As Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford approached the line, he announced his intention, and the Dallas Cowboys believed him.

"I was yelling that I was going to spike the ball," Stafford said. "But their linebackers were just standing there."

So instead of killing the clock for an extra snap, Stafford plunged over the line with 12 seconds remaining to rally the Lions to a 31-30 victory Sunday.

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

The Cowboys weren't just standing around letting Calvin Johnson make catch after catch, but he made them look helpless anyway, catching 14 passes for 329 yards. Only Flipper Anderson has had more receiving yards in a game, going for 336 for the Los Angeles Rams in 1989.

"It was crazy," Johnson 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."

Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant was seen screaming on the sideline at the end of a third-quarter series, but quarterback Tony Romo downplayed the scene.

"He's a competitive guy. He never complained to me about getting the ball. He knows that the ball is going to where it's supposed to," Romo said. "When you guys see emotion sometimes from Dez, it's just trying to rah-rah, more than it is being a 'me' guy. That's not who Dez is."

Record book

Minnesota Vikings rookie Cordarrelle Patterson set the NFL record for longest kickoff return, a 109-yard touchdown to start the game against Green Bay.

Three players shared the previous mark of 108 yards.

  • Arizona Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald has become the youngest player in NFL history to reach 800 receptions, hitting the milestone at 30 years, 57 days. Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten was the previous record holder at 30 years, 238 days.

    Brady hears boos

    The boos poured on Tom Brady and the Patriots at the end of a horrible first half, though New England rallied from a 14-point halftime deficit to beat Miami 27-17.

    The Patriots (6-2) came back despite a mediocre performance by Brady, who completed more than half his passes for only the fifth time in eight games. But his 116 yards passing were the second fewest in a game he played most of the way in since 2006.

    "I know a lot of people are frustrated," Brady said, but "to be 6-2 is not bad."

    Shanahan returns

    Washington coach Mike Shanahan received a hero's welcome in his first game in Denver since his firing by the Broncos five years ago.

    More than 75,000 fans got to their feet before kickoff to salute the man who brought the city its two Super Bowl wins in his 14 seasons as coach. The Broncos showed a 32-second tribute to Shanahan on their giant video screen before kickoff. Shanahan waved to the crowd before falling to his former team 45-21.

    "It's very easy to get kind of fired up, especially coming back here and wanting to win the football game," Shanahan said.

    Chiefs improve to 8-0

    The Kansas City Chiefs (8-0) know they're going to get the opposing team's best shot every time they step on the field. That comes with being the NFL's lone unbeaten team.

    "We love it," quarterback Alex Smith said after a 23-17 victory over the Cleveland Browns. "You want the stages to get bigger. That's why you put all the work in. You want this opportunity. You want that honor."

    Injury watch

    Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick returned from a two-game absence because of an ailing hamstring, but he didn't last long. The injury forced him out of the loss to the New York Giants late in the second quarter.

  • Quarterback Robert Griffin III left Washington's loss to Denver late in the game because of an injured left knee.

    "I feel fine right now," Griffin said afterward, noting he didn't need any further medical tests.

    Broncos safety Duke Ihenacho left because of an ankle injury.

  • Cincinnati linebacker Rey Maualuga was taken off the field on a cart after hurting his left knee and apparently suffering a concussion.