Posted October 28, 2013

Calvin Johnson’s 329-yard day helps Lions stun Cowboys late

Dallas Cowboys, Detroit Lions, NFC East, NFC North
Calvin Johnson (top) fell seven yards shy of the single-game receiving record held by the Rams' Flipper Anderson.

Calvin Johnson (top) fell seven yards shy of the single-game receiving record held by the Rams’ Flipper Anderson. (Duane Burleson/AP)

Calvin Johnson has delivered more than his fair share of brilliant performance in losing efforts. Sunday, in the most improbable of fashions, the Lions made sure that his latest gem did not go for naught.

Matthew Stafford’s fake spike/QB sneak with 12 seconds left handed the Lions a dramatic 31-30 victory over the Cowboys, who only moments before had the game in such control that Detroit’s fans were streaming for the exits. Stafford’s leaping touchdown capped an 80-yard drive that took only 50 seconds.

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Johnson had one of the most important catches on that final Detroit possession, hauling in a perfect Stafford pass up the seam for 22 yards. That catch set up Detroit on the Dallas 1, from where Stafford plunged the ball into the end zone after frantically signaling for his team, out of timeouts, to clock the football.

The reception was Johnson’s 14th of the game and upped his yardage total to a staggering 329 yards — seven shy of the single-game record held by the Los Angeles Rams’ Flipper Anderson. Johnson also scored once, a four-yard grab following a long 87-yard reception, and single-handedly outgained the Cowboys offense by 61 yards (329 to 268).

“Best receiver in the history of football,” Lions teammate Reggie Bush said of Johnson after the game.

Up until that Stafford TD, though, it appeared as if Johnson’s latest showcase would be merely a sidenote in a Lions loss. After mustering fewer than 140 yards of offense over the first three quarters, the Cowboys came up with 110 and two TDs on back-to-back Tony Romo passes in the fourth quarter — one to Terrance Williams for 60 yards, another to a frustrated Dez Bryant for 50.

The touchdown catch by Bryant was his second of the game, both coming after he unleashed a tirade on Romo and several Cowboys coaches on the sideline. Bryant went off again later, following Stafford’s game-winning TD run, to the point where veteran tight end Jason Witten confronted him on the sideline.

Bryant made headlines earlier in the week when he declared of Johnson: “I believe I can do whatever he can do.” The Cowboys’ receiver later said that his comments were misinterpreted, but the gauntlet was already thrown down for Megatron.

“We were doubling Bryant all game and he still scored two touchdowns,” Lions coach Jim Schwartz said of Bryant.

The Cowboys, at least at first glance, played fairly routine defense on Johnson, often asking Brandon Carr to try to corral him. Carr did help force one of two Stafford interceptions, tipping a pass from Johnson’s arms into those of linebacker Sean Lee. Aside from that, however, Johnson got the best of him and the Cowboys defense.

Making matters worse for Dallas on the deciding Detroit drive was that Kris Durham was allowed to slip rather unimpeded up the left sideline for a 40-yard catch. Durham also managed to get out of bounds, saving precious time for the Lions later — time they would need when Johnson was brought down shy of the goal line on his catch before Stafford’s score.

Romo often feels the heat when the Cowboys suffer tough losses, but it will be hard to pin this one on him. (His most steadfast critics might point to his 14-of-30 completion rate and that he threw for nearly 300 yards fewer than Stafford.) The Cowboys defense let this one slip away, with an untimely assist from tackle Tyron Smith.

Smith was flagged for holding on a third-down run by Joseph Randle, as the Cowboys attempted to finish off a win. Though Detroit declined that penalty, the miscue still stopped the clock for a Lions team without a timeout.

Instead of having fewer than 30 seconds to get down the field, the Lions had more than a minute. Stafford and Johnson, with a little help from Durham, took advantage of their opportunity.

It was a critical win for a Lions team often on the other side of the ledger. And the outcome ensured that Johnson’s sensational outing was not wasted.

27 comments
Blinker
Blinker

I thought the Cowboys had this one in the bag. 

Still I want to say.....  EAT IT JERRY!!!!!!!!!!

JosephMonge
JosephMonge

I think that Jason and tony should quit talking salary in the locker room, and sharing each others xanax prescription, and show some emotion!!!!

JosephMonge
JosephMonge

I honestly believe you need someone like Dez on the sideline and in the game! If I was on the cowboy's you would have seen worldwide news making! They lost 17-16 to Chiefs, I believe 51-48 to Bronco's, and now 31-30 to Lions!!!! Do you realize that you should be 8-2, and possibly 9-1, now tell me someone (If they are truly passionate about WINNING) should not be absolutely furious!!! I have been a PASSIONATE fan of Dallas Cowboys for36yrs, I mean live,breath, and probably will die thinking of "my" Cowboys, although I'll be honest and tell you, now I try to hide it!!! I want to know what is going through Jerry's HEAD? 

AvsFan
AvsFan

I thought the announcers (Stockton and Billick, if I remember correctly) in this game did absolutely horrendous job calling the end of the game. Not only were they saying that the Cowboys had the game won when it was pretty obvious the Lions would probably get the ball back, they also completely no sold the receiving performance by Calvin.

j7apple
j7apple

The difference in attitude between Dez and Calvin?

Dez still on his 5 year 11.8 million dollar contract

Johnson on his new 8 year 132 million dollar contract.

Dez, just shut up and play the game.


AnthonyW.Gibbs1
AnthonyW.Gibbs1

Get off Dez's case.  I'm a Lions fan and I love and admire his passion.  He can be on my football team any day.  

airmjbsanders
airmjbsanders

What's really funny @ the Megatron-Dez comparison, is that AJ Green is the only receiver in the league on the same planet as Calvin!  If AJ had a top 10 QB throwin him the ball, he'd really put up similar stats to CJ.  Shoot I'd take Julio or DThomas over Dez any day of the week...

Joseph9
Joseph9

Dez is certainly a talented guy, but Calvin just plays the game the right way -- make the catch, hand the ball to the official, and get ready for the next play, and if you've got something to say to your teammate, do it without showing them up. And while I loved Dez's reach-over TD catch, there's just nobody who can make that leaping catch between two defenders like Johnson, simply because no one else can get up that high.

amorosotom
amorosotom

Dez reminds me of Terell Owens and his sideline meltdowns. 

T36
T36

POOR  XCOWBOYS  OH SORRY   COWGIRLS LOSE AGAIN ALL THTA MONEY  FOR A NEW STADIUM  AND  TONY OSMAMA  ROMO  CANT DO CHIR RIFGHT

strawwalker
strawwalker

Great win Lions; and yes the Lions defense can Blitz and not have the "sky is falling". The offense also ran a number of screens, almost unheard of by the Lions, and they picked up big yardage. Stafford probably played his best game, with a rare overthrow. His 2 picks were one by CJ, a catch and a bounce in the air, the other was just a great play by Lee. There was 2 play calls that were bad.. both very similar, both in field goal range, 1st near the end of the half, after a 5 yd offensive penalty, the pass to bush was 10 yds behind the scrimmage line and caused a 17 yd lose, and the other a toss sweep again to Bush that caused a lose in yds. When your that close and in field goal range you DO NOT run behind or sideways, you run the ball straight ahead.   

JoeDesauteles
JoeDesauteles

jerry should trade for cutler, that way dez and jay will have shoulders to cry on during there games

JoeDesauteles
JoeDesauteles

Dez..... step 1 of doing everything calvin can do, is just STFU and play.... i dont care if you had better stats than johnson, after those sideline meltdowns you proved your self a classless teammate. You dont even belong on the same field as megatron.... Nothing but a cry baby.

Rickapolis
Rickapolis

The Cowboys can always find a way to lose. Just pathetic. And it was NOT Romo's fault this time. But I doubt if it really matters.

And isn't Dez Bryant a horse's patoot? He embarrasses the entire team.

jb22
jb22

@JosephMonge You want them to be 8-2 or 9-1 through 8 games do ya?  You'd think a fan as passionate as yourself about the Cowboys would have a rough idea of how many games they've played this year.

Marty2
Marty2

@JoeDesauteles Why do players with poor impulse control like to claim they are simply more "passionate" about playing than their teammates?  Anybody ever work with guys like this?  J E R K S, most of them. 

Marty2
Marty2

@Rickapolis Usually  it's my Lions who can always find a way to lose.  Old Cowboy teams would always find a way to win.  Lions - we've never had that habit, and this one win does not a habit make. 

AnthonyW.Gibbs1
AnthonyW.Gibbs1

@Marty2 @JoeDesauteles I'd rather have a jerk that pours out their heart and soul than some detached guy who just wants to get along.  To heck with that.  Give me Dez Bryant any day, and twice on Sunday.