Felix Jones (16 carries, 57 yards) was back to being just a guy after an outstanding performance Monday night. The Cowboys need more than 3.6 yards per carry from their featured back. At least Tashard Choice turned in his first solid rushing performance of the season, picking up 39 yards on six carries. At some point, the Cowboys need both backs to click. Rookie third-round pick DeMarco Murray (four carries, 12 yards) continues to be a nonfactor.
One ugly statistic outweighs all the pretty ones. The Cowboys can't afford for Tony Romo to throw three interceptions, especially when two are returned for TDs. For the second time this season, his turnovers are the primary reason the Cowboys lost. Other than those three throws, the passing game clicked. Romo threw for 331 yards and three TDs, with Laurent Robinson (seven catches, 116 yards), Jason Witten (eight catches, 94 yards, TD) and Dez Bryant (two TDs) all playing major roles.
Detroit's Jahvid Best, who entered the game averaging only 2.9 yards per carry, burst off left tackle for 19 yards on the first snap. The Lions, as usual, didn't do a whole lot on the ground the rest of the game. They gained only 44 yards on their other 16 carries. Then again, it's not like the Cowboys deserve credit for making one of the NFL's worst rushing offenses look mediocre.
Rob Ryan's crew did a lot of things right against one of the NFL's most potent passing offenses. Detroit's Matthew Stafford completed less than half of his passes (21 of 43) and averaged less than 6 yards per attempt, way off his impressive numbers from the Lions' first three games. But the Lions' passing game came alive in the fourth quarter, when Stafford completed 10 of 16 passes for 121 yards and two touchdowns, both of which came on leaping catches by Calvin Johnson. Dallas' pass rush was muted (zero sacks).
It was fun to see defensive end Sean Lissemore, a high school sprinter, show off his speed on a 38-yard kickoff return. Dwayne Harris was pretty good on kickoff returns, too, averaging 28 yards on two tries. Mat McBriar averaged 53.7 yards on three punts. Dan Bailey extended his streak of consecutive made field goals to 11. But the Cowboys had a couple of special teams penalties: holding on Frank Walker during a punt return and illegal formation on Phillip Tanner on a kickoff.
When a team blows the biggest lead in a loss in franchise history, the coach gets a big share of the blame. There were also some easy second guesses on strategic decisions by Jason Garrett. The Cowboys went for it on fourth-and-goal from the 1 and got stuffed when they ran right at Pro Bowl defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. Garrett declined an offensive pass interference penalty two plays before Jason Hanson's 51-yard field goal in the fourth quarter.