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This is the Cowboys’ 59th postseason game, the most in league history.
This is the Cowboys’ 31st postseason appearance, tied with the New York Giants for the most in league history.
A Dallas win and a Pittsburgh loss would give the Cowboys their 34th postseason victory and sole possession of first place in league history.
Dallas is 1/8 teams to have never participated in an overtime playoff game. The other seven teams are Detroit, Washington, Tampa Bay, Houston, Jacksonville, Cincinnati, and Baltimore.
This will be the Cowboys’ 28th home playoff game, the third-most in NFL history.
The Cowboys are 19-8 at home in the playoffs. The 19 wins are third-most in league history, tied with the Raiders. The losses are tied with San Diego for fourth-most in NFL history.
Dallas is 11-6 against the NFC North in the postseason.
Dallas finished the year with an 8-0 road record. The last team to go undefeated on the road yet lose their opening playoff game were the 1968 Cowboys, who lost 31-20 to the Cleveland Browns.
The Cowboys are 1-1 against the Lions in the postseason with a 1-0 record at home.
Dallas is 0-2 against Detroit in the month of January.
The last team the Lions beat in the postseason were the Cowboys in the 1991 divisional playoffs when Detroit prevailed 38-6.
With that win, the Lions are 1-4 against the NFC East in the posteason.
Since 1958, the only playoff win the Lions can claim is that one in 1991 against the Cowboys.
The Lions haven’t won a road playoff game since 12/22/57 when they defeated the San Francisco 49ers 31-27.
This is just the third time since 1990 the Cowboys have been assigned a Sunday game during wildcard weekend. Of their eight previous appearances, six of them have been on Saturday.
This is the first time since January 1983 the Cowboys have hosted on Sunday during wildcard weekend. Dallas beat Tampa Bay 30-17.
For Detroit, this is their second Sunday appearances during wildcard weekend since 1990. Five of their previous six have been on Saturday during wildcard weekend.
In 2009, AT&T Stadium set an NFL wildcard record with 92,951 in attendance.
AT&T Stadium, Lincoln Financial Field, and Heinz Field are just 3/13 venues opened since 2000 to have hosted a playoff game in their first year. The home teams in Lincoln Financial and Heinz all won the inaugural game, but all lost the second.
AT&T Stadium had to wait four seasons between its first playoff game and the second. The longest wait among stadiums built since 2000 was eight seasons, set by Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, which hosted its initial playoff game in 2005 and then its second in 2013.
With four postseason appearances, Romo unties himself from Craig Morton and Don Meredith to take sole possession of fourth-most appearances in club history:
Romo is making just his third postseason start at home, tied with Craig Morton for the second-fewest in franchise history.
This is Romo’s third season of 11 wins or more, placing him second behind Staubach, White, and Aikman for first place with each having five apiece.
Romo was only sacked six times this December, the lowest of his career. The previous low was seven, set in 2009 and again in 2013.
Romo was second on the Cowboys with pre-snap penalties with four.
Romo’s fourth quarter passer rating drops from 102.4 in the regular season to 65.7 come playoff time. Comparatively, Aaron Rodgers, who is second to Romo in the regular season at 101.6, jumps to 105.4 in the postseason.
The Lions finished tied for third-most interceptions with 20. Romo tossed an interception against two of the top five teams (San Francisco, Houston).
The passer rating against the Lions defense was 83.0, ninth-lowest in the league. Romo had three games against teams in the top ten (Seattle, Houston, San Francisco) and posted a 95.0-or-better rating twice (Seattle, Houston).
Stafford is 0-17 on the road against teams with winning records.
Against Chicago from 2010-12 when Rod Marinelli was the defensive coordinator, Stafford had a 1-4 record and a 74.3 passer rating. On average, he went 23/38 for 233 yards, one touchdown, one interception, and took two sacks.
Stafford is tied for eighth in the league with roughing-the-passer calls with four.
The Cowboys defense finished tied for seventh with 18 interceptions. Stafford had four games against three teams in the top 10 (Arizona, Green Bay, Buffalo) and tossed a pick against all three of those opponents.
Stafford is the first Lions quarterback since Scott Mitchell in 1995 and 1997 to start two postseason games for the Lions.
Stafford led the NFL this year in game-winning drives and comebacks with five apiece. The five game-winning drives tied Charlie Batch’s mark in 2000 for the franchise’s top spot, while the five comebacks were a franchise record.
Stafford leads the Lions franchise with 15 comebacks and 17 game-winning drives in his career.
Since 1960, there have been a total of 21 quarterbacks taken first overall as Matt Stafford was in the 2009 draft. Only 6 took their original teams to play in either the Super Bowl or NFL Championship game: Terry Bradshaw, John Elway, Troy Aikman, Drew Bledsoe, Peyton Manning, and Eli Manning.
Since 1960, the Detroit Lions have taken seven quarterbacks in the first round: John Hadl (1962), Pete Beathard (1964), Greg Landry (1968), Chuck Long (1986), Andre Ware (1990), Joey Harrington (2002), and Matt Stafford (2009). In the same span, the Dallas Cowboys have only taken two: Craig Morton (1964) and Troy Aikman (1989).
Murray fell well short of breaking Eric Dickerson’s single-season rushing record or even gaining 2,000 yards. However, Murray’s 1,845-yard campaign is still 17th-best in NFL history.
Murray is on a seven-game streak against 4-3 defenses. The last time Murray rushed for less than 100 yards against a 4-3 defense was on Thanksgiving in 2013, though he did have three rushing touchdowns.
Since 2011, the Cowboys are 8-1 in December and beyond when Murray scores a rushing touchdown compared to 1-7 when he does not.
Murray has scored a rushing touchdown in each of his past five games, the longest streak of his career.
Murray’s 13 rushing touchdowns in 2014 are the fifth-best in a single-season in franchise history.
Murray’s 115.3 rushing yards per game not only led the league this year, but also was the fourth-highest since 2004.
Murray’s 392 rushing attempts this season ties him with Terrell Davis and Ricky Williams for the seventh-most in a season in NFL history.
Garrett is the first Cowboys head coach since Tom Landry to guide his team to a 12-4 mark yet still play in the wildcard round. Landry coached Dallas to a 12-4 record, yet hosted the LA Rams in the 1983 NFC Wildcard, losing 24-17.
Garrett is the first Cowboys head coach to take his team from the doldrums of a losing record straight to a 12-win season the following year. Every other 12-win season in Cowboys history has been preceded by a winning season.
Garrett joins John Harbaugh and Mike Tomlin as the only head coaches in 2014 to take their teams to playoff berths after 8-8 campaigns the previous year.
Garrett went 4/7 (.571) on challenges this season, tied for ninth-accurate in the league.
Garrett has a 1-2 record against the Lions with a 1-1 record at home.
Garrett is 1-0 against Jim Caldwell.
Caldwell went 2/4 (.500) on challenges this year, tied for 11th-most accurate in the league.
Caldwell joins Wayne Fontes, George Wilson, and Potsy Clark to lead the Detroit Lions (Portsmouth Spartans in Clark’s tenure) to 11 wins or more in a season.
Caldwell is also the first coach in franchise history since the aforementioned Clark to lead the club to an 11-win record in just his first year with the team.
A win would put Caldwell in with Fontes, Wilson, Clark, and Buddy Parker as the only Lions head coaches to win postseason games. Fontes would join Wilson as the only coaches in franchise history to do so in their first seasons.
Caldwell is 1/6 head coaches to have led a team to a Super Bowl in his first season of service with the franchise.
Caldwell is 1/5 head coaches to have led a team to a Super Bowl in his rookie season as head coach.
Caldwell is 0-1 in the wildcard round of the postseason.
This will be Caldwell’s first-ever playoff game on the road.
Caldwell’s 4-4 record matches his road record with the 2010 Indianapolis Colts, who lost in the wildcard round of the playoffs at home to the Jets.
The Cowboys are 3-5 on FOX in the postseason.
The Lions are 0-1 on FOX in the postseason with their lone game being a 20-10 defeat in Tampa Bay in 1997, Barry Sanders’ last postseason appearance.
The Cowboys are 0-2 when Joe Buck calls their playoff games.
Dallas is 0-2 when Troy Aikman calls their postseason contests.
In every one of the Cowboys’ eight previous postseason games on FOX, they have always drawn the A-team.
The Cowboys haven’t played a Sunday wildcard game since 1999 when Minnesota beat them 27-10 in the Metrodome with Pat Summerall and John Madden calling the action.
The aforementioned 20-10 loss in Tampa Bay in 1997 was Detroit’s last Sunday wildcard weekend appearance.
Pat Summerall called the most Cowboys postseason games with 29.
Al Michaels has called the most Lions postseason games with three.
The Cowboys have never won a postseason game that has been called on TV by one of their former players.
This week’s referee is Pete Morelli, who last refereed a Cowboys game in against the Texans earlier this year. Dallas is 8-5 when Morelli officiates their games, including 0-1 in the playoffs. Here is the breakdown:
2003 – Cardinals, 24-7 – W
2003 – MIA, 21-40 – L
2004 – @MIN, 17-35 – L
2004 – DET, 31-21 – W
2005 – @SD, 28-24 – W
2005 – KC, 31-28 – W
2006 – NYG, 22-36 – L
2007 – @BUF, 25-24 – W
2007* – NYG, 17-21 – L
2008 – @Cardinals, 24-30 – L-OT
2010 – @Colts, 38-35 – W-OT
2011 – MIA, 20-19 – W
2014 – HTX, 20-17 – W-OT
The Cowboys are 5/13 in the penalty battle under Morelli:
2003 – Cardinals: 5/36; DAL: 7/64
2003 – MIA: 6/69; DAL: 5/50
2004 – MIN: 5/40; DAL: 9/119
2004 – DET: 10/112; DAL: 5/35
2005 – SD: 8/62; DAL: 8/46
2005 – KC: 3/17; DAL: 5/45
2006 – NYG: 3/24; DAL: 1/5
2007 – BUF: 5/49; DAL: 5/31
2007 – NYG: 3/28; DAL: 11/84
2008 – Cardinals: 12/70; DAL: 12/93
2010 – Colts: 3/28; DAL: 5/35
2011 – MIA: 6/55; DAL: 11/69
2014 – HTX: 5/35; DAL: 7/56
In terms of home team winning percentage, Morelli’s .600 percentage is tied for fifth-highest in the NFL:
Ed Hochuli: .800
Gene Steratore: .733
Jerome Boger: .667
Jeff Triplette: .667
Tony Corrente: .600
Pete Morelli: .600
Bill Vinovich: .600
Walt Anderson: .563
Carl Cheffers: .533
Craig Wrolstad: .533
Terry McAulay: .467
Bill Leavy: .467
John Parry: .467
Clete Blakeman: .467
Brad Allen: .400
Walt Coleman: .400
However, in terms of home teams having fewer penalties, Morelli’s .500 percentage is sixth-lowest in the league:
Tony Corrente: .750
Brad Allen: .733
Terry McAulay: .733
Jeff Triplette: .667
Bill Vinovich: .667
Walt Anderson: .625
Craig Wrolstad: .607
Jerome Boger: .600
Walt Coleman: .600
Carl Cheffers: .500
Pete Morelli: .500
Ed Hochuli: .467
Gene Steratore: .400
Clete Blakeman: .400
Bill Leavy: .286
John Parry: .267
The Lions are 3-9 when Morelli referees their games. Here is the breakdown:
2003 – @MIN, 14-24 – L
2004 – @DAL, 21-31 – L
2005 – ATL, 7-27 – L
2007 – @CHI, 16-7 – W
2007 – @GB, 13-34 – L
2008 – @CHI, 23-27 – L
2008 – @Colts, 21-31 – L
2011 – @CHI, 13-37 – L
2012 – @MIN, 24-34 – L
2013 – @Cardinals, 25-21 – L
2014 – @ATL, 22-21 – W
2014 – MIN, 16-14 – W
Detroit has had fewer penalties than their opponents 4/12 times with Morelli as referee:
2003 – MIN: 11/95; DET: 5/50
2004 – DAL: 5/35; DET: 10/112
2005 – ATL: 11/84; DET: 9/50
2007 – CHI: 7/78; DET: 5/32
2007 – GB: 2/25; DET: 7/55
2008 – CHI: 3/25; DET: 4/36
2008 – Colts: 5/31; DET: 6/48
2011 – CHI: 4/37; DET: 4/53
2012 – MIN: 7/47; DET: 6/57
2013 – Cardinals: 7/40; DET: 8/101
2014 – ATL: 5/39; DET: 8/85
2014 – MIN: 3/25; DET: 5/35
This will be Morelli’s 10th postseason game in his 12 years as a referee. Home teams are 5-4 when Morelli officiates:
2004 Divisional – Minnesota at Philadelphia – 27-14 Philadelphia
2005 Divisional – Pittsburgh at Indianapolis – 21-18 Pittsburgh
2006 Wildcard – NY Giants at Philadelphia – 23-20 Philadelphia
2007 Divisional – NY Giants at Dallas – 21-17 NY Giants
2009 NFC Championship – Minnesota at New Orleans – 31-28 New Orleans
2010 Wildcard – Green Bay at Philadelphia – 21-16 Green Bay
2011 Divisional – Houston at Baltimore – 20-13 Baltimore
2012 Wildcard – Seattle at Washington – 24-14 Seattle
2013 Divisional – Indianapolis at New England – 43-22 New England
Home teams have had fewer penalties than the opposition 4/9 times in Morelli’s playoff games:
2004 – MIN: 7/108; PHI: 4/20
2005 – PIT: 2/8; Colts: 9/67
2006 – NYG: 9/55; PHI: 6/77
2007 – NYG: 3/28; DAL: 11/84
2009 – MIN: 5/32; NO: 9/88
2010 – GB: 2/15; PHI: 7/50
2011 – HTX: 3/20; Ravens: 0/0
2012 – SEA: 4/30; WAS: 3/15
2013 – Colts: 4/42; NE: 4/35
In Morelli-reffed games, Dallas coaches are 2/2 on challenges compared to opposing coaches’ 2/4 and Replay Assistant’s 2/11. Furthermore, 5/11 of Morelli’s decisions on Replay Assistant challenges have benefited the Cowboys.
The Lions are 3/5 on challenges with Morelli, and opponents are 2/7. Replay Assistant has overturned 3/5 calls with three of those decisions benefiting Detroit.
The Lions were 4-4 on the road this season, their best road record since 2011, their last playoff trip that included a 5-3 road record.
The Lions lead the league in rush defense, only surrendering 3.2 yards per carry. Dallas had four games against three of the teams that finished in the top ten of this category (Seattle, Philadelphia, San Francisco), and averaged 3.9 yards per carry and scored five touchdowns.
The Lions defense is tied for fifth-fewest rushing touchdowns with just eight surrendered all year. Dallas played four other teams that finished in the top ten of this category, and scored a rushing touchdown against 2/4 of those teams (San Francisco, Seattle).
Detroit’s defense finished eighth in the league with 42 sacks. The Cowboys had five games with teams in the top seven (Philadelphia, NY Giants, Jacksonville). Dallas surrendered 12 sacks through five games, which averages to 2.5 sacks per game.
The Lions are eighth in the NFL in yards surrendered per punt return at 10.4. Their kickoff coverage unit is also fourth in the league in yards per kickoff surrendered at 27.2.
Lions opponents went 18/23 on field goals against them, combining for 78.3 percent, the fourth-lowest percentage in the NFL.
The Lions have given up just 17.6 points per game, tied with Kansas City for second-stingiest in the NFL. When scoring 18 or fewer points this season, Dallas is 0-4, while the Lions are 9-2 when they hold their opponents to 18 or fewer points.
The Cowboys defense actually leads the league in drives ending in turnovers at 16.8 percent. However, just 9.5 percent of Lions drives end in turnovers, sixth-lowest in the league.
This is the second straight time in Rod Marinelli’s tenure as a defensive coordinator that his units have led the league in turnovers per drive rate.
The Cowboys offense gains 6.0 yards per play, tied for third-highest in the NFL. The Lions defense surrenders 4.9 yards per play, tied for third-lowest in the league.
Tyron Smith led the Cowboys with eight penalties. His five pre-snap penalties were also team-high.
Dallas was tied for second in the league with the most offensive holding calls with 24. Here is a breakdown by player:
Tyron Smith: 3
Ron Leary: 3
Doug Free: 3
Jason Witten: 2
C.J. Spillman: 2
Cam Lawrence: 1
Dez Bryant: 1
Kyle Wilber: 1
Tyler Clutts: 1
The Lions lead the league in illegal use of hands to the face penalties with nine.
Dallas is 10-13 against Texas High School quarterbacks since 2006.
The Cowboys traded a first, third, and sixth rounder in 2008 for Lions wide receiver Roy Williams. Of those three picks, the only one that is still in the league is first-round tight end Brandon Pettigrew.
Among the eight other players in NFL history to have 392 attempts or more in a season, 5/8 of them made the playoffs. Of those five, only three (Terrell Davis, Jamal Anderson, Eric Dickerson) rushed for 100 yards the following week in the playoffs. Terrell Davis is the only one to have consecutive 100-yard games throughout his team’s postseason run.
Since 1996, the Cowboys are just 1-2 in the postseason when one of their rushers eclipses the century mark.
The Cowboys are 2-1 on 1/4 with all three games being in the postseason. This is the first one that will be a wildcard game. Here are the results:
1975 – @Rams, 37-7 – W
1980 – @ATL, 30-27 – W
1985 – @Rams, 0-20 – L
The Cowboys have three birthdays to celebrate on 1/4:
Pettis Norman, TE, 1962-70 – 1/4/1939
Scott Ankrom, WR, 1989 – 1/4/1966
Jackie Harris, TE, 2000-01 – 1/4/1968