Calvin Johnson caught for the second-most receiving yards in NFL history, as he and quarterback Matthew Stafford led the Detroit Lions to a stunning 31-30 victory over the Dallas Cowboys.
'Megatron' totalled 329 yards and a touchdown from his 14 receptions, while Stafford threw for 488 yards in their team’s come-from-behind win.
Despite four turnovers and a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter, the Lions rallied to score the game winning touchdown with just seconds left on the clock.
The result keeps the Lions (5:3) second in the NFC North behind the Green Bay Packers, while the Cowboys (4:4) remain top of the NFC East – one victory ahead of the Philadelphia Eagles (3:5).
Johnson opened the scoring for the Lions in the first quarter, turning a short pass from Stafford into an 87-yard gain, before finishing the drive off by making a two yard touchdown reception four plays later.
Dan Bailey and Dez Bryant led the Cowboys revival, with two field goals from the former and a five-yard touchdown catch from the latter giving the visitors a 13-7 half-time lead.
David Akers narrowed the gap to three at the start of the fourth quarter, but Terrance Williams’ 60-yard touchdown gave the Cowboys their double figure lead.
Joique Bell ran in the Lions second maximum score of the day, only for Dez Bryant’s elegant spin move to set up another Dallas touchdown.
Reggie Bush again moved Detroit within touching distance, but with just three minutes left the Cowboys only needed to maintain possession.
However, they eventually settled for a Bailey field goal, leaving the Lions less than sixty seconds for a touchdown. Stafford duly marched his team up the field, and found record-breaker Johnson with a 22-yard completion.
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.
But it was Stafford who won his team the match with a 1-yard lunge over a pile of linemen with 12 seconds left. The quarterback seemed to catch both the opposition and his teammates by surprise – with almost everyone appearing to expect him to spike the ball.
Bryant’s side-line fury in the game’s final moments, directed mainly at Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, but also at tight end Jason Witten, will cause concern shattering through the Dallas ranks.
After a last-gasp defeat at the hands of the Cincinnati Bengals last weekend, the Lions will be delighted at their style of victory.
Elsewhere, the Kansas City Chiefs maintained their perfect record, moving to 8:0 after a 23-17 victory over the Cleveland Browns.
Pre-season favourites, the Denver Broncos, returned to winning ways after last week’s shock defeat to the Indianapolis Colts. Their 45-21 defeat of the Washington Redskins keeps them within one win of the Chiefs in the AFC West, at 7:1.
Two touchdowns from Russell Wilson helped the Seattle Seahawks match the Broncos 2013 record, after they edged a defensive game 14-9 against the St. Louis Rams – the Rams falling a yard short of a game winning drive in the final minutes.
The New England Patriots, the Cincinnati Bengals, the New Orleans Saints and the San Francisco 49ers all won their sixth games of the season.
New England recovered from a 14-point deficit and a hand injury to quarterback Tom Brady to eventually overcome divisional rivals, the Miami Dolphins, by a score of 27-17.
Geno Smith and the New York Jets came crashing back down to earth after last weekend’s upset overtime success against the Patriots, as they were thrashed 49-9 by the Bengals – with Andy Dalton scoring five touchdowns.
There were five touchdowns also for Drew Brees as the Saints comfortably saw off the Buffalo Bills 35-17. While the 49ers claimed success in the second of this year’s Wembley International Games, by a comprehensive tally of 42-10 against the Jacksonville Jaguars, who fall to a hapless 0:8.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0:7), are also still without a win this season, after they lost 31-13 to the Carolina Panthers who, at 4:3, are above a 0.500 record for the first time since 2008.
Green Bay established their position at the top of the NFC North with a 44-31 victory over the Minnesota Vikings, who employed their third different starting quarterback in as many games, with the fit-again Christian Ponder following in the footsteps of Josh Freeman and Matt Cassel.
The New York Giants came out on top in another divisional clash, beating the Eagles 15-7. And finally, the Oakland Raiders claimed victory, defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers 21-18.
Full List of Week Eight Results:
Panthers 31 (at the) 13 Buccaneers, 49ers 42 (at the) 10 Jaguars, Browns 17 (at the) 23 Chiefs, Dolphins 17 (at the) 27 Patriots, Bills 17 (at the) 35 Saints, Cowboys 30 (at the) 31 Lions, Giants 15 (at the) 7 Eagles, Steelers 18 (at the) 21 Raiders, Jets 9 (at the) 49 Bengals, Falcons 13 (at the) 27 Cardinals, Redskins 21 (at the) 45 Broncos, Packers 44 (at the) 31 Vikings, Seahawks 14 (at the) 9 Rams, Bye Week – Ravens, Bears, Texans, Colts, Chargers & Titans.
Week Nine Fixtures:
Bengals (6:2) at the Dolphins (3:4); Falcons (2:5) at the Panthers (4:3); Saints (6:1) at the Jets (4:4); Titans (3:4) at the Rams (3:5); Vikings (1:6) at the Cowboys (4:4); Chiefs (8:0) at the Bills (3:5); Chargers (4:3) at the Redskins (2:5); Eagles (3:5) at the Raiders (3:4); Buccaneers (0:7) at the Seahawks (7:1); Ravens (3:4) at the Browns (3:5); Steelers (2:5) at the Patriots (6:2); Colts (5:2) at the Texans (2:5); Bears (4:3) at the Packers (5:2).
Bye Week – Cardinals, Broncos, Lions, Jaguars, Giants & 49ers.
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