DETROIT – For all the attention Dez Bryant's sideline tantrums will garner, Brandon Carr had a doozy of his own.
It was a bang-bang sequence for the veteran cornerback. One moment, he allowed Calvin Johnson to reach the Dallas goal line on his 14th and final reception of the day, bringing his final tally to 329 yards.
The next moment, Matthew Stafford snuck over the goal line for the game-winning touchdown, and Carr had raced to the sideline in a fury. Typically known for his calm demeanor, Carr spiked his helmet to the field and was barely able to return to the game for the extra point attempt.
It's probably the type of reaction you'd expect from a secondary that surrendered the second-best receiving performance in NFL history – not to mention a last-minute, game-winning touchdown drive.
"You sure hope so," said Carr, asked if he thought Dallas had the game won. "With a minute to go, with the drive they had and how it came out. A few key plays slipped away, and they were able to get down the seam and get those big chunk plays."
As will be common knowledge in the coming days, Johnson outgained the Dallas offense all on his own en route to a winning effort. Detroit coach Jim Schwartz said he did that despite a knee injury that forced him to miss a game earlier this season.
"Just wait until he's 100 percent, Schwartz said. "I don't remember -- I think he had the second-most receiving yards in the history of the National Football League. That would outgain a lot of offenses."
Johnson was targeted on 16 of Stafford's 48 pass attempts on the afternoon – roughly 33 percent of his throws. Ironically enough, it looked like it would be a challenging day for "Megatron" when Carr batted away the first pass thrown in his direction – a deep ball on the first possession of the game.
"I battled with him. He made some plays. It was a big task and I knew that heading into this game, but I wasn't going to shy away from it," Carr said. "If I could do it all over again, I wouldn't shy away from it again."
From there, Johnson made plays from every location imaginable. He took his first catch of the day 87 yards, past Carr, on a short slant. He also beat a befuddled Orlando Scandrick for his lone touchdown on the same route.
He out-jumped Carr and rookie safety Jeff Heath on a deep jump ball, and he set-up the game-winning score on a well-run seam route.
And those were just the highlights.
"It's crazy. Shoot. I mean, we got one-on-one coverage, and were able to hit on a lot," Johnson said. "I don't know what our percentages were, but we were able to hit on a lot of deep passes, intermediate – we were all over the place."
The performance overshadows a four-turnover day for the Dallas defense, including a fumble return by Carr. With 623 yards of offense by the Lions, and more than 52 percent of those coming from Johnson, though, it's an understandable side-effect.
It's another close call in a heartbreaker for the Cowboys. This is the fourth time in as many losses they have fallen right at the end, with Megatron proving just the latest catalyst. It's something Carr said they can't allow to continue happening.
"You can't have a bend but don't break mentality because they have a guy that can out jump anyone in the red zone. Our philosophy was to keep the deep ball off our head," he said. "Like I said, they made some plays on us in the end that came back to hurt us, but you get to the end of those games, you don't want to have that bend don't break. You want to have that mentality that we can finish them off. We still have to find that within this locker room."