Lions 14-3-3-0 — 20
Cowboys 0-7-7-10 — 24
It wasn’t easy, but the Dallas Cowboys defeated the Detroit Lions 24-20 to earn the right to head to Lambeau Field next week to take on the Green Bay Packers in a situation that could mirror the famous Ice Bowl Game.
Tony Romo still needs three more wins to officially shake the “playoff choker” label, but for now, his 2nd playoff win is nice. Romo finished the game 19-for-31 for 293 yards and two touchdowns. It took Dallas about 20 minutes to get going on offense, but once the game settled, they were able to erase the Lions’ 14-0 lead and make it a 10-point game at halftime.
The Lions’ defensive front-seven held the Cowboys running game in check for most of the way. DeMarco Murray only tallied 75 yards on 19 carries, but scored a key 3rd-quarter touchdown on a 4th-down gamble that paid off for Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett. Although it was a valiant effort, Detroit fell short, and now questions will be asked about Ndamukong suh’s long-term future in Detroit — he’s an unrestricted free agent this upcoming offseason.
Click here for the full box score and read on for a recap.
Dallas Took its 1st Lead of the Game Late in the 4th Quarter
Almost 58 minutes of game had passed before the Cowboys jumped ahead on the scoreboard.
With just over eight minutes remaining in the 4th quarter, the Cowboys offense went to work, and put together an 11-play, 59-yard drive in 5:38, capped off by Romo’s 2nd TD pass of the game to Williams (eight yards). Dallas led Detroit 24-20 with 2:32 remaining in the 4th quarter.
Dallas Gambled on 4th-and-goal Inside the 1-Yard Line and Succeeded
DeMarco Murray continued his regular season success and after being stuffed on a 3rd-down try, found the endzone on 4th-down to cut Detroit’s lead again to 20-14 with 2:54 remaining in the 3rd quarter.
Dan Bailey’s Missed Field Goal Changed the Game’s Momentum
Just when the Cowboys looked like they we’re going to make it a 17-14 game, Romo was sacked on 3rd down. The “most accurate kicker in NFL history” Dan Bailey came on to attempt a 41-yard field goal. Of course, he missed. Of course.
A Crucial, Momentum-Changing Play Helped Revive the Cowboys Close to Halftime
— NFL (@nfl) January 4, 2015
The Cowboys offense was stagnant throughout the entire 1st-half. The Lions’ defensive line was pressuring and getting to Romo and forcing him into quicker throws.
On the 1st play inside the 2-minute warning, Romo connected on a 76-yard touchdown pass to Terrance Williams — who largely had a disappointing 2014 season despite the Cowboys success. The hook-up gave Dallas life, and cut Detroit’s lead in half to 14-7.
Detroit Continued to Take it Right to Dallas Early
The Lions’ offense found the endzone for the 2nd time in the 1st quarter. Running back Reggie Bush capped off a 14-play, 99-yard drive that lasted over seven minutes with an 18-yard touchdown run to give the Lions a 14-0 lead.
Lions Opened Up the Game’s Scoring 4 Minutes into the 1st Quarter
After the Cowboys received the opening kickoff and went three-and-out.
The Lions’ Golden Tate received the punt and was the guinea pig for one of those old school NFL “jacked up” type of open-field hits. It didn’t matter because Tate bounced back and four plays later, received a pass from Matthew Stafford that went 51 yards through the air for a Lions touchdown that gave Detroit an early 7-0 lead.
On the play, Cowboys safety Orlando Scandrick slipped, which gave Tate a free run across the field into the endzone.
>h2>Tony Romo Looks to Shed the Playoff Choker Label in 2015
The 12-4 Dallas Cowboys won their 1st NFC East division title since 2009-10, earned the NFC’s No. 3 seed, and in the final game of Wild Card weekend, will host the 11-5 Detroit Lions who enter as the NFC’s No. 6 seed and 2nd Wild Card team.
The Cowboys are 4-4 at home this season, which could have politely gone with their mediocre 8-8 joke had they finished with that record again this season. The Lions have had road game and playoff struggles since the 1950s — only winning two playoff games in that time frame — and their starting quarterback, Matthew Stafford, is 0-16 on the road against teams with winning records in his NFL career.
Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh was originally suspended for this game, but appealed the suspension, which was later overturned during the week. Suh and the rest of the Lions’ defensive line will have to come up big in stopping DeMarco Murray, the franchise’s all-time single season rushing yards leader.
Click here for Heavy’s preview and prediction for this game, and keep it here for live updates throughout the game.