NFL

Tony Romo rallies Cowboys past Lions, 24-20

Associated Press
Tony Romo passes for two touchdowns in second half to rally Cowboys past the Lions, 24-20

— Face down on the turf, Tony Romo pounded his hands into the ground like a petulant child.

Frustrated by a season-ending failure? Far from it. The quarterback was celebrating after giving the Dallas Cowboys the lead in a comeback victory.

Romo threw two touchdown passes to Terrance Williams, the second for the lead late in the fourth quarter, and the Cowboys rallied for a 24-20 NFC wild-card victory over the Detroit Lions on Sunday in their first playoff game in five years.

Dallas wiped out an early two-touchdown deficit to advance to a divisional game in Green Bay, their first postseason visit there since losing to the Packers in the so-called Ice Bowl in 1967.

"You just have to stay in the moment and understand the game," Romo said. "It doesn't end after the first quarter, second quarter. You just have to keep calm. I've played enough games to understand that. Maybe I didn't do that as well when I was younger."

The Lions drove 99 yards for one of two first-quarter touchdowns, but Matthew Stafford couldn't get them in the end zone again.

Detroit was driving with a 20-17 lead midway through the fourth quarter when referee Pete Morelli announced a pass interference penalty against Anthony Hitchens on a third-down pass to Brandon Pettigrew. But officials reversed the call without explanation, and Sam Martin had a 10-yard punt after the Lions tried to draw Dallas offside on fourth and one.

Pettigrew said he didn't get an explanation. Coach Jim Caldwell said he did, but didn't like it.

"Not a good enough one. I'm going to leave it at that," Caldwell said. "I'm not going to sit up here and act like that was the play that made a difference in the game. We still had our chances."

Romo took the Cowboys 59 yards in 11 plays, including a 21-yard pass to Jason Witten on fourth and six. The go-ahead, eight-yard touchdown pass to Williams came after Romo had several seconds to throw.

The Cowboys had to wait a little longer to celebrate. Rookie DeMarcus Lawrence gave the Lions the ball back with a fumble after Anthony Spencer's sack that knocked the ball loose from Stafford, who was 28 of 42 for 323 yards.

Lawrence sacked Stafford on fourth down near midfield in the final minute.

The Lions have not won a playoff game since the 1991 season, when they beat Dallas.

On Sunday, Golden Tate opened the scoring on a 51-yard reception.

The Lions went ahead, 14-0, on a drive that amounted to 99 3/4 yards. After Dekoda Watson ran into Martin to keep the drive alive, the 14-play drive ended on an 18-yard scoring run by Reggie Bush.

Williams, who finished with three catches for 92 yards, pulled the Cowboys to within seven points when he took a short pass from Romo 76 yards to the end zone.

NFL rushing champion DeMarco Murray had 75 yards in 19 carries against the league's best run defense, including a one-yard plunge on fourth down that cut the Cowboys deficit to 20-14 late in the third quarter.

Romo endured a season-high six sacks. Two were on consecutive plays in the fourth quarter by Ndamukong Suh, who was suspended Monday for stepping on Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers, but reinstated a day later.

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