Ranking every time the Lions played against Tony Romo
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo officially retired from football earlier this week. Although Romo’s Cowboys teams rarely met the Lions over the past 10 years, when they did meet it usually produced incredible games. None of Romo’s five meetings with the Lions was decided by more than 8 points, with the Lions winning three of five.
I ranked every game between the Lions and Cowboys during the Romo era on excitement, importance and just overall quality of football.
- December 31st, 2006. Detroit Lions 39 – Dallas Cowboys 31
The Lions ended their 2006 in Dallas. The Lions entered the game at 2-13, and were at the point where they were just assessing the roster for next season. The Cowboys had already clinched a wild card spot, and had a slight shot at the division title.
It was a nice chance for the Jon Kitna-led Lions to play spoiler, but the Cowboys were also themselves occupied with just escaping the game injury free. Both Romo and Kitna eclipsed 300 yards, and Kitna threw three touchdowns.
- December 9th, 2007. Dallas Cowboys 28 – Detroit Lions 27
The Detroit Lions were in full free fall at this point in the 2007 season (a free fall that lasted until 2009), having lost four straight after racing off to a 6-2 start to the season. The 6-6 Lions were met by an 11-1 Dallas Cowboys team that had the Super Bowl on their mind.
Detroit was in control for much of the first half. The held a 20-7 lead at one point during the second quarter, with a chance to pull off a huge upset against a Super Bowl contender and maybe get back on track. The Cowboys scored 21 points in the game’s final 16 minutes, including a game-winning touchdown pass from Romo to Jason Witten with 18 seconds left to play.
Romo would win the series 2-0 against Jon Kitna led Detroit Lions teams, Kitna later became Romo’s backup in Dallas.
- October 2nd, 2011. Detroit Lions 34 – Dallas Cowboys 30
Matthew Stafford and Tony Romo face off for the first time in an incredibly sloppy game. The Lions were having one of their greatest seasons in franchise history, and entered the game at a perfect 3-0. The Cowboys were 2-1.
Dallas opened up a 17 point lead in the first half, and went into the break up 20-3. Romo put the Lions back in the game himself, throwing two pick-6’s in the third quarter to Bobby Carpenter and Chris Houston. He threw his third interception with just under 5 minutes to play in the fourth, setting up Matthew Stafford to throw a game-winning touchdown to Calvin Johnson with under two minutes on the clock.
Stafford threw for 240 yards and two touchdowns in a decent performance to continue make Detroit 4-0. Romo had a classic Romo game. He threw 331 yards and three touchdowns. But in the end, it was Romo’s three interceptions that lost the Cowboys the game.
- January 4th, 2015. Detroit Lions 20 – Dallas Cowboys 24
Yup, that game.
Stafford and Romo met for the final time in the 2014 playoffs. The Lions were a wild card team carried by their historically good defense, and Tony Romo and the Cowboys had finally put it all together and were a powerhouse in the NFC East.
The Lions came out hot. Golden Tate and Reggie Bush both scored early touchdowns to give the Lions a 14-0 lead. Detroit was a disaster in the second half, though. They chose to sit on their lead and play passively, trying to do no more than just survive the game.
The play everyone remembers from this game came early in the fourth quarter. Anthony Hitchens was entirely turned around when defending Brandon Pettigrew on a third down play, and was obstructing his arms. A flag was initially thrown for a pass interference. After discussion between the refs (and Dez Bryant apparently), the flag was picked up.
Detroit was both confused and infuriated. The took an intentional delay of game and elected to punt, even though it was still fourth and one around midfield. Momentum had shifted entirely and the Cowboys scored touchdowns on their two ensuing possessions (which had a few suspect no calls themselves).
Dallas won on a late touchdown pass from Romo to Terrance Williams, and hearts were broken all around Detroit.
Romo threw for 293 yards and two touchdowns, he was also sacked six times. Stafford went for 323 yards along with a touchdown and an interception. This game also proved to be a coming-out party of some sorts for Darius Slay, as he locked down Bryant for much of the game.
- October 27th, 2013. Dallas Cowboys 30 – Detroit Lions 31
Many Lions fans remember this one as “The Calvin Johnson game.”
Before the game, the Cowboys Dez Bryant made comments to the media on how he believed that Calvin Johnson was not a better receiver than him, hoping to prove himself during the game. Bryant had a decent game, he only had 3 receptions but they were for 72 yards and two touchdowns.
Calvin Johnson caught 14 passes for 329 yards. The second highest total in NFL history and the most ever in a regulation game.
The first half was slow, but had a few huge plays to keep the energy going. The fourth quarter may have been one of the greatest 15 minutes in NFL history. The teams combined for 41 points in the fourth quarter as the game evolved into a shootout.
Detroit looked all but out of it late in the game. But the Cowboys failed to run out the clock and gave the Lions back the ball with under two minutes to play. Stafford and Johnson combined to put together and incredible drive to get all the way down to the one yard line.
Stafford rushed his offense to the line with seconds to play and no timeouts to spike the ball. He didn’t spike the ball, though, and instead hopped over the pile for an incredible game-winning touchdown.
Roma had a decent game. He threw for 3 touchdowns but competed under 50% of his passes. Stafford had one of the best performances of his career. He threw for 488 yards, two touchdowns and one infamous rushing touchdown.
Stafford defeated Romo in both of their regular season match ups, with Romo winning their single post season meeting.
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