DETROIT — Calvin Johnson almost broke an NFL record, and could celebrate the feat because of a comeback capped by his quarterback.
Matthew 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 the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday.
Stafford threw a 22-yard pass to Johnson, who had the second-most yards receiving in NFL history, to set up his winning score. The quarterback seemed to catch his hometown Cowboys by surprise. Some of them, including linebacker Sean Lee, appeared to expect him to spike the ball.
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 Lions (5-3) overcame four turnovers and a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter against the Cowboys (4-4).
Dallas seemed to set itself up to win three straight to stay alone atop the NFC North when Tony Romo threw his second touchdown — and third overall in the game — to Dez Bryant for 50 yards with 6:45 left for a 27-17 lead.
The Cowboys, though, allowed Reggie Bush to cap a long drive with a 1-yard TD, then had to settle for Dan Bailey's third field goal with 1:02 left.
With no timeouts, the Lions went from their 20 to the Cowboys end zone thanks to a 17-yard pass to Johnson, a 40-yard connection with Kris Durham and Johnson's 14th reception that gave them the ball at the Dallas 1.
Instead of spiking the ball, Stafford took the snap and leaped with his arms extended to beat the team he rooted for growing up in Highland Park, Texas.
The No. 1 overall pick in 2009 was 33 of 48 for 488 yards —his second-highest total — with a 2-yard TD pass to Johnson in the first quarter and two interceptions.
Broncos 45, Redskins 21
Peyton Manning overcame four turnovers and Denver scored the last 38 points in a come-from-behind victory over former Broncos coach Mike Shanahan and his new team.
Manning finished with 354 yards and four touchdown passes to offset his three interceptions and lost fumble.
His first two turnovers led to points that gave the Redskins (2-5) a 21-7 lead early in the third quarter. From there, Manning led the Broncos (7-1) on two long scoring drives, then the go-ahead score on a 35-yard touchdown pass to Knowshon Moreno.
Robert Griffin III finished with 132 yards passing, one score and two interceptions for Washington before hurting his left knee.
Griffin's replacement, Kirk Cousins, threw an interception that Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie returned 75 yards for Denver's final points.
Raiders 21, Steelers 18
Terrelle Pryor ran 93 yards on the first play from scrimmage for the longest touchdown run by a quarterback, and Oakland won following a bye week for the first time since 2002.
Darren McFadden added two touchdown runs and the defense did the rest for the Raiders (3-4), who had been outscored by more than 13 points a game in losing their last 10 games out of the bye.
Ben Roethlisberger struggled against heavy pressure from Oakland's front, and Shawn Suisham missed two short field goals as Pittsburgh (2-5) squandered any momentum gained during back-to-back wins following an 0-4 start.
Cardinals 27, Falcons 13
Rookie Andre Ellington rushed for 154 yards on 15 carries, including an 80-yard touchdown run, and Arizona intercepted Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan four times in the win.
Ellington's big run, tied for third-longest in Cardinals history, was part of a 21-point second quarter that put the Cardinals (4-4) in control for good.
Arizona's Larry Fitzgerald caught four passes for 48 yards and a touchdown, in the process becoming the youngest player — at 30 years, 57 days — in NFL history to reach 800 career receptions.
Ryan had thrown three interceptions total in the first six games of the season for the Falcons (2-5). Rashad Johnson had two of Arizona's interceptions.
Bengals 49, Jets 9
Andy Dalton threw a career-high five touchdown passes — four of them to Marvin Jones — as Cincinnati drubbed the New York, it's first dominant performance of a promising season.
Jones set a Bengals record for touchdown receptions, scoring on catches of 9, 6, 17 and 6 yards.
Dalton's five touchdown passes gave him 11 in his last three games, his best such span. He's the first quarterback to throw for five TDs against the Jets (4-4) since Dan Marino in 1988.
The Bengals (6-2) won their fourth in a row and padded their AFC North lead.
Giants 15, Eagles 7
Josh Brown kicked a career-high five field goals, Eli Manning played error-free and New York beat Philadelphia.
Michael Vick returned for the Eagles (3-5) after missing 2 1/2 games with a hamstring injury, but clearly wasn't healthy and was removed for rookie Matt Barkley late in the second quarter.
The Giants (2-6) snapped an eight-game road losing streak while extending Philadelphia's home losing streak to 10 games. The Eagles' last win at the Linc was over the Giants on Sept. 30, 2012.
Chip Kelly's high-flying offense that racked up at least 425 yards in each of the first six games has been grounded. The Eagles followed a 17-3 loss to Dallas with another poor offensive effort. They had just 201 yards of offense and have totaled 479 the past two weeks.
Patriots 27, Dolphins 17
New England shook off a dismal first half and another mediocre performance by Tom Brady to beat Miami.
Trailing 17-3 after gaining just 59 yards in the half, the Patriots quickly turned the game around in the third quarter with two touchdowns in a span of seven plays.
The Patriots (6-2) outscored the Dolphins (3-4) in the third quarter 17-0. Miami lost its fourth straight game.
Brady completed 13 of 22 passes for just 116 yards, but threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Aaron Dobson with 6:32 gone in the third quarter that began the comeback.
Chiefs 23, Browns 17
Alex Smith threw for 225 yards and two touchdowns, and the Kansas City Chiefs held off the scrappy Cleveland Browns late in the fourth quarter to preserve a 23-17 victory Sunday and remain the NFL's lone undefeated team.
The Chiefs (8-0), off to their best start since 2003, built a 20-7 lead late in the first half before the Browns (3-4) made it a game.
Jason Campbell, starting in place of the ineffective Brandon Weeden, threw for 293 yards and two touchdowns for the Browns.
The second scoring pass, a 17-yarder to Fozzy Whittaker out of the backfield, got Cleveland within a field goal early in the third quarter.
The Chiefs kept stopping the Browns down the stretch, though. They forced a turnover on downs with just over 2 minutes left, and Ryan Succop kicked his third field goal in the closing seconds to help seal the victory.
Saints 35, Bills 17
Drew Brees passed for five touchdowns and 332 yards, and New Orleans pulled away for a victory over Buffalo.
Saints tight end Jimmy Graham played after missing practice most of the week with a left foot injury and scored on 13- and 15-yard passes over the middle, powering through tackles at the goal line both times.
Rookie Saints receiver Kenny Stills had touchdowns of 69 and 42 yards and Lance Moore snagged a 15-yard scoring pass in his return from a hand injury that sidelined him three games.
Bills quarterback Thad Lewis was sacked four times, intercepted once, lost two fumbles and appeared shaken up at times, but stayed in the game, finishing with 234 yards passing and one touchdown. Buffalo's Fred Jackson scored on a 1-yard run. The Saints improved to 6-1 and the Bills fell to 3-5.
49ers 42, Jaguars 10
Colin Kaepernick ran and threw his way to victory Sunday, leading San Francisco over Jacksonville at Wembley Stadium in London.
Kaepernick threw for 164 yards and one touchdown, and ran for 54 yards and two touchdowns. Frank Gore also ran for two scores.
The 49ers improved to 6-2 with the win, their fifth in a row, while the Jaguars remained winless at 0-8.
It was the eighth regular-season NFL game at Wembley, the home of England's national soccer team, and the second this year. The Minnesota Vikings beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 34-27 last month.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times