DALLAS v. DETROIT LIONS FACTS
The Dallas Cowboys have clinched the NFC East, a first-round bye and home-field advantage by virtue of the Thursday Giants loss at Philly. There are questions of "Rest Vs. Rust Vs. Records'' now ... but first there is "Cowboys 100''!
COWBOYS DE ISSUES? TACO CHARLTON AS DRAFT FIX
COWBOYS STARCAST: FROM TROLLS TO BOWLS
EXCLUSIVE: COWBOYS 'CONCERNS' RE TANK'S BACK
5 COWBOYS TO PRO BOWL; LEE SNUBBED
COWBOYS TROLL JERRY: DOESN'T GIVE A DAMN
SPOTLIGHT: WHO IS COWBOYS' DAVID IRVING?
HOW DEZ AND COWBOYS HAVE DAK'S BACK
ZEKE AND COWBOYS JUMP OVER BUCS, 26-20
TO THE GAME
This is the fifth time in franchise history the Cowboys are 12-2. All four previous teams made the playoffs with 3/4 of those squads having won the division. Here are the final fates for those previous four seasons:
Wildcard loss – 1983
Divisional loss – 1968, 2007
Super Bowl win – 1977
Since 1990, when playoff formats were last tinkered with, only one team that started 12-2 failed to clinch a first-round bye: the 2012 Houston Texans. Here are the final fates for all 28 teams:
Divisional loss – 10/28
Conference Championship loss – 7/28
Super Bowl loss – 5/28
Super Bowl win – 6/28
This is the second time in club history the Lions have started 9-5. The only other previous team in 2011 qualified for the playoffs as a wildcard and lost to the Saints 45-28 in the opening round.
Since 1990, when playoff formats were last reorganized, 92/100 teams that started 9-5 made the playoffs with 50/92 of those teams having won the division.
This is the 10th time in the series the Cowboys and Lions will meet with winning records. The Lions hold a 5-4 advantage, including playoffs.
This is the fourth time the Cowboys will meet the Lions in prime time. Dallas holds a 2-1 record with all of those games having been played on Monday Night Football.
Detroit is 4-9 in Dallas. Here are the results broken down by venue:
Cotton Bowl: 0-3
Texas Stadium: 2-4
AT&T Stadium: 2-2
The Lions are 5-11 against the NFC East in December with a 3-7 record on the road.
Dallas is 2-2 against Detroit in December.
DAK PRESCOTT FACTS
Prescott is tied with Tony Romo for the most fourth quarter comebacks in Cowboys single-season history with five.
Prescott has 3,418 yards. If he averages 200 yards more in the final two games, he will finish with the ninth-best season in passing yards in club history.
Prescott has the third-highest single-season passer rating at 103.2. Romo tops the list at 113.2 and Roger Staubach second at 104.8.
Prescott’s 103.2 passer rating is also the second-highest in the NFL among quarterbacks who have started every game since Week 1.
Prescott’s 8.4 adjusted yards per attempt is the second-best in the league among quarterbacks who have started every game since Week 1.
A win Monday would tie Prescott with Troy Aikman and Romo for the most wins by a starting quarterback in a single-season with 13.
A win by Prescott would also tie him with Ben Roethlisberger for the most wins by a rookie starting quarterback in NFL history with 13.
Last week, Prescott took sole possession of the most rushing touchdowns by a quarterback in a single season with six.
If Prescott can preserve his 0.9 interception percentage, he would set the franchise record for fewest interception percentage in a single season in Cowboys history.
Among quarterbacks who have started every game since Week 1, Prescott’s 66.1 completion percentage on third down is the third-best in the NFL.
MATT STAFFORD FACTS
Stafford is 1-5 against Rod Marinelli-led defenses with a 76.6 passer rating.On average, he goes 24/39 for 248 yards, one touchdown, one interception, and takes one sack.
Stafford has the seventh-most passing yards this year with 3,720.
Stafford is tied with Derek Carr and Sam Bradford for the sixth-most completions in the NFL with 336.
Stafford’s 22 passing touchdowns through 14 games are the fourth-most he has thrown this far into a season.
Stafford is 2-20 on the road against teams with winning records.
Stafford leads the Lions franchise with 25 comebacks and 28 game-winning drives in his career.
Stafford leads the NFL this season with eight fourth quarter comebacks and eight game-winning drives.
Stafford’s eight fourth quarter comebacks are a single-season NFL record. Trailing him in second place is Derek Carr with seven.
Stafford is tied with Romo and Matt Ryan for the 14th-most four quarter comebacks in NFL history with 25.
Since 1960, there have been a total of 23 quarterbacks taken first overall as Stafford was in the 2009 draft. Only seven 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, Eli Manning, and Cam Newton.
EZEKIEL ELLIOTT FACTS
With 1,551 rushing yards, Elliott already has the sixth-best single-season performance in Dallas history. A 90-yard average over the last two games will give him the third-best output in club history.
In order to break Eric Dickerson’s single-season rushing record of 1,808, Elliott will need to average 128.5 yards over the last two games.
If Elliott can maintain his 5.0 yards per carry, he will have the third-highest yards per carry among a Cowboys starting running back in a single season.
Elliott’s 110.8 yards per game ties him with Emmitt Smith for the second-best in club history. DeMarco Murray tops the list at 115.3.
With 13 rushing touchdowns, Elliott is already tied for fifth-most in club history in a single season. Two more would give him fourth-most but nowhere near Smith’s first place with 25 rushing touchdowns set in 1995.
Elliott is tied with David Johnson for the second-most first downs on third-and-1 in the NFL. Leading the way is Murray with 10.
Elliott joins Calvin Hill and Emmitt Smith as the only Cowboys rookie running backs to have made the Pro Bowl.
Elliott has a full 327-yard lead over Murray for first place in rushing yards. If Elliott were to sit out the next two games, Murray would have to average 163.5 yards each game to catch up.
Elliott has the third-most all-purpose touchdowns in the NFL with 14.
The last time Elliott played on a Monday night at AT&T Stadium was the 2014 College Football Championship when he carried the ball 36 times for 246 yards and four touchdowns.
JASON GARRETT FACTS
This is the 26th week of Garrett’s career that the Cowboys have been in undisputed first place in the NFC East.
Garrett, Wade Phillips, and Tom Landry are the only Cowboys head coaches to ever lead the club to 12-2 starts.
Garrett’s team is tied for the eighth-fewest penalties in the NFL with 105.
Garrett is 2-2 against the Lions. Here is how he compares to other Cowboys head coaches:
Tom Landry: 7-4
Bill Parcells: 3-1
Wade Phillips: 1-0
Jason Garrett: 2-2
Jimmy Johnson: 1-2
Barry Switzer: 0-1
Dave Campo: 0-2
Garrett is 2-0 against Jim Caldwell.
Garrett has a 7-7 record the NFC North with a 4-3 record at home. It is his second-worst winning percentage against any other NFC division:
NFC West: 7-6
NFC North: 7-7
NFC South: 5-8
Garrett’s 14-13 December record is the second-best in Cowboys history:
Tom Landry: 63-43-1
Jason Garrett: 14-13
Jimmy Johnson: 13-7
Bill Parcells: 8-9
Barry Switzer: 7-8
Wade Phillips: 5-7
Dave Campo: 4-9
Chan Gailey: 3-5
Jason Garrett is 2-3 on ESPN Monday Night Football. Here are other Cowboys head coaches’ records on ESPN:
Wade Phillips: 3-1
Jimmy Johnson: 1-1
Chan Gailey: 1-1
Jason Garrett: 2-3
Tom Landry: 0-2
Dave Campo: 0-3
Bill Parcells: 0-4 (one MNF game)
Garrett is 16-17 in prime time with a 9-7 record at home.
Garrett has put together a winning streak in December 2/8 times since becoming head coach in 2010.
JIM CALDWELL FACTS
Caldwell and Jim Schwartz are the only Lions head coaches to lead the club to a 9-5 start.
Caldwell is the first Lions head coach since Wayne Fontes to lead the club to multiple nine-plus win seasons. From 1998-2013, Detroit only amassed two between six head coaches including one interim.
Against the Cowboys and Garrett for a career, Caldwell holds a 0-2 record.
Against teams Caldwell has lost to initially, he is 4-6 in rematches.
As the Lions head coach, Caldwell is 0-1 against Dallas. Here is how he compares to other Detroit head coaches:
Wayne Fontes: 3-1
Jim Schwartz: 2-1
Marty Mornhinweg: 2-0
Monte Clark: 1-0
Rod Marinelli: 1-1
George Wilson: 1-1
Darryl Rogers: 1-2
Jim Caldwell: 0-1
Rick Forzano: 0-1
Tommy Hudspeth: 0-1
Steve Mariucci: 0-3
Joe Schmidt: 0-3
Caldwell is 4-2 against the NFC East with a 0-2 record on the road.
Caldwell is 12-7 in prime time games with a 7-3 record on the road.
Caldwell is 15-8 in December with a 6-5 record on the road.
Caldwell has an 8-17 record in the Central Time Zone.
Caldwell is 17/30 on challenges for his career and 7/14 in Detroit.
WFAA will simulcast the game in Dallas-Fort Worth, and are the fifth Metroplex station to do so since 1987. Here is a list of the other stations that have simulcast Cowboys cable games and the Cowboys’ records:
KXAS (1987-90): 1-2
KTXA (1991-12): 13-15
KTXD (2013): 0-1
WFAA (2014): 0-1
KTVT (2014): 1-0
WFAA (2015): 1-0
KTVT (2015): 0-1
The Cowboys are 46-35 on WFAA, including simulcast games.
The Nov. 13, 1988 ESPN Sunday Night Football game between Minnesota and Dallas was blacked out in Dallas-Fort Worth, and probably for good reason. The Vikings handed the Cowboys their largest margin of defeat on ESPN with a 43-3 drumming.
The only quarterback the Cowboys have faced on both of ESPN’s telecasts is Eli Manning, who remains a perfect 3-0 against the Cowboys having played them in three different venues (2004: Giants Stadium; 2006: Texas Stadium; 2010: AT&T Stadium).
Going back to 2000, the Dallas Cowboys have only had three rushers go over 100 yards in an ESPN telecast: Troy Hambrick (2001), Julius Jones (2004), Felix Jones (2011), and DeMarco Murray (2014).
Dallas Cowboy Victor Butler recorded the most sacks in an ESPN game with two, while DeMarcus Ware’s 7.5 sacks is the most for a Cowboys career on ESPN.
Bill Parcells holds the distinction as being the only NFL head coach to have coached on ESPN Sunday Night Football and ESPN Monday Night Football in the same calendar year (1/1/06 and 10/23/06)
In inter-conference games, the Dallas Cowboys have only played the AFC East on ESPN.
All of the Cowboys’ African-American quarterbacks started on ESPN: Randall Cunningham (2000), Anthony Wright (2000-01), Quincy Carter (2002-03), and Dak Prescott (2016)
On ESPN Monday Night Football, the Dallas Cowboys have worn only their white jerseys. However, they had occasions to wear their “cursed blues” on ESPN Sunday Night Football. Here’s their record in their blue and white jerseys:
ESPN only showed Sunday night games during the second half of the season from 1987-97. From 1990-97, TNT carried the first half of the season’s Sunday night contests. The Cowboys actually had a better record of 3-1 on TNT than their 2-12 record on ESPN Sunday Night Football.
The Cowboys have kicked off ESPN’s telecasts for the year only twice: 1989 and 1990. While many remember the Cowboys’ infamous Week 1 loss to the expansion Houston Texans, this was not ESPN’s first telecast of the season. That was three days prior on Sept. 5 when Mike Patrick, Joe Theismann, and Paul Maguire called the 49ers-Giants matchup, which became the basis for the NFL’s Kickoff Special.
Dallas has played on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday on ESPN.
For ESPN telecasts since 1987, September is the most-played month for the Cowboys, who hold a 3-3 record. Here is the Cowboys’ record in the other months in which they have played on ESPN:
The Cowboys have been on both sides of one-point contests on ESPN. The first was a 31-32 loss to the Arizona Cardinals on 9/10/00, while their victory was the 25-24 thriller in Buffalo on 10/8/07.
Only three current Cowboys have played on both of ESPN’s telecasts: Jason Witten, L.P. Ladouceur, and Tony Romo (holder).
Andy Reid and Tom Coughlin are the only two coaches to have faced the Dallas Cowboys on both of ESPN’s NFL packages. However, Coughlin is the only coach to have defeated the Cowboys on both packages.
Parcells and Wade Phillips are the only two Cowboys head coaches to have coached against their former teams on ESPN telecasts (Parcells: Patriots in ’03 and Giants in ’06; Phillips: Bills in ’07). Only Phillips defeated his former team.
Since ESPN’s NFL coverage moved to Monday nights, the only venue outside of Texas in which the Cowboys have played is Ralph Wilson Stadium in Buffalo, the site of rookie Nick Folk’s game-winning field goal on 10/8/07.
Sean McDonough, Jon Gruden, and Lisa Salters are the current talent for ESPN Monday Night Football. Here is the Cowboys’ record for all talent that participated in ESPN’s coverage of Dallas Cowboys football since 1987:
Mike Patrick: 2-12
Roy Firestone: 0-1
Joe Theismann: 2-12
Paul Maguire: 1-9
Solomon Wilcots: 1-4
Suzy Kolber: 4-8
Mike Tirico: 5-5
Tony Kornheiser: 2-1
Michele Tafoya: 3-2
Jon Gruden: 3-4
Ron Jaworski: 4-1
Ed Werder (2011, Cowboys sideline): 1-0
Lisa Salters: 1-3
Out of past and present ESPN talent, only two have connections to Dallas. Ed Werder currently resides in the Metroplex to cover the Cowboys, while Lisa Salters is Tony Dorsett’s cousin.
This is only the third time in Monday Night Football’s history that there has been a two-man team covering the game. In 1986, ABC experimented with Al Michaels and Frank Gifford calling the action before adding Dan Dierdorf in 1987. ABC went back to the two-man team in 2002 by adding only John Madden.
Another quoted statistic going into this game is how the Cowboys have the second-most Monday Night Football appearances with 77. The Dolphins have 82. The reality behind that statistic is in 2006 the NFL moved its marquee game from Monday Night Football to Sunday Night Football. The truth is the Dolphins have had 11 MNF appearances since 2006 versus the Cowboys’ 10. However, since 2006, the Cowboys have had 40 SNF appearances versus the Dolphins’ one. So, actually, the correct way to look at this statistic is the Cowboys lead the league with 151 marquee game appearances versus the Dolphins’ 126.
JOHN HUSSEY FACTS
The Cowboys have never had Hussey as a referee in any of their games.
Hussey has the second-highest home team winning percentage in the league:
Walt Anderson: .846
John Hussey: .643
John Parry: .643
Gene Steratore: .615
Bill Vinovich: .615
Brad Allen: .615
Tony Corrente: .615
Jerome Boger: .615
Carl Cheffers: .607
Walt Coleman: .546
Jeff Triplette: .538
Craig Wrolstad: .538
Clete Blakeman: .500
Ron Torbert: .462
Ed Hochuli: .429
Pete Morelli: .429
Terry McAulay: .318
Hussey has the seventh-highest percentage of home teams having fewer penalties:
Tony Corrente: .769
Walt Coleman: .727
Carl Cheffers: .714
Ed Hochuli: .643
John Parry: .643
Terry McAulay: .546
John Hussey: .500
Pete Morelli: .500
Gene Steratore: .462
Brad Allen: .462
Walt Anderson: .462
Ron Torbert: .462
Jeff Triplette: .462
Craig Wrolstad: .462
Bill Vinovich: .385
Clete Blakeman: .357
Jerome Boger: .308
The Lions are 3-0 when Hussey referees their games. Here are the results:
2015 – @GB, 18-16 – W
2015 – @CHI, 24-20 – W
2016 – Rams, 31-28 – W
The Lions have had fewer penalties than the opposition 2/3 times:
2015 – GB: 5/55; DET: 3/35
2015 – CHI: 1/15; DET: 4/21
2016 – Rams: 8/62; DET: 7/62
The Lions have challenged Hussey’s calls just once and they lost. The opposition has yet to challenge and the same goes for Replay Assistant.
The Lions have the highest time of possession per drive at 3:09. Trailing them are the Cowboys at 3:03.
The Cowboys defense now gives up the fewest rushing yards per game at 80.9.
The Lions defense has the second-highest opposing quarterback passer rating at 102.1.
Romo is 2-3 against Detroit with a 104.3 passer rating. On average, he goes 25/37 for 291 yards, two touchdowns, one interception, and takes three sacks.
The only time Romo faced Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin was the 2014 wildcard playoffs. Romo went 19/31 for 293 yards, two touchdowns, 114.0 passer rating, and took six sacks.
The only time Witten faced Austin was in the 2014 wildcard playoffs during Dallas’ 24-20 win. Witten caught five passes for 63 yards, including key 21-yard pass on fourth-and-6 with 6:00 to go in the game.
Dez Bryant is similarly 1-0 against Austin also thanks to the same game. Bryant caught three catches for 48 yards.
The Cowboys are 4-2 on Dec. 26. Here are the results:
1970 – DET, 5-0 – W
1977 – CHI, 37-7 – W
1983 – Rams, 17-24 – L
1982 – PHI, 20-24 – L
1993 – WAS, 38-3 – W
2004 – WAS, 13-10 – W
Detroit is 3-3 on Dec. 26. Here are the results:
1954 – @CLE, 10-56 – L
1970 – @DAL, 0-5 – L
1982 – @TB, 21-23 – L
1993 – @CHI, 20-14 – W
2004 – CHI, 19-13 – W
2010 – @MIA, 34-27 – W
Dallas has two birthdays to celebrate on Dec. 26:
Curvin Richards, RB, 1991-92 – 12/26/1968
Chris Gronkowski, FB, 2010 – 12/26/1986null