Cowboys rookie LB DeMarcus Lawrence went from goof to great in a key final series in their playoff win over the Detroit Lions.
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The Dallas Cowboys got a lot of help from the referees in their Wildcard playoff victory over the Detroit Lions, but it took a lot of great plays by their QB, their defense and the rest of the offense to make that comeback a reality and get the Cowboys their first playoff win since 2009. Regardless of how they won, the Cowboys are still in the playoff race – heading to Green Bay for a rematch of the famous 1967 Ice Bowl – for a chance to play in the NFC Championship game against the Seahawks (or the Panthers).
Winning a playoff game is hard – just ask the Bengals, Lions and Chiefs – but somehow, some way, the Cowboys managed to pull it off, which makes them one of the grittiest teams in the NFL playoffs to face – and puts the rest of the NFL on notice that no lead (not even a 14-point first quarter lead) is safe against them.
Here are the 10 best performers from the Wildcard round of the NFL playoffs:
10. PK Adam Vinatieri, Colts
The way the Bengals were playing the Colts didn’t even need any FGs to win – after all, the defense only allowed 10 points. But PK Adam Vinatieri, the oldest player in the NFL at 42 years old, showed why even at his age he still has one of the best legs in football. The 2014 All-Pro went a perfect 4-for-4 on FGs, including a booming 53-yarder in the fourth quarter that put the Colts impossibly ahead of the Bengals.
9. DE DeMarcus Lawrence, Cowboys
Coming into the game the only thing people really knew about Lawrence was that he didn’t have a sack for his entire rookie season. But the young Cowboy added his name to Cowboys lore on the final Lions drive of the game, recovering a Matthew Stafford fumble before fumbling the ball right back to the Lions to save Detroit’s last drive. Had the Detroit Lions scored Lawrence’s name might have been added next to Leon Lett’s for infamous foul-ups in Cowboys history. But with one minute to go, Lawrence redeemed himself, sacking Stafford and forcing the ball out and falling on it to seal the win for the Cowboys – and saving his legacy from the infamy of Leon Lett-letdown.