HOW ‘BOUT THEM COWBOYS?! Jimmy Johnson must’ve been proud on this day. Two wins in a row for the first time all year is cause for celebration, even if it was against the Lions. Plus it was the first home win of the season. Excellent.
Both teams were 2-7 heading into this heavyweight tilt, which ended in a 35-19 Cowboys victory. The Lions were predictably bad, and Dallas…well, you know it by now. Jon Kitna and Roy Williams had the opportunity to hook up against their former team, but it didn’t mean much since Williams only caught two passes for 20 yards. Kitna played pretty well, though (more on that in a moment).
This game was pretty close throughout, as Dallas held a 7-3 lead late in the first half before a Felix Jones fumble inside the team’s own 20-yard line allowed Detroit to get a late touchdown and grab the lead at 10-7. A third quarter safety as the result of a holding penalty on Leonard Davis in the endzone extended that lead to 12-7.
Just a couple of minutes later, following the free kick and a defensive stand, the tide turned back in Dallas’ favor. Remember Bryan McCann, the rookie who had the 101 yard interception return the previous week versus the Giants? Well, he was at it again in this one. The Lions were close to midfield and lined up to punt it back to the Cowboys. The ball bounced inside the five-yard line after Dez Bryant waived everyone off, as he expected the ball to go into the endzone. Instead, a Lions defender tipped the ball in an attempt to keep it in the field of play and pin Dallas back on its own goal line. In an alert move, especially for a rookie, McCann just happened to be in the right spot to pick up the ball off a bounce, and he quickly returned it 97 yards for a touchdown. Not only did the Cowboys have the lead again, but just as importantly, they had momentum.
The Lions turned it over on their next possession, which led to another touchdown, a Kitna to Miles Austin hookup, and a 21-12 advantage for the home team. Calvin Johnson closed out the third quarter scoring with a touchdown grab. The score was 21-19. Dallas then used an almost eight minute, 16 play drive over two quarters to extend the lead to 28-19 on another Austin touchdown catch. Kitna, not known for being the swiftest player in the league, even rushed for a 29 score to effectively put this one away.
All told, Kitna had four touchdowns, three of them passing, and no turnovers. In fact, the Jones fumble was the only mistake in this department for Dallas. Miles Austin had just two catches for seven yards, but both were touchdowns. Bryant didn’t do much more, catching three passes for eight yards, but he did score a touchdown on a tough grab in the endzone, again showing his worth to this team as a first year player. And what more can you say about McCann? The guy wasn’t drafted, and had done basically nothing prior to this game and the one prior, but he showed that he just may have a knack for making big plays at key moments. It’s not very often a guy makes two plays of over 95 yards in the same season, let alone consecutive weeks and in different ways.
The only thing to really gripe about was the fact that the offense was sluggish, only gaining 265 yards against the 21st ranked defense in the NFL. However, they made the most of their opportunities, including converting a turnover into a touchdown and making a big special teams play. Other than that, Dallas was better pretty much all around. They even out-rushed the Lions 134-75, which is something for a team that has really had a time trying to run the ball. All in all, it was a good day in Big D.
Record to this point: 3-7