Lions beat Cowboys on Stafford's heads-up TD
Detroit, MI (SportsNetwork.com) - Matthew Stafford lunged for a touchdown with 12 seconds left to give the Detroit Lions a 31-30 victory over the Dallas Cowboys in a thriller at Ford Field.
Detroit trailed by six points with 1:02 left and started the winning drive at its own 20.
A 17-yard catch from Calvin Johnson was followed by Stafford's toss down the left sideline for Kris Durham for 40 yards. Stafford then went back to Johnson for 22 yards down to the Dallas 1 and raced to set up a spike.
However, Stafford leaped after the snap and just got the ball over the goal line. After a review determined he had crossed the plane, David Akers kicked the extra point and the Lions had a 31-30 lead with 12 seconds to play.
"There was a lot of options he had there," said Detroit head coach Jim Schwartz. "But they never even tackled him there and I was kind of confused what they were reviewing there."
Dallas had one shot after the kickoff, but didn't get anywhere with a catch and laterals as time ran out.
Stafford finished the game with 488 yards passing, one touchdown and two interceptions while completing 33-of-48 attempts. Johnson set a career high with 329 yards on 14 catches with a score for the Lions (5-3), who bounced back from a three-point loss to Cincinnati last week.
Johnson's game was just seven yards short of the NFL record for most receiving yards in one game, set by Flipper Anderson. Reggie Bush totaled 92 yards on 21 carries and a touchdown, while adding 30 yards on eight receptions in the win.
"That was just a lot of crazy out there today," said Johnson. "We were all over the place today. I'm just glad that I was able to be out there and do my job."
Tony Romo was 14-for-30 for 206 yards and three touchdown passes, with Dez Bryant catching three balls for 72 yards and two scores for the Cowboys (4-4), who had won two straight and still lead the NFC East by one game over Philadelphia despite being at .500.
"We didn't do what we needed to do to win the ball game, period," said Dallas head coach Jason Garrett. "They did, we didn't and we have to live with that. It starts with me, then the coaching staff, and then the players. We had opportunities to end the game, and we didn't."
The offenses on both sides sputtered out the gate, with each team punting the ball on both of their first two possessions.
Starting its third drive at its own 10, Detroit quickly got into scoring position when Stafford slung a short pass over the middle for Johnson, who stiff-armed the nearest defender and raced down the field for 87 yards before being pushed out of bounds at the Dallas 3.
The Cowboys' defense firmed up in front of its own goal line and forced Detroit into a fourth down from the 2-yard line, but the Lions went for it and Stafford hit Johnson just inside the end zone for a 7-0 lead with 54 seconds left in the first quarter.
Sean Lee picked off a Stafford pass that fell out of the hands of Johnson early in the second, but Dallas had to punt the ball away again.
Following another Detroit punt, the Cowboys started with the ball at their own 20, and catches of 13 yards from Joseph Randle and Jason Witten moved the ball to midfield. The drive eventually stalled at the Lions' 35 and Dan Bailey booted a 53-yard field goal to make it a 7-3 game with 5:39 to play in the first half.
Detroit drove the field on its next touch and got into scoring position. The Lions faced a 3rd-and-5 at the Dallas 27, but Lee read the route and picked off Stafford's pass and returned it 74 yards down to the Detroit 4.
Three plays later, Romo snapped a pass to the right corner, where Bryant reached behind for the one-armed grab and a 10-7 lead heading into the break.
The turnovers continued to plague Detroit in the second half, as its first possession of the third quarter saw Bush have the ball knocked out of his hands with Dallas recovering at its own 27.
The Lions' defense continued to hold valiantly, however, and forced another punt from the Cowboys, but this time it was Johnson with the turnover as he had the ball pop out of his hands after a catch. Brandon Carr recovered the fumble and took it to midfield, with an unnecessary roughness call on Detroit giving Dallas the ball back at the Detroit 35.
Dallas gained no yards on the brief possession, but came away with three more points as Bailey booted another 53-yard field goal for a 13-7 game with 3:02 left in the third.
The Lions finally put together a second-half drive that didn't end in a turnover, and a 20-yard field goal from Akers cut the lead to 13-10 with 13:13 to play in the game. Johnson had catches of 18 and 26 yards to set up the score.
It wasn't a three-point game for long, though, as Romo hit Terrance Williams on a short pass to the right and the rookie took the ball all the way home on a 60-yard score for a 20-10 lead
The Lions came right back with an 80-yard drive that saw Joique Bell push the ball in from a yard out to pull Detroit within 20-17 with 7:38 to play. The big plays of the drive were a 21-yard pass interference call on Dallas along with a 16-yard run from Bell.
Dallas, though, again struck quickly, as Romo found Bryant on a 50-yard score of the second play of the ensuing drive for a 27-17 game with 6:45 to play.
The scores kept coming quickly, as Stafford found Johnson for a leaping 54- yard catch on the first play of the next drive to set up a 1-yard run from Bush later on that trimmed the deficit to three points.
Dallas then punted, but Detroit was held on four downs and the Cowboys benefited from the short field, leading to a 44-yard field goal from Bailey with 1:02 to play.
It was the second multi-interception game of Lee's career ... Williams has a touchdown catch in each of the last four games ... Detroit became only the second team in 56 games since 2011 to win when committing four turnovers ... Johnson has five 200-yard receiving games in his career, tying him with Lance Alworth for most ever ... Anderson had 336 yards for the Los Angeles Rams in a game against the New Orleans Saints on Nov. 26, 1989 ... Bailey tied a career- long with his two 53-yard field goals ... Detroit has off next week and will play in Chicago on Nov. 10 ... Dallas hosts Minnesota next Sunday ... Detroit has won the past two games against Dallas.
10/27 19:18:42 ET