Cowboys dig deep, push past Lions
Romo rallies Dallas for win in team’s first playoff game in half a decade
ARLINGTON, Texas — Facedown on the turf, Tony Romo pounded his hands into the ground like a petulant child.
Frustrated by yet another season-ending failure? Far from it. The Dallas quarterback was celebrating after giving the Cowboys the lead in a stirring playoff comeback.
Romo threw two touchdown passes to Terrance Williams, the second for the lead late in the fourth quarter, and the Cowboys rallied for a 24-20 wild card win over Detroit on Sunday in their first playoff game in five years.
Dallas (13-4) wiped out an early two-touchdown deficit to advance to a divisional game in Green Bay, their first postseason visit there since a heartbreaking loss to the Packers in the Ice Bowl in 1967.
“You just have to stay in the moment and understand the game,” Romo said. “It doesn’t end after the first quarter, second quarter — you just have to keep calm. I’ve played enough games to understand that. Maybe I didn’t do that as well when I was younger.”
The Lions (11-6) went 99 yards for one of two first-quarter touchdowns, but Matthew Stafford couldn’t get them in the end zone again.
Detroit was driving with a 20-17 lead midway through the fourth quarter when referee Pete Morelli announced a pass interference penalty against Anthony Hitchens on a thirddown pass to Brandon Pettigrew. But officials reversed the call without explanation, and Sam Martin had a 10-yard punt after the Lions tried to draw Dallas offside on fourth and one.
Pettigrew said he didn’t get an explanation, while Lions head coach Jim Caldwell said he did — but didn’t like it.
“Not a good enough one. I’m going to leave it at that,” Caldwell said.
“I’m not going to sit up here and act like that was the play that made a difference in the game. We still had our chances.”
Romo took the Cowboys 59 yards in 11 plays, including a 21-yard pass to Jason Witten on fourth and six. The winner to Williams was an eight-yarder after Romo had several seconds to throw behind an offensive line among the league’s best because Dallas has drafted linemen in the first round three of the past four years.
The Cowboys had to wait a little longer to celebrate. Rookie DeMarcus Lawrence gave the Lions the ball back with a fumble following Anthony Spencer’s sack that knocked the ball loose from Stafford, who was 28 of 42 for 323 yards playing against his hometown team.
Lawrence redeemed himself on the clincher, sacking Stafford on fourth down near midfield in the final minute.
The Lions have not won a playoff game since 1991.