dallas.

The Dallas offense was in a tail-spin until a defensive penalty was called on DT Ndamukong Suh for an illegal blow to Tony Romo’s head. That led to a 22 yard Bailey Field goal. Dallas is still up, 30-17.

But a well rested Stafford, who didn’t play for almost 35 minutes straight, came out firing at the start of the 4th quarter. He went 4-4 on the drive which ended in a beautiful leaping catch by Calvin Johnson for the touchdown. Johnson out-jumped three Cowboy defenders for the ball. One of those defenders was Church, the player who replaced the injured Sensabaugh. The score now, Dallas 30, Detroit 24.

After the Dallas offense went three and out and the Detroit offense was stopped by our defense, a great punt and a holding penalty by CB Alan Ball landed the Cowboys on their own 2-1/2 yard line midway in the 4th quarter. Unfortunately, the terrible field position hurt the Cowboys as they ended up going three and out again.

Detroit would take over inside Dallas territory down six points. After they committed four penalties, the Lions had to settle for a 51 yard field goal by Hanson. The score became 30-27, Dallas barely holding on to the lead.

On the Cowboys’ next possession, Romo would lob the ball down the middle of the field toward Witten only to have it intercepted by LB Stephen Tulloch. The Detroit offense would now take over on Dallas’ 40-yard line.

With 2:00 to play in the game, Detroit had advanced the ball to the Dallas 4-yard line. As the Dallas defense attempted to hold the Lions to a field goal, CB Frank Walker committed a holding penalty on TE Brandon Pettigrew. This gave the Lions an automatic first down and the ball at the 1-yard line. Stafford would then hit Johnson again with another lob in the endzone, this time on CB Terence Newman. Johnson leads the league in TD receptions with 8. And Detroit took the lead in the game for the first time, 34-30.

Dallas would get the ball back with 1:39 left in the game and no timeouts. After three straight completions to Witten, the Cowboys had the ball at mid-field. But dropped passes by Jones and Robinson hindered their advancement down field. Then a Romo sack all but killed the drive. The final nail in the coffin was a bonehead play by Felix Jones. Jones caught pass and broke a tackle. Wanting to conserve time, Jones stepped out of bounds in front of the first down marker. He didn’t realize it was fourth down. Cowboys would turn the ball over on downs to end the game. An appropriate ending to what might be the worst debacle in Cowboys’ history.

Romo’s numbers were 34 of 47 for 331 yards, 3 TDs and 3 Ints. Laurent Robinson turned in a career day with 7 receptions for 116 yards. the ever reliable Jason Witten had 8 catches for 94 yards and 1TD. Dez Bryant disappeared early again, but he did have 3 receptions for 37 yards and 2TDs. Felix Jones had 57 yards rushing.

Stafford’s numbers were 21 of 43 for 240 yards, 2TDs and 1Int. Calvin Johnson turned in a heck of a day considering he was shutout for most of the first half. He finished with 8 receptions for 96 yards and 2TDs.

Dallas now heads to the bye-week 2-2 for some much needed rest. To think that the Cowboys should be 4-0 right now is kind of exciting. Well, as exciting as it can be after a loss like this. Let’s hope Dallas figures out how not to choke during their week off.

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