2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Stafford sparks Lions to 31-17 win over Browns

By TOM WITHERS - AP Sports Writer
    2013-10-14 02:50

CLEVELAND (AP) - Matthew Stafford's four touchdown passes were impressive. None, though, may have meant as much as the ball he fired into the ground.

With star receiver Calvin Johnson slowed by a knee injury, Stafford spread his passes around and threw three of his TDs in the second half to rally the Detroit Lions to a 31-17 win over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.

Down 17-7 at halftime, the Lions (4-2) outscored the Browns 24-0 after halftime to pull out a win that seemed unlikely after the first 30 minutes.

On Detroit's first possession of the third quarter, Stafford scrambled from trouble on a 3rd-and-6 play and picked up seven yards. He popped to his feet after picking up the first down and spiked the ball at his feet, drawing a 5-yard penalty for delay of game.

While out of character, Stafford's outburst ignited the Lions.

``I knew it was going to take something to spark people,'' Stafford said. ``That wasn't false. I was happy to be getting that first down and to be down on the ground safe after a run. I just wanted to get the guys going. It was time to go.''

And off the Lions went.

Stafford connected on three touchdown passes with rookie tight end Joseph Fauria, who celebrated each of the scores with familiar flair. On two of the TDS, the 6-foot-7 Fauria broke out some of his awkward, if not comical, dance moves and on the other he dunked the ball over the goal post.

Fauria has seven catches this season, five for TDs. Not bad for an undrafted free agent from UCLA.

``He's tall as heck,'' Lions coach Jim Schwartz said describing Fauria. ``But there are a lot of tall guys that aren't good players.''

No one for Detroit stood as tall as Stafford, who completed 25 of 43 passes for 248 yards. In the second half, he went 15 of 21 for 165 yards and made sure he got the ball to Reggie Bush, who finished with 135 total yards.

``Matthew is a tremendous quarterback, football player, guy and teammate,'' Fauria said. ``It's an honor to play with him, help him out and develop that trust.''

For the Browns (3-3), the loss stopped a three-game winning streak and raised more questions about their quarterback situation.

Brandon Weeden, back in the starting lineup with Brian Hoyer out for the rest of the year with a torn knee ligament, threw two TD passes. But his ill-advised, backhanded flip in the fourth quarter that was intercepted by Lions linebacker DeAndre Levy ended any chance of a Cleveland comeback.

``Just a bone-headed play,'' Weeden said.

Here are five more things we learned from the Lions' turnaround victory.

CALVIN HOBBLED: Johnson returned after missing last week's game with a right knee injury but was less than 100 percent.

The man they call ``Megatron'' had three catches for 25 yards but was slower than normal coming off the line and didn't cut with his usual precision and power. Still, his presence put the Browns' defense on edge and enabled Detroit's other receivers to get open.

``He helped tremendously,'' Fauria said. ``One of the greatest of all time, being lined up next to him is a trip. Having him on top opens things up for guys like me.''

SHUTDOWN: The Browns had a season-high 115 yards rushing - at halftime.

Cleveland's offensive line pushed Detroit's ferocious front foursome all over the field in the first half. But it was a different story after halftime as the Browns gained just 11 yards on the ground. It didn't help that Browns offensive coordinator Norv Turner abandoned the running game, placing more pressure on Weeden.

BUSH PUSH: Almost non-existent in the first half, Bush was a matchup nightmare in the second half for the Browns.

The versatile back picked up 121 total yards in the third and fourth quarters, and it was his 39-yard run in the third - on the play after Stafford's scramble and spike - that really got the Lions going.

JACKED RABBIT: In his first game after setting Cleveland's team record for punt return yardage, Travis Benjamin got bottled up by the Lions.

Nicknamed ``Rabbit,'' Benjamin was held to minus-10 yards on three punt returns. In Cleveland's Oct. 3 win over Buffalo, Benjamin had a 79-yard TD return and 179 yards, but the Lions did an exquisite job of taking him out of the game.

NO EVIDENCE: The Lions appeared to catch a break when Weeden's long pass - on 2nd-and-25 - to wide receiver Greg Little down the sideline in the fourth quarter was ruled out of bounds. Browns coach Rob Chudzinski challenged the call, but it was upheld and Cleveland lost a timeout.

``I had a pretty good view of it. I thought he got his second foot down,'' Chudzinski said. ``Obviously, that's why I challenged it, but he didn't. We didn't win the challenge and they didn't reverse it.''

---

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

DeAngelo WilliamsOct 1 09:33a

Carolina Panthers RB DeAngelo Williams (ankle) has his right foot and ankle in a cast Wednesday, Oct. 1.

Donald BrownOct 1 09:23a

The San Diego Chargers ran just 20 times for 42 yards in Week 4 against the Jacksonville Jaguars for a measly 2.1 yards per carry. After four games this [ More ]

Teddy BridgewaterOct 1 09:18a

Minnesota Vikings QB Teddy Bridgewater (ankle) is feeling 'much better' Tuesday, Sept. 30, and head coach Mike Zimmer remains hopeful that Bridgewater can play in Week 5 against the [ More ]

Eric WinstonOct 1 07:13a

The Atlanta Falcons worked out free-agent FS M.D. Jennings, SS Chris D. Clemons and OL Eric Winston Tuesday, Sept. 30. ESPN analyst Ed Werder confirmed the workout of Winston, [ More ]

Brandon BrownerOct 1 06:43a

The New England Patriots reinstated CB Brandon Browner and WR Brian Tyms from the suspended list Tuesday, Sept. 30. They each have a roster exemption that expires Monday, Oct. 6.

Marqise LeeSep 30 11:13p

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Marqise Lee (hamstring) is going through the team's return-to-play protocol and could return to practice this week.

Toby GerhartSep 30 11:03p

Jacksonville Jaguars RB Denard Robinson will continue to be involved in a rotation at running back with RB Toby Gerhart, and head coach Gus Bradley said the team strongly [ More ]

Navorro BowmanSep 30 09:13p

San Francisco 49ers LB Michael Wilhoite has started for LB NaVorro Bowman (knee) in all four games this season, and Bowman said he has been impressed by his replacement. [ More ]

Larry DonnellSep 30 09:03p

New York Giants TE Larry Donnell is on pace to finish the year with 100 catches, 944 yards and 16 touchdowns. The single-season record for touchdowns by a tight end is currently 17.

Bruce CarterSep 30 06:53p

Dallas Cowboys LB Bruce Carter's (quadriceps) will reportedly need 10-14 days for his strained right quadriceps to heal, assuring he will miss Week 5 against the Houston Texans.

Brandon HepburnSep 30 06:43p

The Philadelphia Eagles released LB Brandon Hepburn and OT Tyler Hoover Tuesday, Sept. 30.

Gabe MillerSep 30 06:33p

The Washington Redskins re-signed LB Gabe Miller and DT Robert Thomas to their practice squad Tuesday, Sept. 30.

Chris BoswellSep 30 06:33p

The Houston Texans released PK Chris Boswell Tuesday, Sept. 30.

Mario ManninghamSep 30 06:13p

The New York Giants released WR Mario Manningham (calf) from their Reserve/Injured list with an injury waiver Tuesday, Sept. 30.

Joe McKnightSep 30 06:13p

The Kansas City Chiefs placed RB Joe McKnight (Achilles') on Reserve/Injured Tuesday, Sept. 30.

Terrell ManningSep 30 06:03p

The Chicago Bears placed LB Terrell Manning and WR Rashad Ross on no-recall waivers Tuesday, Sept. 30.

Montell OwensSep 30 05:53p

The Detroit Lions placed RB Montell Owens (hamstring) on Reserve/Injured and signed RB George Winn from their practice squad Tuesday, Sept. 30.

LaMichael JamesSep 30 05:43p

The Miami Dolphins signed free-agent RB LaMichael James (49ers) Tuesday, Sept. 30.

Jerick McKinnonSep 30 05:03p

Minnesota Vikings RB Jerick McKinnon (ankle) was limited in practice again Tuesday, Sept. 30.

Jarrett BoykinSep 30 05:03p

Green Bay Packers LB Sam Barrington (hamstring), DT Josh Boyd (knee) and WR Jarrett Boykin (groin) did not practice Tuesday, Sept. 30. LB Brad Jones (quadriceps) was limited, while [ More ]

Chad GreenwaySep 30 05:03p

Minnesota Vikings LB Chad Greenway (hand/rib) did not practice Tuesday, Sept. 30. CBs Captain Munnerlyn (illness) and Josh Robinson (hamstring) were limited. FB Jerome Felton (knee), LB Michael Mauti [ More ]

Jadeveon ClowneySep 30 04:53p

Houston Texans LB Jadeveon Clowney (knee) began running Tuesday, Sept. 30, as part of his rehabilitation process. He said the rehab process is coming along well and that he [ More ]

William MooreSep 30 04:03p

Atlanta Falcons SS William Moore (shoulder) will be placed on the short-term Reserve/Injured list, according to head coach Mike Smith.

Joe HawleySep 30 04:03p

Atlanta Falcons C Joe Hawley (knee) was diagnosed with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his knee, according to a league source. C Peter Konz will now be the [ More ]

Victor ButlerSep 30 03:43p

The Arizona Cardinals released LB Victor Butler Tuesday, Sept. 30.

Teddy BridgewaterSep 30 02:33p

Minnesota Vikings QB Teddy Bridgewater (ankle) isn't practicing for the second straight day Tuesday, Sept. 30.

Tony SparanoSep 30 02:13p

The Oakland Raiders named Tony Sparano interim head coach Tuesday, Sept. 30.

Joe HawleySep 30 02:13p

Atlanta Falcons C Joe Hawley (knee) and OT Lamar Holmes (foot) were placed on the Reserve/Injured list Tuesday, Sept. 30.

Tommy BohanonSep 30 02:03p

New York Jets FB Tommy Bohanon (collarbone) will have surgery for a broken collarbone, and will be placed on the team's Reserve/Injured list.

Uche NwaneriSep 30 02:03p

Atlanta Falcons C Joe Hawley (knee) could be dealing with a season-ending injury to his right knee, according to a league source. The Falcons will work out free-agent OG [ More ]

Matt AsiataSep 30 01:53p

Minnesota Vikings RB Jerick McKinnon ran for 135 yards on 18 carries in the team's Week 4 win over the Atlanta Falcons, but head coach Mike Zimmer is hesitant [ More ]

Ben TateSep 30 01:23p

Cleveland Browns RB Ben Tate (knee) returned to practice Tuesday, Sept. 30, for the first time since spraining his right knee in the season opener Sept. 7. It means [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group