Upon Final Review: The Dallas Cowboys Survive (Barely) and Advance

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Jan 4, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Terrance Williams (83) celebrates a touchdown catch thrown by Tony Romo (not pictured ) past Detroit Lions strong safety James Ihedigbo (32) during the fourth quarter in the NFC Wild Card Playoff Game at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Now, remember Pettigrew’s 15 yard personal foul?  Well, section three, article one of the NFL rule book states the following regarding offsetting fouls:

(1) If one of the fouls is of a nature that incurs a 15-yard penalty and the other foul of a double foul normally would result in a loss of 5 yards only (15 yards versus 5 yards), the major penalty yardage is to be assessed from the previous spot.

That means that the fouls would have offset.

However Detroit would have lost 10 yards, making them have to convert a third and eleven.

If you want to believe the conspiracy theorists, then the game apparently ended after this call, even though their was still over eight minutes in the game.

The fact is that many calls were mishandled on multiple levels but no call that occurs with that much time left is the deciding factor of a game.

What truly decided this game was how the final 8:18 was played by both teams.

Detroit chose to punt on 4th & 1 from midfield instead of being aggressive.

Lions punter Sam Martin proceeded to deliver one of the worst punts in NFL history.

The Lions defense could not get a stop when it mattered most and when the Lions did get the ball back with a chance to win, they allowed two different sack/fumbles, the latter of which ended their season.

Meanwhile, the Cowboys earned as many first downs on their final drive (four) as the did in the entire first half.

Head coach Jason Garrett rolled the dice for a second time on a fourth down and for the second time, gambled correctly.

Quarterback Tony Romo delivered the game winning touchdown and the defense finished the job.

Both teams deserve credit for the way the played the game but one team deserves the right to advance and that team is the Dallas Cowboys.

Without question, the Cowboys will need to play a much better game if they want to make their first appearance in a NFC Championship game since 1995.

Thanks to some late game heroics, that opportunity belongs to them next Sunday.