DETROIT (AP) — 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 as he tied Hall of Famer Lance Alworth's mark for 220-plus yards receiving in a game by doing it for a fifth time.

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. Anderson had 296 yards receiving in regulation.


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."


Johnson noticed.


"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, becoming the first team to do that and win since New England did against Miami in 2007, according to STATS.


On their last drive, Stafford threw a 22-yard pass to Johnson to set up the winning score. The quarterback caught at least some Cowboys by surprise, including linebacker Sean Lee, who appeared to expect him to spike the ball to stop the clock.


"He kind of caught us off-guard," defensive tackle Jason Hatcher acknowledged.


Dallas (4-4) seemed to set itself up to win three straight for the first time this year to build a bigger lead atop the NFC East when Tony Romo threw his second touchdown — and third of the game — to Dez Bryant with 6:45 left to take 27-17 lead.


The Cowboys, though, allowed Reggie Bush to cap an 80-yard drive with a 1-yard TD with 3:33 left. They also had to settle for Dan Bailey's third field goal with 1:02 left after Tyron Smith was flagged for holding on third down, a mistake that stopped the clock even though Detroit declined the penalty.


"If we don't get called for a penalty, I think they probably had 20 seconds or so left," Romo said.


With no timeouts, the Lions went from their 20 to the Cowboys end zone thanks in large part 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.


"I was just as fooled as the defense was," Lions offensive guard Larry Warford said.


Stafford 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. Reggie Bush had 92 yards rushing and a score.


Romo was 14 of 30, failing to complete half his passes for the first time since 2009, for 206 yards without a turnover.


Dallas began the game without two starters on both sides of the ball: DeMarco Murray and Miles Austin on offense and DeMarcus Ware and J.J. Wilcox on defense.


Late in the first half, Romo threw two straight passes to Bryant — after not making him the intended receiver once — and he caught the second one with his left hand, pinning it against his shoulder pad for a go-ahead, 5-yard TD with 46 seconds left in the first half.


Despite leading by six in the third quarter, Bryant didn't look happy. He flapped his arms and screamed at Romo on the sideline. After the loss, Bryant insisted his demonstrative actions were a result of his positive passion.


"People who have a problem with me are the people that don't understand what is going on," he said.


NOTES: Lions DE Ezekiel "Ziggy" Ansah (left ankle), WR Ryan Broyles (Achilles tendon) and CB Bill Bentley (knee) and Cowboys RG Brian Waters (triceps), CB Morris Claiborne (hamstring) and FS Barry Church (hamstring) were hurt during the game. ... The Lions have a bye next week while Dallas plays the Minnesota Vikings.


___


AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org


___


Follow Larry Lage on Twitter: http://twitter.com/larrylage

Related on HuffPost:

Loading Slideshow...
  • Aaron Rodgers

    Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) calls a play in the first half of an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings, Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)

  • Dexter McCluster

    Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Dexter McCluster (22) celebrates his touchdown with fans during the first half of an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga)

  • Dan Skuta

    CORRECTS WHO RECOVERED A FUMBLE FROM SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS TIGHT END VANCE MCDONALD TO JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS TIGHT END MARCEDES LEWIS - Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Chad Henne (7) tries to tackle San Francisco 49ers outside linebacker Dan Skuta (51) as he scores on a 47-yard touchdown run after recovering a fumble by Jacksonville Jaguars tight end Marcedes Lewis during the second half of an NFL football game at Wembley Stadium, London, Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

  • Matthew Stafford

    Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) scores on a 1-yard touchdown run against the Dallas Cowboys in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game in Detroit, Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013. (AP Photo/Rick Osentoski)

  • Denver Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas (88) crosses the goal line for a touchdown against the Washington Redskins in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

  • Adrian Peterson

    Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (28) celebrates his touchdown in the first half of an NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers, Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)

  • Denver Broncos running back Knowshon Moreno (27) is grabbed by Washington Redskins defensive end Stephen Bowen (72) in the third quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, in Denver. (AP Photo/Joe Mahoney)

  • Larry Fitzgerald

    Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald acknowledges his teammates after making his 800th career catch during the second half of an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons, Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)

  • Le'Veon Bell, Charles Woodson

    Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell (26) is tackled by Oakland Raiders cornerback Charles Woodson during the third quarter of an NFL football game in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

  • Washington Redskins defensive back Jordan Pugh (32) intercepts a broken up pass by cornerback E.J. Biggers (30) intended for Denver Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker (83) in the third quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

  • Denver Broncos cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (45) returns an interception for a touchdown against the Washington Redskins in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, in Denver. The Broncos won 45-21. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

  • Ben Roethlisberger, Vance Walker, Kevin Burnett

    Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) is hit by Oakland Raiders outside linebacker Kevin Burnett, rear, and defensive tackle Vance Walker (98) while passing during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013. The Raiders won 21-18. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

  • Antrel Rolle, Brent Celek

    New York Giants strong safety Antrel Rolle (26) celebrates while running away from Philadelphia Eagles tight end Brent Celek (87) after intercepting a pass during the first half of an NFL football game on Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

  • Stepfan Taylor, William Moore

    Arizona Cardinals running back Stepfan Taylor, left, runs as Atlanta Falcons strong safety William Moore (25) defends during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

  • Emmanuel Sanders, Ben Roethlisberger

    Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders (88) runs toward the end zone to score on a 9-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the Oakland Raiders in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

  • A.J. Green, Kyle Wilson

    Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green (18) catches a pass against New York Jets cornerback Kyle Wilson (20) in the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/David Kohl)

  • Denver Broncos tight end Joel Dreessen (81) catches a pass for a touchdown against the Washington Redskins in the third quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, in Denver. (AP Photo/Joe Mahoney)

  • Dexter McCluster

    Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Dexter McCluster (22) lands in the end zone for a touchdown after a catch during the first half of an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga)

  • James Starks

    Green Bay Packers running back James Starks (44) runs into the end zone for a touchdown against Minnesota Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes (29) in the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

  • Calvin Johnson, Matthew Stafford

    Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson, left, celebrates his 2-yard touchdown reception with quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) during the first half of an NFL football game in Detroit, Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)

  • Lance Moore

    New Orleans Saints wide receiver Lance Moore (16) celebrates his touchdown reception during the first half of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills in New Orleans, Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013. (AP Photo/Bill Feig)

  • Washington Redskins running back Alfred Morris (46) celebrates with tackle Trent Williams (71) and tackle Tyler Polumbus (74) after scoring a touchdown against the Denver Broncos in the third quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

  • Chris Carr, Scott Chandler

    New Orleans Saints defensive back Chris Carr (31) breaks up a pass intended for Buffalo Bills tight end Scott Chandler (84) during the first half of an NFL football game in New Orleans, Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013. (AP Photo/Bill Feig)

  • Alfred Morris

    Washington Redskins running back Alfred Morris (46) crosses the goal line for a touchdown against the Denver Broncos in the third quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

  • Larry Fitzgerald, Desmond Trufant

    Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, center, makes a catch as Atlanta Falcons cornerback Desmond Trufant, left, pursues during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

  • Mike Shanahan

    Washington Redskins Mike Shanahan watches play against the Denver Broncos from the sidelines in the second quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, in Denver. (AP Photo/Joe Mahoney)

  • Rex Ryan

    New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan, right, watches on the sidelines during the first half of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Tom Uhlman)

  • Rey Maualuga

    Cincinnati Bengals middle linebacker Rey Maualuga is taken off the field after being injured in the first half of an NFL football game against the New York Jets, Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Tom Uhlman)

  • Michael Floyd

    Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Michael Floyd celebrates his touchdown against the Atlanta Falcons during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

  • Michael Vick

    Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick (7) reacts after being sacked during the first half of an NFL football game New York Giants Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Michael Perez)

  • Eli Manning, Brandon Boykin

    New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) is hit by Philadelphia Eagles' Brandon Boykin (22) during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013 in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Michael Perez)

  • Hakeem Nicks, Bradley Fletcher

    Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Bradley Fletcher (24) defends New York Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks (88) during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013 in Philadelphia. The pass was incomplete on the play. (AP Photo/Michael Perez)

  • Robert Griffin III

    Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III (10) points skyward after throwing a touchdown pass against the Denver Broncos in the second quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, in Denver. (AP Photo/Joe Mahoney)

  • Darren McFadden, Lawrence Timmons, Cameron Heyward, Steve McLendon

    Oakland Raiders running back Darren McFadden (20) scores on a 4-yard touchdown run past Pittsburgh Steelers inside linebacker Lawrence Timmons (94), defensive end Cameron Heyward (97) and nose tackle Steve McLendon (90) during the second quarter of an NFL football game in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

  • BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Sheldon Richardson

    Cincinnati Bengals running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis (42) is pursued by New York Jets defensive end Sheldon Richardson (91) in the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Tom Uhlman)

  • Darren McFadden, Vince Williams, Ryan Clark, Troy Polamalu

    Oakland Raiders running back Darren McFadden (20) runs for a 7-yard touchdown past Pittsburgh Steelers strong safety Troy Polamalu, rear, free safety Ryan Clark, bottom right, and defensive tackle Vance Walker (98) during the first quarter of an NFL football game in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

  • Larry Fitzgerald, Andre Roberts, Jaron Brown

    Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) celebrates his touchdown with teammates Andre Roberts (12) and Jaron Brown (13) during the first half of an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons, Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

  • Peyton Manning

    Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) throws against the Washington Redskins in the first quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, in Denver. (AP Photo/Joe Mahoney)

  • Brandon Pettigrew, Sean Lee

    Detroit Lions tight end Brandon Pettigrew (87) is brought down by Dallas Cowboys middle linebacker Sean Lee (50) in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game in Detroit, Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)

  • Matthew Stafford

    Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) scores on a 1-yard touchdown run against the Dallas Cowboys in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game in Detroit, Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013. (AP Photo/Rick Osentoski)

  • BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Antonio Allen

    Cincinnati Bengals running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis (42) is tackled by New York Jets free safety Antonio Allen (39) in the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/David Kohl)

  • Matthew Stafford

    Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) celebrates scoring on a 1-yard touchdown run against the Dallas Cowboys in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game in Detroit, Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013. (AP Photo/Rick Osentoski)

  • Matthew Stafford

    Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) celebrates scoring on a 1-yard touchdown run against the Dallas Cowboys in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game in Detroit, Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013. (AP Photo/Rick Osentoski)

  • Brandon Bolden

    New England Patriots running back Brandon Bolden celebrates his touchdown against the Miami Dolphins in the third quarter of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

  • Joique Bell

    Detroit Lions running back Joique Bell (35) celebrates scoring on a 1-yard touchdown run against the Dallas Cowboys in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game in Detroit, Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013. (AP Photo/Rick Osentoski)

  • Reggie Bush

    Detroit Lions running back Reggie Bush (21) scores on a 1-yard touchdown run against the Dallas Cowboys in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game in Detroit, Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)

  • Terrelle Pryor, Denarius Moore, Rod Streater

    Oakland Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor (2) celebrates with wide receiver Denarius Moore (17) and wide receiver Rod Streater (80) after running for a 93-yard touchdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the first quarter of an NFL football game in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

  • Terrelle Pryor, Ryan Clark, Vince Williams, William Gay

    Oakland Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor (2) runs for a 93-yard touchdown past Pittsburgh Steelers free safety Ryan Clark, left, inside linebacker Vince Williams (98) and cornerback William Gay (22) during the first quarter of an NFL football game in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

  • New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, left, and Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill, right, speak at midfield after an NFL football game on Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, in Foxborough, Mass. The Patriots won 27-17. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

  • Calvin Johnson

    Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson (81) catches a 54-yard reception against Dallas Cowboys cornerback Brandon Carr (39) and defensive back Jeff Heath (38) in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game in Detroit, Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013. (AP Photo/Rick Osentoski)

  • Ryan Tannehill, Joe Vellano

    New England Patriots defensive tackle Joe Vellano (72) grabs the arm of Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, in Foxborough, Mass. The Patriots won 27-17. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)