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

Captain MunnerlynAug 20 09:58a

After starting the season sharing No. 1 duties with Josh Robinson, Minnesota Vikings CB Captain Munnerlyn appears to have won the starting left corner job outright. Robinson has missed [ More ]

Jerrel JerniganAug 20 09:20a

New York Giants WRs Victor Cruz, Rueben Randle, Jerrel Jernigan and Mario Manningham have not made many big plays this preseason. Cruz initially caught a long play-action pass Saturday, [ More ]

Brian HoyerAug 20 08:53a

Cleveland Browns QB Brian Hoyer has been named the starting quarterback over QB Johnny Manziel. Head coach Mike Pettine wrote the announcement in an e-mail and said Manziel made [ More ]

Lance BriggsAug 20 08:43a

Chicago Bears LB Lance Briggs (knee), OG Brian de la Puente (knee), OG Eben Britton (hamstring) and CB Isaiah Frey (hamstring) missed practice Tuesday, Aug. 19. TE Dante Rosario [ More ]

Jordan MillsAug 20 08:23a

Chicago Bears OT Jordan Mills (foot) is in danger of missing Week 1. He has worn a walking boot sporadically throughout camp after January surgery to repair a broken metatarsal in his left foot.

Santonio HolmesAug 20 05:33a

The Chicago Bears and WR Santonio Holmes reached agreement on a minimum salary benefit contract for Holmes that offers no guaranteed money. Holmes signed with the Bears on Saturday, [ More ]

Colt LyerlaAug 20 01:33a

Updating a previous report, Green Bay Packers TE Colt Lyerla (knee), who was waived/injured Tuesday, Aug. 19, could move to fullback in the future, according to tight ends coach [ More ]

Alterraun VernerAug 20 12:03a

Tampa Bay Buccaneer CB Alterraun Verner (hamstring) returned to practice Tuesday, Aug. 19, but head coach Lovie Smith said he may not play in the team's preseason game Sunday, Aug. 24.

Mike DevitoAug 20 12:03a

Kansas City Chiefs DT Mike DeVito (hand) and DE Mike Catapano (illness) returned to practice Tuesday, Aug. 19. Catapano worked with the first-team during pass-rushing drills.

Colt LyerlaAug 19 11:43p

Green Bay Packers TE Colt Lyerla (knee) will likely be placed on Injured Reserve after he clears waivers, according to Lyerla's agent, Vinnie Porter. 'So to put him on [ More ]

Jerome SimpsonAug 19 11:33p

Minnesota Vikings WR Jerome Simpson said Tuesday, Aug. 19, that he told the truth when he met with NFL hearings officer Harold Henderson to appeal a three-game suspension stemming [ More ]

Brandon LloydAug 19 10:23p

San Francisco 49ers WR Brandon Lloyd has developed a bond with WR Anquan Boldin and is in good position to make the final 53-man roster.

Tyler WilsonAug 19 10:23p

Cincinnati Bengals RB Rex Burkhead (knee), CB Darqueze Dennard (hip), TE Tyler Eifert (shoulder), DE Wallace Gilberry (undisclosed), DE Dontay Moch (undisclosed), OL Mike Pollak (knee), WR Dane Sanzenbacher [ More ]

Nick CollinsAug 19 10:23p

Free-agent S Nick Collins (Packers) officially announced his retirement from the NFL Tuesday, Aug. 19, on his official Twitter account.

Kenjon BarnerAug 19 10:13p

The Philadelphia Eagles acquired RB Kenjon Barner from the Carolina Panthers Tuesday, Aug. 19, for a conditional seventh-round pick in 2015.

Andre SmithAug 19 10:13p

Cincinnati CB Dre Kirkpatrick (hip), LB Sean Porter (knee) and OT Andre Smith (concussion) returned to practice Tuesday, Aug. 19.

D.J. HaydenAug 19 10:03p

Oakland Raiders CB D.J. Hayden (foot) will be placed on the Physically Unable to Perform list next week if the team doesn't believe he will healthy enough to start [ More ]

Sammy WatkinsAug 19 09:33p

Buffalo Bills WR Sammy Watkins (ribs) returned to practice on a limited basis Tuesday, Aug. 19. Watkins said he could play in a game, but head coach Doug Marrone [ More ]

Dimitri PattersonAug 19 09:13p

New York Jets CB Dimitri Patterson (leg) said he hopes to play in the team's preseason game Friday, Aug. 22, and said there is 'no doubt' he will be [ More ]

Darnell DockettAug 19 09:13p

Arizona Cardinals DE Frostee Rucker will have the first shot at replacing DT Darnell Dockett (knee), and he will start in Dockett's position at practice Wednesday, Aug. 20. DE [ More ]

Jake LongAug 19 09:03p

St. Louis Ram OT Jake Long (knee), LB James Laurinaitis (ankle), DE Michael Brockers (ankle) and CB Janoris Jenkins (undisclosed) could all play in the team's preseason game Saturday, Aug. 23.

Champ BaileyAug 19 08:43p

New Orleans Saints DE Akiem Hicks (undisclosed) and CB Champ Bailey (undisclosed) were held out of team drills during practice Tuesday, Aug. 19.

Glenn DorseyAug 19 08:33p

San Francisco 49ers DT Glenn Dorsey (biceps) will have one more MRI to see how his torn bicep is healing before the team decides if he can return at some point this season.

Ben GrubbsAug 19 08:33p

New Orleans Saints OG Ben Grubbs (undisclosed) and WR Brandin Cooks (illness) missed practice Tuesday, Aug. 19. Cooks is dealing with a stomach virus, and Grubbs left practice early [ More ]

Casey HaywardAug 19 08:23p

Green Bay Packers CB Casey Hayward (undisclosed) was limited in practice Tuesday, Aug. 19. Head coach Mike McCarthy said the move was precautionary because of his injury history. Hayward [ More ]

Steven JacksonAug 19 07:43p

Atlanta Falcons RB Steven Jackson (hamstring) and OT Gabe Carimi (ankle) did not practice Tuesday, Aug. 19.

Brett KeiselAug 19 06:13p

The Pittsburgh Steelers and free-agent DE Brett Keisel (Steelers) have agreed to an undisclosed deal, according to a source.

Pat DevlinAug 19 05:43p

The Miami Dolphins placed QB Pat Devlin (hamstring) on no-recall waivers from Reserve/Injured with an injury settlement.

Rodger SaffoldAug 19 05:33p

St. Louis Rams DT Michael Brockers (ankle), OT Rodger Saffold (neck), FB Kadeem Jones (undisclosed) and SS Matt Daniels (ankle) returned to practice Tuesday, Aug. 19.

Dimitri PattersonAug 19 05:03p

New York Jets CB Dimitri Patterson (leg), C Nick Mangold and RB Chris Ivory returned to practice Tuesday, Aug. 19.

Marcus GilbertAug 19 04:53p

Pittsburgh Steelers OT Marcus Gilbert has signed a six-year contract extension. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Josh GordonAug 19 04:43p

Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon could have shown more effort on a couple plays during the team's Monday night game against the Washington Redskins, according to head coach Mike Pettine.

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