Stafford’s leap stuns Cowboys; Calvin Johnson piles up 329 yards receiving
Matthew Stafford’s 1-yard lunge over a pile of linemen with 12 seconds left and Calvin Johnson’s 329 yards receiving lifted the Detroit Lions to a 31-30 comeback win over the Dallas Cowboys.
Seattle Times news services
DETROIT — Calvin Johnson thought Matthew Stafford was going to spike the ball for at least another snap.
The Dallas Cowboys did, too.
Stafford’s 1-yard lunge over a pile of linemen with 12 seconds left and Johnson’s 329 yards receiving lifted the Detroit Lions to a 31-30 win over Dallas on Sunday.
“I was yelling that I was going to spike the ball,” Stafford recalled. “But their linebackers were just standing there.”
The Cowboys weren’t just standing around letting Johnson make catch after catch, but he made them look helpless.
Johnson almost broke an NFL record, and could celebrate the feat because of a comeback from a 10-point, fourth-quarter deficit that some people who entered Ford Field didn’t see because they had left.
“Even our fans didn’t think we could pull this one out,” he said. “They were leaving, but we knew we could do it.”
Johnson’s total trails only the 336 yards receiving Flipper Anderson had for the Los Angeles Rams against New Orleans on Nov. 26, 1989 in a game that went into overtime.
The Cowboys dared Detroit to throw to Johnson with a lot of one-on-one coverage. They usually asked cornerback Brandon Carr to do the improbable by defending him by himself, and sometimes attempted to slow him down with a zone.
“He had his way,” Carr said. “And, we couldn’t find a way to keep him from rolling.”
“It was crazy,” he said. “We had a lot of one-on-one coverage today, and we were able to take advantage and hit some deep balls. Matt made some great throws to me.
The Lions (5-3) overcame four turnovers without forcing a turnover.
• Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick felt his left hamstring “pop” as he ran toward the New York Giants’ sideline in the first quarter.
“I felt the same feeling that I had the first time (he hurt the hamstring on Oct. 6),” Vick said. “I don’t think it’s as bad, but it did pop again. ... I’ve never had a hamstring injury this bad.”
Rookie Matt Barkley replaced Vick but struggled against the Giants, committing two turnovers in Philadelphia’s 15-7 loss.
Vick said he will have an MRI on the hamstring Monday. His availability for Sunday’s game against Oakland is unknown.
• Less than an hour after the New England Patriots defeated Miami, the Massachusetts State Police served Miami center Mike Pouncey with a grand jury subpoena. The subpoena is related to the investigation into Aaron Hernandez, the former Patriots tight end who was college teammates with Pouncey at Florida, SI.com reported.
• Minnesota rookie Cordarrelle Patterson set the NFL record for longest kickoff return, a 109-yard touchdown to start the game against Green Bay.
Three players shared the previous record of 108 yards: Ellis Hobbs for New England in 2007, Randall Cobb for Green Bay in 2011, and Jacoby Jones for Baltimore in 2012.
• Oakland defensive coordinator Jason Tarver can expect a fine by the NFL this week. Tarver was caught by TV cameras flipping the bird to officials during the Raiders’ 21-18 win over Pittsburgh.
Tarver was upset after Oakland cornerback Mike Jenkins was flagged for hitting a defenseless receiver with 8:54 to play in the third quarter. The flag was picked up but not before Tarver’s tirade.