DETROIT -- The
Jason Hanson kicked his third field goal from 43 yards out with 48
seconds left to help the Lions defeat the
|The Lions' Donte Curry knocks the ball from Cowboys QB Chad Hutchinson; Detroit recovered. (AP)|
The Lions (3-5) have lost all 12 of the road games they've played under Mornhinweg, but at Ford Field, they've beaten New Orleans, Chicago and now the Cowboys (3-6).
Joey Harrington, Detroit's rookie quarterback, struggled for much of the game, but he completed his longest pass of the day -- a 13-yarder to James Stewart -- on fourth-and-3 from the Dallas 43 to keep the game-winning drive going.
Harrington completed three of four passes on the drive, which began on the Lions 37, and Stewart ran four times to set up the field goal.
"I don't want the game to come down to me -- we want to win by a touchdown or two -- but I always tell myself to be prepared," Hanson said.
The Lions started 0-12 last year and finished 2-14, the second-worst record in the league behind Carolina's 1-15 mark.
One week after breaking Walter Payton's NFL record for career rushing yardage, the Cowboys' Emmitt Smith ran for just 39 yards on 16 carries. Smith now has 16,782 yards over his 13-year career.
In a city still bitter about Barry Sanders' abrupt retirement three years ago, Smith was booed when he was introduced, and he heard a few "Bar-ry! Bar-ry!" chants, especially when he was stopped behind the line of scrimmage.
"Hey, I'm in Detroit," Smith said. "Anything less would be uncivilized."
Sanders ran for 15,269 yards in just 10 seasons with the Lions and was one typical season away from breaking Payton's record. Smith said earlier this week that he'd still be chasing the rushing record if Sanders hadn't retired.
Troy Hambrick replaced Smith on third-and-short situations and got the only score for the Cowboys. Hambrick's 3-yard run put Dallas ahead 7-6 with 7:42 to play.
Dallas forced the Lions to punt on the next possession, but the Cowboys couldn't produce a first down, giving the Lions another chance.
With no timeouts and 48 seconds left, Dallas couldn't get past its own 38 on the final possession.
"You can call it ugly, you can call it whatever you want, but we won, we won, we won," said Harrington, who finished 14-of-33 for 104 yards with two interceptions, both by Derek Ross.
Chad Hutchinson, in his second start for the Cowboys, lost two of his three fumbles. He was 22-of-39 for 208 yards without a TD or an interception and was sacked five times.
"The game reminded me of one in 1989, when Troy Aikman was sacked 11 times but kept getting up and making throws," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said. "I'm very proud and pleased with the way Chad played, and the toughness he showed."
Detroit linebacker Donte Curry forced Hutchinson to fumble twice in Dallas territory. The second time, Curry blew past Smith, and the fumble set up the first score of the game.
Hanson's 42-yard kick gave Detroit a 3-0 lead early in the third quarter. He kicked a 44-yarder on the Lions' next drive.
Hambrick's go-ahead TD capped a 12-play, 80-yard drive that took up 6:06. On third-and-9 from midfield, Hutchinson threw a perfect 30-yard fade pass to Joey Galloway along the sideline. Hambrick also ran for a first down on a third-and-1 from Detroit's 16.
Both teams struggled in the first half.
Detroit gained just 50 yards and was 1-for-8 on third downs. Dallas gained 113 yards and was 1-for-7 on third downs.
After Detroit went three-and-out on four consecutive drives, Curry forced Hutchinson's first fumble, and James Hall recovered it midway through the second quarter at the Dallas 32.
Two plays later, Ross intercepted a pass in the end zone that had Harrington forced into double-coverage. Ross' second interception came late in the third, when Harrington lobbed a pass to Scotty Anderson at midfield.
"You can't ask much more from your defense," Dallas coach Dave Campo said.
The Associated Press News Service
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