Originally posted on Fox Sports Southwest  |  Last updated 10/2/11
ARLINGTON, Texas The Detroit Lions' offense must be headed to the Hall of Fame. After all, they just beat "the best defensive personnel in football" on Sunday. Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan might want to rethink that declaration and other boasts he made Friday, two days before a crushing, 34-30 loss to the Lions. Granted, Tony Turnover played the biggest role in helping the Lions overcome a 24-point deficit in the second half the largest blown lead in Cowboys' history. Two of Romo's three second-half interceptions were returned for touchdowns, but the Dallas defense had opportunities to deliver in crunch time. They just couldn't make plays as big as their coordinator's mouth. The "best defensive personnel in football" never sacked Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford. They forced just one turnover and allowed the Lions' offense to score 17 points in the fourth quarter. The most egregious error the Cowboys made was not containing Lions star Calvin Johnson, whom Ryan said would be the No. 3 receiver on the Cowboys' roster. "We work against better receivers in practice with Miles Austin and Dez Bryant," Ryan said Friday. "They are probably two of the premier receivers in football, but this guy is right there. He's almost that good." When the smoke cleared, Johnson had eight catches for 96 yards and two touchdowns. Both scores came in the fourth quarter, including one where Johnson was surrounded by three Cowboys. Cowboys tight end Jason Witten had just as many catches as Johnson. Dez Bryant had just as many touchdowns, and Laurent Robinson had more receiving yards (Austin was out with an injury). But no Cowboys receiver came up with a big play to save the game the way Johnson did. It's great that Ryan believes in his players so much. And for two quarters, when the Lions and their many playmakers were held to just a field goal, Ryan's bragging didn't sound so crazy. But there's a reason coaches rarely boast about their own players publicly it usually comes back to haunt them. It's in Ryan's DNA to say outlandish things and exude supreme confidence. But this isn't the '85 Bears or the Reggie White Eagles. This is a team trying to regain its confidence after a horrid 2010 season. Yet Ryan didn't hesitate the other day when asked if he has the best defensive talent in the league. "I know I do," Ryan said. "This is the best defensive personnel in football, and I'm fortunate enough to be here." While that statement may have boosted the confidence of some of his players, they couldn't live up to it. Even after two pick-sixes, the Cowboys still held a 30-24 lead when Detroit got the ball at the Dallas 47 with 7:36 left. Thanks to a holding call and a delay penalty, the Lions soon found themselves in a first-and-25 at the 45. Detroit still managed to get close enough for Jason "Old Man" Hanson to boot a 51-yard field goal. After Romo's third interception, the Lions started at the Cowboys' 40 with 4:13 left. Two quick completions to Johnson moved them to the 16. Then Johnson caught the game-winning TD by easily shielding cornerback Terence Newman from the ball. So the Lions improve to 4-0 while the Cowboys drop to 2-2. If it weren't for Romo's turnovers, the Cowboys could easily be 4-0, too. The Cowboys also might be undefeated if they truly did have the best defensive talent in football, but it's going to take a while for this unit to catch up to its coach's boasts. Follow Keith Whitmire on Twitter: @Keith_Whitmire
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