That Star Can Hurt.

The three biggest stars of the Detroit Lions offense turned the ball over four times.

Reggie Bush, trying to shift the ball away from a defender into his left, got caught holding it like bread and he lost a fumble. Not quite a rookie mistake, not a dumb play, not trying to be flashy, just unfortunate.

Calvin Johnson fumbled away a reception and bounced another one into the hands of a Cowboy. His fault, and his fault.

Matthew Stafford fired into a slant in the slot…to Sean Lee. Half blame there because Lee made a canny play for the pick.

Four turnovers with the stars at the scene. Good thing there was another ‘Star’ to save the Lions’ day.

The star on the side of the helmet of the opponent, which has been cursed with lofty expectations and breath taking crunch time misadventures for nearly twenty years, bailed the Lions out of their giving afternoon.

Aside from the costly turnovers, the Lions offense was as all had hoped since the day Bush became a Lion. On a day when the Lions offense constricted to only it’s stars, they shone bright. Stafford, in possibly the game of his life, kept connecting with Calvin. Over, and over, and over again. 16 targets (His first of the game to me, as the best WR alive, I’d like to see that as a catch), 14 catches and the second most receiving yards in the history of the league. Calvin’s 329 were just 7 short of Flipper Anderson’s 336 as a Ram, against the Saints, about 24 years ago. And because it’s what Calvin does, barricaded and brought down twice more inside the one yard line just for good measure; which is usually 36 inches.

Without Calvin, the Lions don’t win.

But wait…

If a target doesn’t bounce from his grasp, and he doesn’t fumble another reception away, do the Lions even need heroics aid from the Cowboys to pull into their bye with a winning record?

Bush was a vital cog in the Lions offense yet again, despite his mysterious upper leg injury that denied him practice on Friday. 122 total yards and countless elusive gains on a helpless Cowboys defense. With little contribution from Ryan Broyles – who continues be a failed second round draft pick (Nate, hurry back) – and the curious case of Joseph Fauria’s absence, Bush often lined up in what may be an even more lethal position than the backfield – out wide, or in the slot. His presence there creates perplexing confusion for defenses. It’s an indefensible tactic when the Lions execute the play in that formation properly.

The Lions didn’t even yield 270 yards of offense, but that’s misleading. All those Lions turnovers gave the Cowboys comfortable starting field position. Detroit frequently got pressure on Romo, even with a dinged Ziggy Ansah and Nick Fairley, but tallied just four hits on Romo and no sacks.

It was another ugly day for the Lions repeatedly abused secondary. Touchdown passes of 60 and 50 yards, with a lot of RAC/YAC by Terrance Williams and Dez Bryant on each of the receptions.

The Lions had a peculiar plan for defending the Cowboys passing attack. Chris Houston, who’d been benched against the Bengals, spent the majority of the day covering the rookie Williams. You know my saying by now, ‘he’s THEIR top corner; he’s not A top corner.’ Either the Lions offered enormous respect to Williams OR they didn’t want the oft-toasted resigned free agent anywhere near Dez Bryant, whom the Lions chose to double team with the also-crispy Darius Slay in man on Bryant, with safety help. Louis Delmas missed the tackle on Bryant’s dash to the endzone.

The Cowboys TO-in-training superstar lacks any form of sideline diplomacy, but for him to see just 6 targets WITH DARIUS SLAY & PRAY covering him, I think he had a right to read his offense the riot act, as he did, twice. Chris Houston is a big, big, BIG problem for the Lions. His reliability is that of a unicycle without a wheel.

The Lions, as teams of their talented, but meddling composition usually are, offered a Heckle and Jeckyl afternoon. They’re going to battle, mmmmmmm Carolina and Washington for the other Wild Card in the NFC. Seattle/SF loser is the top WC.

Dallas.

Did what Dallas does.

With zero timeouts, 80 yards to go and down 6 points, Tony Romo inexplicably played defense for the Cowboys.

Wait. Hold on.

Romo DIDN’T have anything(???????) to do with the Dallas defense being carved up in four completions (1 for no gain to start) by Stafford to take the Lions to the precipice of stabbing the Cowboys deep in the hearts!?

How. Can. This. Be! Romo always screws it up.

Unless he doesn’t. Which he didn’t.

Romo, as the quarterback of the team he plays for, has my sympathy. He’s had his share of blunders, but the ‘assists’ during his tenure – AND BEFORE – aren’t difficult to uncover either.

With the Cowboys being able to ice the game, after a LONG kickoff return to the Lions 34, they go backwards on 2 plays, forcing the Lions to use their final two timeouts, but then on 3rd and 14 Tyron Smith is called for a hold. The Lions decline giving Dallas a field goal and 6 point lead. *Lions could’ve accepted and given the Cowboys 3rd and 20-something, but would’ve lost more time on the clock. Even though the Cowboys would’ve then punted, and they way they were about to play defense, it’s POSSIBLE Detroit would’ve made it’s way into range for a game-tying field goal. That became moot, because Dallas did as Dallas does.*

Stafford’s throws to Kris Durham and Calvin on the final mad dash to the end zone were brilliant. Possibly the best throws of his NFL career. Another Dallas gaffe was just up the road. Stafford began motioning to kill the clock after Calvin’s stopped at the 1. The eyes of the Dallas linemen were DOWN. They didn’t see Stafford’s leaning body language. He was going in. And surprisingly, Romo wasn’t on the field for any of that Detroit drive.

I know, I can’t explain it either…

Except, I can.

Since their last Super Bowl win after the ’95 season, basically what was the final finger prints of Jimmy Johnson, Jerry Jones’ teams have two playoff wins.

They have seven playoff losses. 10 years of not making the postseason at all.

The Lions have three luminous offensive stars who helped and hurt their cause on Sunday.

Dallas, under Jones, still has the star on its helmet, but those five sharp points often wind up in the their own flesh, rather than gilded to anything resembling greatness.

As an ex-Eagle fan I can say this with such ease, DALLAS SUCKS.

 

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