Sunday, November 21, 2010
Rapid Reaction: Cowboys 35, Lions 19
By Calvin Watkins
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The key with any NFL team is to feel good about itself on a weekly basis and the Cowboys are doing that. A 35-19 victory over the Detroit Lions at Cowboys Stadium gave the home team its first win in their $1.2 billion palace this season and its first win streak of the year.
What it means: The Lions extended their road losing streak to 26 games. Detroit (2-8) is in the middle of a three-game losing streak. The Cowboys, meanwhile, have won their second consecutive game, the first time this season, and are 3-7 heading into a short week before taking on New Orleans on Thanksgiving Day.
McCann makes a big play: The game changed in the third quarter on a punt return by the secondary guy on the return. After Dez Bryant allowed a punt to bounce free inside the 5, Lions safety John Wendling knocked the ball from landing into the end zone for a touchback. But rookie Bryan McCann grabbed the ball and returned it 97 yards for a touchdown. It gave the Cowboys a 14-12 lead and changed the momentum. On the season, the Cowboys have returned three punt returns for touchdowns.
Jones gets hurt, comes back: Felix Jones injured his right hip in the second half. He left the game for X-rays, and they were negative. Jones returned to the game and finished with 11 carries for 51 yards. Jones had a slight limp as he walked off the field late in the fourth quarter.
Cowboys defense plays well: The Cowboys are not a bunch of blitzing fools anymore. Under Wade Phillips they were. Now with Paul Pasqualoni as the defensive coordinator, the Cowboys play more zone in the secondary and try to force turnovers in other ways. Sean Lee forced a fumble that was recovered by Jason Hatcher. There were three sacks on the day, and a Terence Newman interception with 2:33 to play ended any serious threat by the Lions.
Kitna with a strong day: There were many plays on Sunday that were highlights, but Jon Kitna's 29-yard touchdown run, a fake handoff to Marion Barber then a sprint down the Lions' sideline, was the best. Kitna finished the day with three touchdown passes on 18-of-24 passing for 147 yards. While it appears Tony Romo is coming back at some point in December, Kitna is giving the Cowboys some comfort.
Barber draws horse collars: The Cowboys' starting running back finished with 36 yards on 13 carries in the victory. But it was Barber's hair that caused one penalty against the Lions. Barber was yanked by the hair by Lions rookie defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, drawing a horse collar penalty. You can grab a player by the hair and it's not a penalty. But Barber was pulled down again by Julian Peterson for another horse collar penalty.
What's next: Thanksgiving Day and a rematch with the New Orleans Saints for the Cowboys. Last year, the Cowboys went to the Superdome and knocked off the then-undefeated Saints in December. Now, the Saints, who by the way are the defending Super Bowl champs, will try to get revenge.