The Detroit Lions have not won a playoff game since 1991. They hoped to end that streak Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys but unfortunately it did not happen. Detroit stifled the Dallas offense in the first quarter and actually jumped in front of the Cowboys on their first offensive possession. They drove the ball down the field and scored on a 51 yard touchdown pass from Matthew Stafford to Golden Tate. After Dallas failing the move the ball again, Detroit drive the field a second time and scored on a Reggie Bush touchdown run. With a 14-0 lead in the first quarter, the game looked to be Detroit’s to lose.
The Cowboys got back into the game in the second quarter when receiver Terrance Williams caught a 76 yard touchdown from Tony Romo. Detroit answered that score with a Matt Prater field goal. The Lions took a 17-7 lead into halftime and were to receive the second half kick. It was the perfect setup for the Lions to win the game.
In the second half, the game started to go very wrong. Detroit received the kickoff, and Matthew Stafford‘s pass was batted and intercepted by the Cowboys. With great field position, the Cowboys were expected to at least get a field goal. They failed to score a touchdown and Romo was sacked on third down to take them from a short field goal to a more difficult one. While still well into Dan Bailey’s range, he missed it. Detroit escaped with no damage done on the turnover. They drove the field and kicked another Matt Prater field goal to take a 20-7 lead.
Conservative Jim Caldwell took over for the Lions and their offense failed the rest of the way, preferring to milk the clock and not go for the game ending touchdown Detroit desperately needed. Instead, Dallas got back into the game with a DeMarco Murray 1 yard touchdown late in the third quarter to make it 20-14. Dallas drove down the field again on Detroit’s second ranked defense, this time settling for a 51 yard field goal by Bailey. The score was now 20-17 and Detroit needed to score again. A 3 point lead was not going to do.
Detroit drove down the field, and on 3rd down and 1 at the Dallas 46, Stafford threw a short pass to tight end Brandon Pettigrew that fell incomplete. A Dallas defender looked to have interfered with his ability to make the catch and a flag was thrown. The officials announced pass interference on Dallas. Its now first down for Detroit inside the Dallas 30, except, it was not. The officials, after announcing the penalty, decided to pick the flag up, reversed the penalty, and made it 4th and 1 for Detroit. The Lions attempted to draw Dallas offsides, took a delay of game and punted.
The punt by Sam Marin was shanked and Dallas got the ball at their own 41. They drove the field with the help of some poor play by Detroit’s defense, and they scored on a Romo pass to Williams. Dallas was up 24-20, Detroit got the ball back, and there was plenty of time for Matthew Stafford‘s patented comeback attempt. The attempt looked to have failed when he fumbled on a sack, but the Dallas defender fumbled it back to Detroit, giving them a new set of downs. Detroit moved the ball a little more before failing to get the 4th down conversion on a sack fumble by Stafford. The game ended, as did Detroit’s chance to end their playoff futility.
With their loss, they have been eliminated from the 2015 playoffs and earn the 23rd overall pick in the 2015 NFL draft.