TWENTYMAN: The good and bad from Sunday's 31-30 victory

Posted Oct 28, 2013

Tim Twentyman takes a look at some of the good and some of the bad from Sunday's 31-30 win over Dallas

The Lions improved to 5-3 at the halfway point of the season after a dramatic comeback win over the Dallas Cowboys Sunday.

Detroit dominated a lot of aspects of the football game, but still needed an 80-yard drive in 62 seconds to snatch victory out of the hands of defeat.

There were both good and bad plays that contributed to the thrilling finish, but as always, the good outweighed the bad in a win.



We could fill the next 30 inches of copy with numbers related to Calvin Johnson’s record-breaking 14-catch, 329-yard performance, but we’ll highlight just a few:

  • His 329 yards set a franchise record for most yards in a single game as he broke the previous best set by Cloyce Box (302) vs. Baltimore Oct. 27, 1950.
  • He finished just seven yards shy of the all-time record set by Los Angeles Rams WR Flipper Anderson vs. New Orleans Nov. 26, 1989.
  • Johnson is the fifth player in NFL history to record 300 receiving yards in a game and the second in Lions history.
  • He now holds five of the Lions Top-7 single game best in terms of receiving yards.


Give the Lions defense some credit for bailing out the offense after four turnovers Sunday. The Cowboys only managed 10 points off those turnovers, which was certainly a factor in the win for the Lions.

Here’s a look at the turnovers and resulting Cowboys possession.

Second quarter:

  • Matthew Stafford’s pass to Calvin Johnson was tipped and intercepted by Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee. Result: Dallas punt.
  • Stafford pass intercepted by Lee and returned 74 yards to the Lions 4-yard line. Result: Tony Romo 5-yard touchdown pass to Dez Bryant.

Third quarter:

  • Reggie Bush fumbled at the Dallas 35-yard line, recovered by Cowboys linebacker Justin Durant. Result: Dallas punt.
  • Calvin Johnson fumbled at the Dallas 29-yard line, recovered by Cowboys cornerback Brandon Carr. Result: Dan Bailey 53-yard FG.

The defense did a good job of limiting the damage the offense could have caused with their mistakes.


Playing cornerback in the NFL is a lonely job most of the time.

Chris Houston knows how lonely that island can be when opposing receivers are streaking past him for a touchdown, which had been the case the previous three weeks.

Houston was even benched for the first time in his career at halftime last week vs. Cincinnati.

But Houston was good Sunday. In fact, the veteran was better than good.

"Houston played an outstanding game today," Schwartz said. "Chris bounced back with a big-time performance. That’s what we expected. At some point you have to show faith in your players."

Houston allowed Terrance Williams to have just one catch for four yards while he was covering him.



Breakdowns in the secondary gave Dez Bryant a 50-yard touchdown catch and rookie Williams a 60-yard touchdowns catch in the second half.

Safety Louis Delmas went for the kill shot on Bryant, and missed, allowing him a free run to the end zone.

Rookie Darius Slay took a poor angle on Williams’ touchdown and safety Glover Quin was unable to make the play behind him.


The Lions were minus-4 in the turnover battle and still won the game. That says a lot about how well they played in other area of the game.

Detroit won a football game for the first time in franchise history after losing the turnover differential by at least four. They became just the second NFL team to accomplish the feat.

The Lions dropped from plus five to plus one on the year after that game in the turnover ratio department.

That's not good enough moving forward. They have to both limit and start creating more.


The Lions had been so good in their kick coverage leading up the game against names like Devin Hester, Patrick Peterson, Cordarrelle Patterson and Travis Benjamin.

For the first time this season, there was a bit of chink in the armor.

Dwayne Harris, who entered the game No. 1 in the NFL on kickoff return average and No. 2 in punt returns, averaged 37.3 yards on three kickoff returns, with a long of 56.

He averaged 12.5 yards with a long of 17 on two punt returns.

Both averages were season highs allowed by the Lions coverage units.