But as the game progressed, Stafford got better. He finished 21 of 43 for 240 yards and two touchdowns, including the go-ahead score to Johnson with 1:39 to play.
Coming into the game, the Cowboys were second in the NFL with 13 sacks. They had none against Stafford. The Lions had numerous offensive alignments in which they kept a tight end to protect, and had three or four wide receivers with no running backs to spread out the defense. Stafford also used a quick release.
"They went empty the whole game with protection," Ryan said. "I don't know. He's getting rid of the ball. He hit 9 of 25 of whatever he was in the first half. Guy did alright. He's not playing against Plano East, I can promise you."
It was the first time this season the Cowboys didn't register a sack, but they had six quarterback hurries, led by DeMarcus Ware's three.
The pressure was the most the Lions had seen this season.
"I think their defense had a lot to do with it, pressuring the quarterback, and they had an outstanding scheme," Lions coach Jim Schwartz said.