Mr. Rogers’ Lions Are Cowboy Tamers, 26-21

<i> From Times Wire Services </i>

The Detroit Lions treated their opportunities like paychecks--they cashed in on every one.

Dallas gave the ball to Detroit in scoring territory four times--twice at the start of each half--and the Lions turned the three interceptions and a fumble into 23 points and went on to record a 26-21 victory over the Cowboys Sunday.

“I don’t think there’s any doubt about it. Detroit deserved to win this one,” Dallas Coach Tom Landry said after his team’s first loss.

“This was not a very good week for us after Monday night (when the Cowboys beat Washington, 44-14). We didn’t seem to be able to settle down all week.

“Not only was it a short week, there were a lot of distractions. We just weren’t ready. We were flat.”


Landry also took the blame for passing up a field-goal opportunity inside the Detroit 10 at a time in the second quarter when the Lions held a 10-0 lead.

“It was dumb play to try to score a touchdown rather than take the field goal,” Landry said. “I’ll take all the blame. Initially I thought it was inches. When I saw it was a full yard, I should have called a timeout.”

Darryl Rogers, Detroit’s rookie coach, said: “They had a bad game. They’ve had bad games before, I’ve seen them. We all do--nobody is immune. It’s a tremendous thing for us to have this much success at this point.”

Rogers is 2-0 with the Lions.

Quarterback Eric Hipple passed for a touchdown and ran for another to help Detroit score the game’s first 26 points.

Hipple scored from the one and hit Jeff Chadwick with a 21-yard touchdown pass. Fullback James Jones scored from the two, and Ed Murray kicked field goals from the 34 and 46.

Rogers, fresh from the college ranks were he coached at Fresno State, San Jose State, Michigan State and Arizona State, seems to have instilled a new spirit with the Lions.

Said Hipple: “There’s a tremendous positive attitude on the team right now. Coach expects a lot out of us. He tries to understand us and we try to understand him. He doesn’t throw fits. He’s always in control.”

Said Rogers: “Our defense played extremely well. We had interceptions every way possible. The defense made the offense look good because they got them such good field position.”

The Cowboys rolled up 554 yards in total offense to just 200 for Detroit.

The Cowboys didn’t score until the fourth quarter when quarterback Gary Hogeboom came on for Danny White, who suffered a sprained thumb.

Landry made it clear, however, that he had not soured on White. “I don’t think I’ll have to make a lot of changes, unless I really don’t know this football team,” he said.

Hogeboom threw touchdown passes of 11 and 44 yards to Tony Hill and ran one yard for the Cowboys’ final touchdown with 20 seconds remaining.

Hogeboom completed 17 of 24 attempts for 255 yards. White hit 23 of 38 for 226 yards and threw 3 interceptions.

“There were some fluky things happened that just went against us,” White said. “We got behind early. There’s no excuse for it. We just didn’t react very well to what they were doing.”

Hill finished with a personal-best of 11 catches for 181 yards, and Doug Cosbie caught 11 passes for 159 yards for Dallas.

A crowd of 72,985, including Commissioner Pete Rozelle, watched the game in the Silverdome.