Matthew Stafford’s one-yard touchdown plunge with 12 seconds left lifted the Detroit Lions to a 31-30 victory over the Dallas Cowboys in an NFL thriller on Sunday.
The Lions trailed by six points with 1 minute, 2 seconds remaining, launching the winning drive at their own 20-yard line.
They covered 80 yards in less than a minute, then a clutch 22-yard pass from Stafford to Calvin Johnson set Stafford up for his scoring leap.
David Akers added the extra point that sealed it for Detroit, who improved to 5-3.
“It was a great sequence by them,” Dallas coach Jason Garrett said. “We didn’t do what we needed to do to win the game.”
Stafford finished the game with 488 yards passing, one touchdown and two interceptions.
Johnson set a career high with 329 yards on 14 catches with a touchdown. His performance was just seven yards short of the NFL record for most receiving yards in one game.
“That was just a lot of crazy out there today,” Johnson said. “We were all over the place today. I’m just glad that I was able to be out there and do my job.”
Dallas quarterback Tony Romo completed 14 of 30 passes for 206 yards and three touchdowns. Dez Bryant caught three passes for 72 yards and two touchdowns — and made headlines with an animated exchange with Romo on the sidelines.
Detroit’s victory kept them in second place in the National Football Conference North behind the Green Bay Packers, who beat the Minnesota Vikings 44-31 in a division clash.
Dallas fell to 4-4, but they remained atop the National Football Conference East thanks to Philadelphia’s 15-7 loss to the visiting New York Giants in a division matchup.
Josh Brown kicked a career-high five field goals and the Giants shut down an Eagles offense in which rookie Matt Barkley was pressed into quarterback duty after Michael Vick aggravated a hamstring injury in the first half.
The Kansas City Chiefs remained the only unbeaten team in the league, turning back the determined Cleveland Browns for a 23-17 triumph.
The Chiefs gained 281 yards in the first half, but only 50 after the interval as they struggled to keep the Browns at bay.
“It was like two different games,” Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said. “It was awfully close.”
It was not close at all in London, where the San Francisco 49ers trounced the winless Jacksonville Jaguars 42-10 at Wembley Stadium.
San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick and Frank Gore scored two touchdowns apiece. Gore carried the ball 19 times for 71 yards for San Francisco, who have eclipsed 30 points in each game of a current five-game winning streak.
New England’s superstar quarterback Tom Brady shook off a dismal first half to lead the Patriots to a 27-17 victory over the Miami Dolphins in an American Football Conference East division clash.
The Patriots managed only 59 yards in the first half and trailed by 14 points, then scored 24 unanswered points in a run highlighted by two touchdowns in less than two minutes.
Another elite quarterback came on strong in the second half as Denver’s Peyton Manning threw three of his four touchdown passes in the fourth quarter to lift the Broncos to a 45-21 victory over the Washington Redskins.
Manning went 30 for 44 for 354 yards, but also had three interceptions and surrendered a fumble for the Broncos.
The Broncos’ rally spoiled the return to Denver of former Broncos and current Washington coach Mike Shanahan.