When it comes the NFL, no game is ever over until the clock hits zero, in this case it was the Dallas Cowboys who suffered and the Detroit Lions who triumphed. With only 1:02 left in the game, the Lions were able to drive down the field and score a touchdown off of quarterback Matthew Stafford’s rushing touchdown and defeat the Dallas Cowboys with a final score of 31-30.
While plenty of Lion fans are celebrating the fact the Lions won this game and have a 5-3 record going into their bye week, I have to say I am not impressed. Don’t get me wrong, a win is a win and I will not take that away from the Detroit Lions. However, let me say this game should have never gotten to this point, the Lions put themselves in a situation to have to come back and they barely succeeded in doing so.
Let’s start with the offense, since they were the main problem. I did like the fact that quarterback Matthew Stafford continued to spread the ball around and receiver Kris Durham and tight end Brandon Pettigrew stepped up in this game. Wide receiver Calvin Johnson was amazing as always, racking up 329 receiving yards and proving once again he is the best wide receiver in the NFL. I also like the consistent execution by running backs Reggie Bush and Joique Bell, who played well combining for 124 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
However, the Lions offense was completely inconsistent today and they were a turnover machine. There wouldn’t haven’t been any need to make any heroic plays, if they had taken care of the ball and executed like they were supposed to. The Lions turned the ball over FOUR times in this game and all FOUR turnovers were in Dallas territory. In simpler terms, in those FOUR turnover situations, the Lions could have been on their way to scoring touchdowns or executing on field goals which could have put this game out of reach.
Honestly, the Lions offense needs to thank the defense for keeping the Cowboys offense at bay for basically the entire game. Like I said before, the heroics of the Lions was impressive but it shouldn’t haven’t been necessary. I understand that it builds adversity and character for the future but the Lions need to learn how to take advantage of opportunities, close out teams early and finish strong. While I give credit to the Lions defense for playing well in this game, I have to say if the Cowboys offense had been able to capitalize more off their defense’s success, the Cowboys would have won this game.
Which leads me to the Lions defense. Just like the offense, I have good and bad things to say about them. I know plenty of fans are excited about Stafford’s heroic game winning touchdown but the Lions defense are the heroes of this game. They kept the Cowboys offense at bay for the first three-quarters of the game, giving the Lions multiple opportunities to take control and win this game, despite the Lions turning the ball over FOUR times. I must say the Lions secondary played much better than anticipated, while they did allow wide receiver Dez Bryant to score two touchdowns, they still kept the passing game under control for the most part. I also have to credit the Lions front four who was consistent throughout the game, creating pressure on quarterback Tony Romo and keeping the run game under control. I don’t think the Lions defense is any better than they were last week, I think they matched up better with the Cowboys in this game and made some good defensive adjustments.
However as good as the Lions defense played in the three-quarters, I have to say I was upset by how they collapsed in the fourth quarter. Now some of it was not their fault, seeing that they had been on the field all day trying to make up for the Lions FOUR turnovers and constant quick three and outs. It was more about how the Lions defense collapsed in the fourth quarter, whether it was cornerback Darius Slay being burned by wide receiver Terrance Williams for 80-yard touchdown or wide receiver Dez Bryant scoring a touchdown due to poor tackling by the secondary.
Overall, a win is a win, as I said at the beginning of the article and I don’t take this win away from the Lions but they really need to use this bye-week to re-adjust and get healthy. Honestly, those late heroic moments won’t always be there. Some will say the Lions are lucky to have won this game, I don’t look at it as luck. I basically keep it simple, Cowboys lost this game for themselves on both sides of the ball and they have no one to blame but themselves. Lions didn’t get lucky, they took advantage of what was given to them in the end. I don’t think the win was pretty and I already said I am not impressed with the Lions but a win is a win. It’s the half-mark of the NFL at this point and while many fans are excited that the Lions are 5-3, they should honestly be 7-1. While their loss to the Green Bay Packers was legit, their losses to the Arizona Cardinals and Cincinnati Bengals were win-able games that they didn’t take advantage of. Nonetheless, I look forward to seeing the Lions get healthy during their bye week and I hope to see some much-needed adjustments because there is more work to be done by the Detroit Lions.
Written by LBeasley, Sports Contributor for Radio One Detroit
Listen to LBeasley’s Radio Show, “Sports Talk with L-Beasley” every Mon, Wed & Fri from 6-8pm (ET) on LBeasley.com