It all started out innocently enough until Troy Hambrick had the football ripped out of his hands while struggling for extra yardage in Lions' territory midway through the first quarter. The Lions' Dre Bly scooped it up and returned it 67 yards for the touchdown.
Just like that, it was 7-0, Detroit.
The sinking feeling in the stomach of Cowboys' fans got even sicker when Aveion Cason fumbled the ensuing kickoff while carrying the ball loosely, but the Cowboys recovered.
Fortunately for Cowboys fans, that would be all the highlights for the Detroit Lions on this afternoon.
Total domination by the Dallas Cowboys ensued, as Quincy Carter hit Terry Glenn for not one, not two, but three scores in the first half.
On the first scoring strike Quincy rifled a pass into coverage and Terry Glenn did an amazing job of keeping his feet in bounds in the back of the end zone. The Lions had the play reviewed, but replays confirmed it was indeed a touchdown.
Billy Cundiff actually nailed a 53-yard field goal on the Cowboys' first drive, only to have the Lions commit an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty leading Parcells taking the points off the board.
On the ensuing possession, Detroit managed one of their few first downs but had to punt, with the Boys taking over on their 17. What followed
was a 6 play, 83 yard drive, helped in no small measure by two more 15 yard penalties on the Lions. The drive ended when Glenn caught his second touchdown pass, a diving catch that went for 19 yards.
The score gave the Cowboys a 14-7 lead, and from that point on, they simply never looked back.
On the next possession, Lions' quarterback Joey Harrington failed to notice Dexter Coakley in the short zone while being blitzed on a third down pass, and Coakley picked his pass off and returned it to the Lions' 8. Carter found Glenn wide open on the first play for an easy TD, their third hookup of the first half.
The rout was on.
The Lions and Cowboys exchanged punts on the next two possessions, then Harrington made his second bad decision, trying to force a pass that was picked off by Mario Edwards and returned 27 yards for a TD. 28-7, Dallas. It was at that point that Steve Mariucci jerked his starter,
inserting Mike McMahon. He didn?t fare any better.
The half ended at 28-7, and the happiest guy on the field had to be Bill Parcells. His team was winning handily, yet at the same time they had made enough mistakes for him to give them a hard time in practice this week.
The Cowboys got the ball to open the second half, and promptly ate up half of the third quarter while driving for their final touchdown.
The running game was key in this drive (Larry Allen was quite dominant), as they went 81 yards in 13 plays, including 9 rushes and 4 passes.
Detroit promptly went 3 and out yet again, and the Cowboys mounted an 11 play drive that closed out the quarter, but stalled down deep, leading
to a 23 yard field goal by Cundiff.
The bottom line this afternoon is that the Dallas Cowboys were dominant across all phases of the game. Toby Gowin was effective punting, pinning the Lions inside their 20 on 2 of his 5 punts and still averaging 41.6 yards per kick. Kickoff coverage was somewhat better than it had been earlier in the season, the Lions started at or inside their 30 on each kick.
On offense, the running game was again productive, keeping the Lions off the field for a majority of the second half, including all but one minute of the third quarter.
The passing game was efficient if not spectacular. The run defense was decent, 20 carries for 76 yards, and the pass defense was brilliant Lions' quarterbacks combined to complete just 10 of 33 passes, with 3 interceptions, for 75 net yards.
The Cowboys face the ultimate challenge next week when then travel to Tampay Bay to face the world chamipion Buccaneers.
Dallas Pummels Detroit, 38-7
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