Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Sports

October 13, 2013

NFL: Lions wake up

Late Stafford TD passes lift Detroit over Cleveland

CLEVELAND — The Lions were lifeless and listless at halftime. Matthew Stafford snapped his teammates out of its strange funk just in time.

Stafford threw three of his four touchdown passes in the second half, rallying Detroit to a 31-17 win over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.

The Lions (4-2) outscored the Browns 24-0 in the second half, sealing their win when Stafford hooked up with tight end Joseph Fauria with 2:01 left. Fauria caught three TD passes for the Lions, who played like a completely different team in the second half after being dominated up front and trailing 17-7 at half.

The Browns (3-3) had their chances at a comeback end when quarterback Brandon Weeden’s baffling shovel pass with 4:36 left was intercepted by linebacker DeAndre Levy.

Lions running back Reggie Bush finished with 135 total yards, 121 in the second half. At halftime, Bush had touched the ball just seven times. But Stafford went to the versatile back whenever he needed a big play.

Stafford finished 25 of 43 for 248 yards. He completed eight passes to wide receiver Kris Durham, who took over as Detroit’s top target with superstar Calvin Johnson not himself with a balky right knee. Johnson, who missed last week’s loss at Green Bay, had 3 catches for 25 yards.

Weeden, making his first start since Week 2, finished 26 of 43 for 292 yards, but will be remembered for his ill-advised pass when Cleveland was driving for a possible tying touchdown.

Trailing 24-17 and at Detroit’s 44 with a first down, Weeden was pressured. Instead of throwing the ball away or taking the sack to keep the drive going, Weeden tried a pitch to fullback Chris Ogbonnaya near the sideline and was picked off by Levy.

It was another poor decision by Weeden, the second-year QB thrust back into the starting lineup after Brian Hoyer sustained a season-ending knee injury against Buffalo on Oct. 3.

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