Sunday, October 2, 2011
Rapid Reaction: Lions 34, Cowboys 30
By Kevin Seifert
ARLINGTON, Texas -- A few thoughts on the Detroit Lions’ latest stunning victory, a 34-30 win over the Cowboys:
What it means: What should we call the Lions? Maybe they’re the NFC North’s Kardiac Kitties. Last week, they made up a 20-0 halftime deficit against the Minnesota Vikings. Sunday, they trailed the Cowboys 27-3 with 12 minutes, 27 seconds remaining in the third quarter and came back for the win. They’re 4-0 for the first time since 1980, on an eight-game regular-season winning streak for the first time since 1953-54 and one of two undefeated teams in the NFL pending the Green Bay Packers’ late result against the Denver Broncos.
MegatronWatch: Receiver Calvin Johnson’s leaping 1-yard touchdown catch won the game for the Lions with 1 minute, 39 seconds remaining. Johnson has two receiving touchdowns in each of the Lions’ first four games, an NFL record for consecutive multi-touchdown games by a receiver. His 23-yard scoring reception in the third quarter came in between three defenders. Can we please, please stop all of this silly talk about where Johnson belongs in the NFL hierarchy of receivers? Pretty please?
Defensive spark: The Cowboys gashed the Lions' defense for most of this game, but three huge interceptions were the equalizer. Linebacker Bobby Carpenter and cornerback Chris Houston each returned their interceptions for touchdowns in the third quarter, and linebacker Stephen Tulloch tipped a pass to himself late in the fourth quarter when Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo was inexplicably throwing with a lead. Tulloch’s play set up the Lions’ winning possession. Yardage doesn’t count when you have players who can make up the difference like that.
Injury report: The Lions played much of the second half without safety Amari Spievey, who had a leg injury.
Stafford Watch: Quarterback Matthew Stafford managed only 88 yards in the first half, clearly unsettled, possibly because he was playing in his hometown. But he was cool during the Lions' comeback and capitalized repeatedly when the Cowboys put Johnson in single coverage. Unofficially, Stafford threw for 158 yards after halftime.
What’s next: The Lions will host the Chicago Bears on "Monday Night Football." They last played at night on Dec. 11, 2005, a 16-13 overtime loss to the Green Bay Packers. Their last Monday night game was in 2001, and their last victory on Monday night was in 1998.