Category Archives: DALLAS COWBOYS RIVAL HEADLINE

COWBOYS RIVAL HEADLINE: Aaron Rodgers listed as out for Sunday’s game vs. Dallas Cowboys | Green Bay Journal Sentinel

COWBOYS RIVAL HEADLINE - Aaron Rodgers listed as out for Sunday's game vs. Dallas Cowboys - Green Bay Journal Sentinel

Green Bay – Highlights from Mike McCarthy‘s Friday news conference …

  • (On Rodgers) Frankly it’s been a difficult morning going through conversation with Dr. McKenzie and Aaron. He feels ready to play. …He’s very disappointed. He’s frustrated. Speaking with Dr. McKenzie, this is the right decision. He was not scanned this morning — whens, ifs, buts will continue to go on . The hurdle Aaron wanted to get over, he felt he achieved it. Listening to all the facts, it’s in our best interest as a team for him not to play.
  • (On Flynn’s week) Thought Matt had his best practice today. Matt Flynn was very sharp today and he obviously took the reps.
  • (On Lacy) Ready. Looks good. All of those guys look good.
  • (On maybe letting this play out for strategy) I’m not very good at that. …Minnesota last year with Christian Ponder not playing was about as well-kept as I’ve ever seen. Had researched Joe Webb earlier.
  • (On if he was OK with decision) I’m definitely OK with it. …Aaron feels he’s ready to play. With what he did Wednesday and Thursday, he feels ready to go. It’s not easy to tell your franchise quarterback he can’t play. But this is in the best interest of Aaron Rodgers.
  • (On Starks maybe seeing reps) I have no problem giving the ball to James 20 times if that’s the way it worked out. Like our running back situation.

Courtesy: Tyler Dunne | Journal Sentinel


RELATED: Green Bay Packers official website announcement

GREEN BAY - Aaron Rodgers will not play in Dallas on Sunday - Dallas Cowboys schedule 2013 2014 - Dallas Cowboys vs. Green Bay Packers

GREEN BAY–Aaron Rodgers will not play in Dallas on Sunday.

“Aaron Rodgers is declared out for Sunday’s game. It’s been a difficult morning going through the conversation with Aaron and Dr. McKenzie. He’s very disappointed. He’s frustrated. He was not scanned this morning. He felt like he was ready to play. It’s in our best interests as a football team for Aaron not to play,” Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy said on Friday.

“I’m definitely OK with it. (Aaron) feels he’s ready to play,” McCarthy said.

More from McCarthy:

“(Rodgers) feels based on what he’s accomplished physically, what he was able to do at practice on Wednesday and Thursday, he’s ready to go. Hey, it’s not the easiest thing to sit there and tell your franchise quarterback he can’t play in the game when he wants to play in the game. This is clearly a decision that’s made in the best interests of Aaron Rodgers.”

Matt Flynn, obviously, will start his third straight game on Sunday.

“I thought Matt had his best practice today of the two weeks of preparation,” McCarthy said. “I thought Matt was very sharp today, and he obviously took all the reps.”

Other than Rodgers and DE C.J. Wilson (knee), who is also out, everyone else on the Packers’ injury report is probable. That includes RB Eddie Lacy (ankle) and inside LBs Brad Jones (ankle) and Jamari Lattimore (knee), who practiced for the first time this week on Friday.

“I felt like we got healthy as the week went on,” McCarthy said. As for the inside LB situation, which looked tenuous all week, McCarthy said, “We have different packages. We feel we’re prepared to do what we need to do.”

Based on Lacy’s limited practice work, it’s possible RB James Starks will play a larger role in the offense on Sunday, though McCarthy remains confident Lacy will be ready to go.

“I have no problem giving the ball to James 20 times if that’s the way it shakes out. I like our running back situation right now.”

Courtesy: Green Bay Packers website

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THREE LITTLE (JUICED) BEARS: Former Cowboys Joe DeCamillis, Martellus Bennett, and Jay Ratliff content being out of Hollywood atmosphere

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LAKE FOREST, Ill. — While complimentary overall of the Dallas Cowboys, three former members of the organization now with the Chicago Bears considered the atmosphere there “Hollywood” compared to their current locale.

Martellus Bennett said everything in Chicago is based on football, and there’s a different type of chemistry.
Bears special teams coach and assistant head coach Joe DeCamillis spent four years with the Cowboys (2009-12) and said “there can’t be two different spectrums.” Two more former Cowboys — Bears defensive tackle Jeremiah Ratliff and tight end Martellus Bennett — agreed as the teams prepare to face each other Monday night at Soldier Field.

Asked about the biggest difference between the Bears and Cowboys, Ratliff didn’t hesitate.

“Football, first-class organization,” he said of the Bears. “Just to put it bluntly, and it’s not a shot — if they take it like that, so be it. Here, it is all about football. You can really just focus on your craft. Focus on what it is you do. And no matter what’s going on, you never forget what you’re here for. That’s a good thing.”

A four-time Pro-Bowler, Ratliff was picked by the Dallas Cowboys in the seventh round of the 2005 draft, but he was released by the club on Oct. 13 and signed by the Bears on Nov. 2. Ratliff made his Bears debut Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings, participating in 23 snaps, and his workload will increase Monday night against his former team.

Ratliff said earlier in the week that Monday’s matchup is “just another game,” but that isn’t the case for DeCamillis.

“I’m not going to lie to you and say it’s like Ratliff and say it’s like any other game,” DeCamillis said. “Anytime you leave some place you always have a little bit more juice going back against them.”

As for the differences between the Bears and Cowboys organizations, DeCamillis said “there, it’s a lot different from the standpoint of just the things that go on. It’s a little bit more like Hollywood, and here it’s a little bit more, probably a little tamer. But they’re both great organizations, and both have had a lot of storied tradition and championships. That’s the main thing.”

A second-round pick of Dallas in 2008, Bennett spent his tenure with the Cowboys as a backup before leaving in 2011 to take a free-agent deal with the New York Giants. Coming off a breakout season in 2012, in which he caught 55 passes for 626 yards and five touchdowns, Bennett signed with the Bears in free agency.

Bennett is currently on pace to better those marks, and apparently Chicago’s atmosphere is more conducive for him to do it.

“I mean, I’m a Hollywood person. I would agree with [DeCamillis and Ratliff],” Bennett said. “Since I’ve been born, I’ve been meant to be on Disney. But they don’t really like to take too many kids from the ‘hood and put them on Disney nowadays. But for the most part, it’s different. Everything here is based on football, and [there’s] just a different type of chemistry with this team. Everybody is just about football all the time. We have our relationships and we have fun; there’s not really any cliques or anything. It’s just a bunch of guys who come together every week, play football, and tell jokes.”

COWBOYS RIVAL HEADLINE: Bears QB Jay Cutler won’t face Dallas Cowboys on MNF | Chicago Tribune

COWBOYS RIVAL HEADLINE - Bears QB Jay Cutler won't face Dallas Cowboys on MNF - Chicago Tribune - 2013 2014 Dallas Cowboys schedule 2013 2014

Jay Cutler caught an underhanded snap from Bears quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh early in practice Thursday. He dropped back to pass, shuffled right, then forward, then threw a 10-yard pass to his left.

The simple passing drill was a significant milestone for Cutler as he returned to practice for the first time since suffering a high left ankle sprain Nov. 10.

But the favorable news stopped there.

He will miss Monday night’s game against the Cowboys, his fourth straight on the sideline. Coach Marc Trestman on Thursday ruled him out 10 days after Cutler said on his radio show he “would be pretty disappointed if I wasn’t able to play for (the Cowboys) game.”

Trestman, however, reiterated his belief Cutler will play again this season, meaning the Bears should expect to change quarterbacks from backup Josh McCown to Cutler during the final postseason push this month.

“I know the type of fighter Jay is,” left tackle Jermon Bushrod said. “I have only been here for a few months, but I know the passion he has toward this game and toward this team. We want him to come back and be himself. But if things don’t work out, they don’t work out, and we’ll go hit it with Josh.”

Cutler quarterbacked the scout team during Thursday’s practice. He declined the Tribune’s interview request afterward.

Trestman was not sure of Cutler’s status for the Dec. 15 road game against the Browns, saying that will be evaluated next week. Cutler on his radio show Nov. 25 characterized a return for the Browns game as a worst-case scenario.

Trestman said Cutler was not deflated because he failed to meet his Dec. 9 target to return.

“Jay is very clear on where he is medically,” Trestman said. “He’s continuing to progress. We’ve been very, very clear that he has to be released by the doctors before he can play, and he has come to terms with that. He’s a strong-willed and strong-minded guy. He can’t control this decision on Monday other than to continue to work on his rehab.”

Cutler sprained his ankle late in the first half Nov. 10 against the Lions. He stayed in the game and played into the fourth quarter after Bears medical staffers expressed belief he could not damage the ankle more extensively.

Since then, the Bears have insisted Cutler did no additional harm to ankle by continuing to play.

Cutler on Nov. 18 created an air of mystery about the injury when he said on his radio show: “There are a couple of ligaments we’re a little bit worried about that are different than a normal high ankle sprain.”

Neither the team nor Cutler offered further details or explanation.

Cutler’s injuries have been a major subplot in the final season of his contract. He has not finished a game since the Oct. 10 victory over the Giants. He suffered a torn groin muscle against the Redskins on Oct. 20 and was sidelined for the Nov. 4 game against the Packers.

The Bears have won two of the four games Cutler has missed this season. McCown, who started all four of those, will start Monday.

Trestman, meanwhile, looks to Cutler’s return.

“I was encouraged today just by the work that he got in considering the injury wasn’t that long ago, so we’ll see where he is next week,” Trestman said. “But it was a good first day for him to come out and get some work. He threw the ball very, very well.”

Courtesy: Rich Campbell | Tribune reporter

COWBOYS RIVAL HEADLINE: With Jerry Jones running Cowboys, Dallas in for Doomsday | New York Daily News | Cowboys vs. Giants rivalry

The Boys Are Back editor comments: This is an example of the crap spread around by clueless so-called NFL experts. This homers point of view is complete with quotes and opinions from unnamed sources. It includes all of the standard talking points used by jealous and bias sports reporters jockeying for attention and headlines from more respected sports journalists.  

A former NFL general manager who is identified as someone who helped his team to a Super Bowl told the New York Daily News reporter that Jerry Jones is a “horrific” GM who “undermines his head coaches with his antics.”

“What makes him bad is everything he does is based on perception, star power, making a splash. Fourth or fifth on the list is soundness. Everything revolves around him,” the unnamed GM said.

In the story, Daily News columnist Gary Myers suggests Jones should relinquish his GM duties and stick to his strengths as an owner and marketer, a common theme among pundits.

Dallas, who’s 5-5 this season, plays at the New York Giants (4-6) on Sunday at 3:25 p.m.


COWBOYS RIVAL HEADLINE - New York Daily News - With Jerry Jones running Cowboys, Dallas in for Doomsday - Cowboys Giants rivalry - NYG vs DAL rivalry

PHOTO: While the Cowboys owner is a shrewd business man, some of his football moves leave many scratching their heads. With owner Jerry Jones calling the football shots, it is no wonder the Cowboys struggle to regain their Super Bowl championship form of the 90s.

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is an incredibly bright and creative businessman, a real marketing genius, and he has helped turn Dallas into the most valuable franchise in American sports. So many of his ideas have contributed to the NFL now being a $9 billion-a-year industry.

But if the Cowboys ever want to win their sixth Lombardi Trophy, then Jones must shake up his front office.

He needs to call himself in for a little talk.

“Sit down Jerry,” says Jones the owner.

“Yes, sir, Mr. Jones,” says Jones the GM.

COWBOYS RIVAL HEADLINE - With Jerry Jones running Cowboys, Dallas in for Doomsday - New York Daily News - Cowboys vs. Giants rivalry - Eli Manning

PHOTO: Eli Manning and the Giants find much more success than their division rivals in recent years.

You’re fired,” says Jones the owner.

See, it’s that easy. Painless.

America’s Team is the best nickname in sports, but it no longer fits the Cowboys and needs to be revoked until they get back to a Super Bowl — if they ever get back to a Super Bowl.

Of course, they are worth $2.3 billion according to Forbes, the television networks can’t get enough of them, they have the best stadium in the world, but, as one executive with another team (who?) laughed Monday about the nickname, “America likes winners,” and the Cowboys just don’t win championships anymore.

The Dallas Cowboys will be at MetLife Stadium to play the New York Giants on Sunday in a game with big implications on the mediocre NFC East race. Dallas is 5-5, which is not unusual since they are 109-109 since the turn of the century. The Giants, after their 0-6 start, have won four straight as Tom Coughlin implores his players “to keep the dream alive.” They are both chasing the Eagles, who have won three in a row to get to 6-5.

COWBOYS RIVAL HEADLINE - With Jerry Jones running Cowboys, Dallas in for Doomsday - New York Daily News - Cowboys vs. Giants rivalry - Tony Romo

PHOTO: Since taking over as GM, Jones has seen more than his share of flops from Tony Romo.

But, really, how ‘bout them Cowboys?

They have endured 17 consecutive seasons without making it to the Super Bowl after winning three in a four-year period. During the Dallas drought, the longest in franchise history, longer than its expansion years, 20 different teams have been to the Super Bowl, including the Patriots six times and the Giants, Steelers and Packers three times each. In that time, the Cowboys have made the playoffs seven times and have two wild-card victories.

I was there on Feb. 25, 1989, in the Cowboys team meeting room at their Valley Ranch headquarters, when Jones announced he had bought the team, fired the legendary Tom Landry and replaced him with Jimmy Johnson. It was called the Saturday Night Massacre and it was an unforgettable moment in NFL history.

The most famous line that came out of that news conference was when Jones proclaimed he would be in charge of everything from “socks to jocks.”

Maybe Jones was running just about every department including the laundry department back then, but Johnson was running the personnel department and he brought in enough great players to win the Super Bowl following the 1992 and 1993 seasons and then left when he and Jones fought over who deserved the credit. There was enough of the core remaining that the relatively clueless Barry Switzer came off his couch to win a Super Bowl with Johnson’s players in 1995.

COWBOYS RIVAL HEADLINE - With Jerry Jones running Cowboys, Dallas in for Doomsday - New York Daily News - Cowboys vs. Giants rivalry - Jason Pierre-Paul

PHOTO: Jason Pierre-Paul and the Giants should be happy to see the Cowboys late in the year.

Yet, once Johnson and then his players eventually departed, Jones was on his own to restock as the undisputed general manger. And while nobody in the NFL is better at making money, the Cowboys can’t compete in the front office. Jones hired a bunch of puppets as head coaches following Johnson — Switzer, Chan Gailey, Dave Campo, Wade Phillips and now Jason Garrett — with one exception.

Jones tried to get it right when he hired Bill Parcells in between Campo and Phillips, and he allowed Parcells more input in their four seasons together than anybody since Johnson. But he still forced malcontent Terrell Owens on Parcells and Dallas was the only one of Parcells’ four head coaching jobs where he didn’t win a playoff game.

It’s startling that Jones the owner has put up with Jones the GM this long.

“As a general manager, he’s horrific. Just horrific,” said a former GM who once helped his team get to a Super Bowl. “What makes him bad is everything he does is based on perception, star power, making a splash. Fourth or fifth on the list is soundness. Everything revolves around him. He undermines his head coaches with his antics. They don’t have a lot of real harmony and he creates a lot of the storms.”

Jones gave Tony Romo a six-year, $108 million contract in March even though he’s won just one playoff game in seven years as the starter. He dumped defensive coordinator Rob Ryan after last season and replaced him with Monte Kiffin, who was one of the best — 10 years ago.

After the Saints torched the Cowboys for 625 yards in their 49-17 victory with Ryan on the opposite sideline as the New Orleans defensive coordinator, Jones admitted the switch “doesn’t look good right now.” He initially called a 51-48 loss to the Broncos a “moral victory,” which was then refuted by his son Stephen, a team vice president, and Garrett.

Jones is ultra-competitive and is willing to spend to win. He is clearly one of the smartest people in the NFL. So why isn’t he smart enough to fire himself as GM and hire somebody as good at making football decisions as Jones is at making money? “His ego is so big,” one personnel director said. “He’s had so many chances to do it and won’t. He’s going down with the ship.”

How ’bout them Cowboys?

Written by: Gary Myers | New York Daily News

COWBOYS RIVAL HEADLINE: Minnesota StarTribune | Tony Romo came from out of nowhere

COWBOYS RIVAL HEADLINE - Minnesota StarTribune - Tony Romo came from out of nowhere - 2013-2014 Dallas Cowboys schedule

Tony Romo has turned into a star after going undrafted 10 years ago. Romo’s spring of 2013 was a tad more lucrative than his spring of 2003.

Eight months ago, the Dallas Cowboys quarterback signed a six-year, $108 million extension with $55 million in guaranteed money.

And 10 years before that?

“I was a very sought-after [rookie] free agent,” Romo, tongue firmly in cheek, told Twin Cities reporters on Wednesday.

Romo said he had nibbles from 15 to 20 NFL teams immediately after the 2003 draft. Of course, as Romo noted, that interest level came from 15 to 20 teams, “that really didn’t like [me] enough the previous 48 hours.

So, Tony, what did the Cowboys have to fork over to get the late-bloomer from Eastern Illinois? Five hundred bucks?

“Yeah, I made a little more than that,” he said. “I think it was 10 grand, actually, which felt like a year’s paycheck coming out of college. It was nice.”

Say what you want about Romo. He has been labeled as a guy who can’t win the big game. A guy who is prone to mistakes late in games. A guy who is 1-3 in the postseason. But there aren’t too many teams, the Vikings obviously included, who wouldn’t swap quarterbacks for Romo.

Heading into Sunday’s game against the Vikings, Romo ranks fifth in passer rating (101.7) behind only Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers, Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers.

Romo is 59-42 heading into his 102nd NFL start. Among quarterbacks through 100 starts, Romo ranks No. 1 in completions (2,262) and passing yards (27,485). He also ranks third in touchdown passes (189) behind only Dan Marino (214) and Brett Favre (194).

In that 2003 draft, 32 teams made 262 selections. Thirteen quarterbacks were selected. Only one of them — Carson Palmer, selected No. 1 overall by the Bengals — ever made a Pro Bowl. Romo has made three.

The other quarterbacks selected in the first round that year were Byron Leftwich (seventh), Kyle Boller (19th) and Rex Grossman (22nd). Later rounds saw names such as Chris Simms, Senaca Wallace, Brian St. Pierre, Brooks Bollinger, Drew Henson and Kliff Kingsbury.

“I think more than anything, I was just very raw,” Romo said. “[The scouts] were all right. But at the end of the day, they just didn’t see the things that can separate you.

Romo was asked what it is about quarterbacks and the draft selection process that can lead to No. 1 overall picks flopping and undrafted free-agents flourishing.

“I think sometimes only certain people can evaluate the quarterback position at a high level,” Romo said. “I think it’s a very tough thing to do because there are so many things that go into it. And I think it’s a difficult position to gauge. Just [the offensive] system alone dictates differing decision-making processes and I think that unless you’re really the guy coaching him and teaching him, you don’t necessarily know his strengths and negatives.

So what’s the one trait Romo would look for if he were in charge of drafting a quarterback coming out of college?

“Instincts,” he said. “Just their ability to get through progressions at a fast rate. You can always work on accuracy, you can always work on footwork. You can get guys to do the right things and be leaders and all that stuff. But inherently what you can’t teach him is to see the field quickly, react quickly and get through stuff fast. That’s where I find that [teams] just miss the mark the most times with young guys.

Courtesy: MARK CRAIG | Minnesota Star Tribune

COWBOYS RIVAL HEADLINE: Detroit Free Press | Lions QB Matthew Stafford’s 1-yard TD caps improbable comeback

COWBOYS RIVAL HEADLINE - Detroit Free Press - Lions QB Matthew Stafford's 1-yard TD caps improbable comeback

Matthew Stafford was yelling, screaming like his house was on fire, and figuratively it was.

Riley Reiff was 30 yards downfield celebrating what he thought was a game-winning touchdown pass to Calvin Johnson as the precious final seconds ticked off the clock in a game the Detroit Lions couldn’t afford to lose.

Twenty-two, 21, 20 …

Stafford waved his arms maniacally for his starting left tackle, the one playing through a hamstring injury, to get to the line of scrimmage. He motioned with his right arm to spike the ball and told his offensive linemen — everyone within earshot, really — that he was about to do just that.

As Reiff raced into his three-point stance — “I think he probably ran a 4.3,” Reggie Bush said — Stafford surveyed a Dallas Cowboys defense trying to catch its breath, called for the snap from Dominic Raiola, climbed over his center’s back and extended his arms across the goal line as a few stunned linebackers made a last-ditch effort to swat the ball away.

The clock froze at 12 seconds and Stafford booked around left end into the middle of the end zone where he celebrated a touchdown so unexpected he had to explain what happened to several linemen in the locker room after the game with the most ferocious spike you’ve ever seen.

Ballgame. Lions win 31-30. Another amazing comeback complete.

“I told everybody I was spiking it,” Stafford said. “I was screaming clock, I was going to spike it. It was a feel thing. I was yelling, ‘Spike.’ They knew I was yelling spike. I saw linebackers kind of standing like this (back off the line of scrimmage). Our guys didn’t fire off, they just stood up but I looked down and we were that far, shoot I’m going to figure I’ll get that. So I just need to go — shoot, I don’t know, I was making a play, man. I was trying to help my team win and sure am glad I got across.”

Stafford, who now has nine fourth-quarter comebacks in his career, completed 33 of 48 passes for a season-high 488 yards and got plenty of help from Johnson and a costly Cowboys holding penalty that left the Lions enough time for the game-winning drive.

Johnson caught 14 passes for a Lions record 329 yards, the second-highest single-game total in NFL history, and had his way with Dallas’ $10-million-a-year cornerback, Brandon Carr.

He opened the scoring with a 2-yard touchdown catch and made another of his signature jump-ball grabs amid two defenders, but until the final minute it looked like his heroics might be lost in a crush of Lions turnovers.

Dallas led, 27-24, with 1:24 to play and had a chance to run out the clock after stopping the Lions (5-3) on fourth-and-12 at their own 31.

But DeAndre Levy and Stephen Tulloch stuffed Joseph Randle for a 3-yard loss on first down, Travis Lewis dropped Phillip Tanner for a 1-yard loss on second down, and after the Lions used their final timeout, Cowboys left tackle Tyron Smith grabbed Devin Taylor for a holding penalty on third down that stopped the clock with 1:14 to play.

The Lions, who would have got the ball back with about 25 seconds left if not for the penalty, gave up a field goal and started their final drive at their own 20 with 1:02 on the clock.

“Our emotions, we were a little down, we were a little up. I think I experienced just about every emotion possible today,” Bush said. “Guys just keep fighting and then defense gave us a chance. When they got that holding penalty it stopped the clock and that gave us a chance. … Sometimes it just works out that way.”

Stafford completed 4 of 5 passes for 79 yards on the game-winning drive with one spike, and took advantage of a Dallas defense that lost starting safety Barry Church to a hamstring injury in the fourth quarter and played the entire day without its other starter at safety, J.J. Wilcox.

Kris Durham caught a 40-yard pass down the Lions sideline when backup safety Jakar Hamilton, who signed off the practice squad earlier in the week, was late helping Orlando Scandrick, and one play later Johnson split Hamilton and Carr down the right seam for a 22-yard gain to the Dallas 1.

Church said he felt “helpless” watching the final drive, and Lions coach Jim Schwartz said few quarterbacks other than Stafford could have engineered the series.

“We know what we got in him,” center Dominic Raiola said. “I just said earlier, Calvin had a huge day, player of the game and everything, but for Matt to come back and do what he did after what he went through early in the game it’s crazy. … I mean, what can you say about the guy? Love his toughness, love his moxie.”

Stafford threw two interceptions, both to Sean Lee, and all four of the Lions’ turnovers came in Cowboys territory.

Tony Romo completed just 14 of 30 passes for 206 yards for the Cowboys and threw second-half touchdowns of 50 yards to Dez Bryant and 60 yards to Terrance Williams.

Johnson’s 329 yards were the most ever by a receiver in regulation in NFL history. Flipper Anderson had 336 yards receiving in 1989, but 40 of those yards came in overtime.

Courtesy: Dave Birkett | Detroit Free Press

COWBOYS RIVAL HEADLINE: The Detroit News | What a finish! Lions outgun Cowboys

COWBOYS RIVAL HEADLINE - The Detroit News - What a finish - Lions outgun Cowboys

Detroit — Just another game, huh coach? Just one of 16? Not this one.

“Yeah, I might rethink my mantra on this one,” coach Jim Schwartz said after the Lions staged a thrillingly improbable 31-30 comeback victory against the Cowboys. “This was a big win for us. Going into the bye week at 5-3 instead of 4-4, I don’t care how you look at it, 5-3 is a successful first half of the season.”

The Lions were down 30-24 with 62 seconds left. They were 80 yards away from the winning score with no timeouts.

“People were leaving the stadium,” Calvin Johnson said. “Nobody thought we could pull it off in one minute. But we’ve got some firepower over here.”

Indeed. Quarterback Matthew Stafford (33 for 48, 488 yards and one touchdown) shook off two earlier interceptions and started dissecting the Cowboys’ injury-depleted secondary.

Stafford connected with Johnson for 17 yards, Kris Durham for 40 yards and then Johnson again, splitting two defenders, for 22 yards to put it at the 1 with the clock ticking down inside 15 seconds. Here’s where it got interesting.

First left tackle Riley Reiff, thinking Johnson had scored, was 40 yards behind the play celebrating as Stafford hurried to set the offense.

“He about gave the head coach a heart attack there,” Schwartz said. “He’s going to pay for that somewhere down the line.”

Once set, Stafford called out “spike, spike,” meaning he was going to clock the ball. Everybody on the field, offense and defense alive, thought he was going to spike the ball. Stafford didn’t spike the ball.

“It was a feel thing,” he said. “I was yelling spike. They knew I was yelling spike. I saw their linebackers standing still. Our guys didn’t fire off (the line). They just stood up. But I looked down. We were that far (inches); shoot, I’m going to get that. Just trying to make a play to help us win.”

Stafford stuck the ball over the goal line and for good measure rolled off the stack and ran it in. Replay upheld the winning score.

“He kind of caught us off-guard,” Cowboys defensive tackle Jason Hatcher acknowledged.

“This is an amazing win today,” said running back Reggie Bush, who had 92 yards rushing. “It’s a testament to the character of the guys on the team. We kept fighting. I think we made about every mistake possible in that game, but we kept fighting until the end. We just kept telling each other to keep fighting, keep going. Matt was amazing today.”

The Lions became the first team since 2007 to win a game with a minus-four turnover ratio. All four turnovers came in Dallas territory. Stafford threw two interceptions early, both to linebacker Sean Lee. Lee returned the second one 74 yards to set up a 5-yard touchdown pass to Dez Bryant.

Bush fumbled. Johnson fumbled.

The Lions gave up a 60-yard touchdown pass to Terrence Newman and a 50-yard touchdown pass to Bryant – in the fourth quarter.

“Our team has been resilient through a lot of things, and they needed to be today,” Schwartz said. “We certainly didn’t make it easy for ourselves.”

The Lions responded to every punch the Cowboys threw. Johnson caught 14 passes for 329 yards — the second most in a single game in NFL history.

“He had his way,” Cowboys cornerback Brandon Carr said of Johnson. “And, we couldn’t find a way to keep him from rolling.”

“Just wait until he’s 100 percent,” Schwartz joked.

Joique Bell scored on a 1-yard run. Bush had a 1-yard touchdown run set up by a 54-yard pass to Johnson.

Still, with 1:07 left in the game, the Lions looked dead in the water. They were down 27-24. Their previous drive had stalled at their own 31. The timeouts had been exhausted. The Cowboys were called for holding rookie defensive end Devin Taylor on a third-and-14 run play.

That holding call probably saved the day for the Lions because it stopped the clock.

“If we don’t get called for a penalty, I think they probably had 20 seconds or so left,” Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo said.

“We had 40 more seconds than we were planning on at that point,” said Schwartz, who declined the penalty and allowed kicker Dan Bailey to make it 30-24 with a 44-yard field goal. “I thought that was a really key point in the game. Any time you got a minute, you got our offense, we like the odds that we can go put that ball in the end zone.”

Never a doubt, joked Stafford.

“I know it’s a tall order,” he said. “Don’t get me wrong. It’s not like I was sitting there comfortable in my boots like, ‘Oh, here we go, no timeouts and we got to go 80 against that defense.’ But there’s always a chance. Our guys believed, they battled, they made some great catches and plays.

“We won the game and that’s all that matters now.”

Courtesy: Chris McCosky | The Detroit News | Associated Press contributed

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