The Lions (2-14), who will be moving to their new downtown stadium, Ford Field, in August, thrilled the sellout crowd with a come-from-behind win in their final game at the Silverdome, their home since 1975.
"It's important that the last memory is a victory," Morton said of the final game here.
Smith provided the fans with a piece of history, rushing for 77 yards on 18 carries to surpass 1,000 yards for the 11th consecutive season. He and former Lions great Sanders shared the record with 10 straight 1,000-yard seasons.
"I wanted to be a consistent back for a long period of time and I think having 1,000 yards over 11 consecutive years has put me in that category," Smith said.
"Emmitt got his 1,000 yards and that's something to be proud of, especially since he missed two games (due to injuries)," Cowboys coach Dave Campo said.
Needing 56 yards to reach 1,0000, Smith rushed for 45 by halftime. With under four minutes left in the third quarter, Smith took a pitch left and ran behind Pro Bowl guard Larry Allen for a 13-yard gain to pass 1,000 yards.
"The line made a great block. I had plenty of room," Smith said of his 13-yard run which pushed him over 1,000.
Smith, who opened the scoring with a two-yard touchdown run 1:32 into the second quarter, rushed for 1,021 yards on 261 carries this season.
Finishing off his 12th season with the Cowboys, the 32-year-old Smith has 16,187 yards. Sanders rushed for 15,269 yards in 10 years with the Detroit Lions.
Walter Payton is the NFL's all-time leading rusher with 16,726 yards in 13 years with the Chicago Bears.
With just two wins under rookie coach Marty Mornhinweg, the Lions will have the third overall pick in the 2002 draft behind expansion Houston and Carolina.
"We went through four or five seasons of adversity this year," said Mornhinweg after his team split its final four games after a 2-12 start. "This team took the high road and stayed together."
Detroit's Ty Detmer, who entered the game with one touchdown and 10 interceptions, completed 24-of-40 passes for 242 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions.
"This was huge for everybody," Detmer said. "We all went through a lot this year. The offensive line played great today."
With a minus-17 turnover ratio, the Lions did not commit a turnover.
"That's how you win a football game, no turnovers, no sacks and one penalty, tough defense and a smart offense," Mornhinweg said.
The Cowboys finished 5-11 for the second straight year under Campo.
Jon Hilbert's 33-yard field goal five seconds into the fourth quarter gave the Cowboys a 10-9 lead.
"(Tight end David) Sloan picked up the blitz, gave me the time so I could look for the No. 2 option which was Morton," Detmer said of the winning touchdown.
Sloan had a 20-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter and Morton finished with eight catches for 86 yards, giving him a career-high 1,154 yards.