Stafford's 5 TDs help Lions rout Eagles
DETROIT (AP) Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson combined for one of the best games of their careers, helping the surging Detroit Lions keep the Philadelphia Eagles reeling.
Stafford tied a career high with five touchdown passes. Three of them were to Johnson, who also tied a personal best, in a 45-14 rout of Philadelphia on Thursday.
The Lions (4-7) have won three straight this season and three in a row in their annual Thanksgiving game.
The Eagles (4-7) are on a three-game losing streak. They have allowed at least 45 points in two straight games in one season for the first time in team history, according to STATS.
Stafford threw for more than 200 yards and three touchdowns without a turnover by halftime, helping the Lions lead 24-7. He finished 27 of 38 for 337 yards and threw five TDs for the fourth time in his career. Johnson had eight catches for 93 yards and three TDs, matching his career high set in 2010.
After not throwing to Johnson much early in the game, Stafford started connecting with the star receiver. The Eagles couldn’t do much about it, especially when starting cornerback Nolan Carroll left the game with a broken right ankle and was replaced by rookie Eric Rowe.
Stafford threw a 25-yard pass high in the end zone, where only the 6-foot-5 Johnson could catch it, to put Detroit ahead 24-7 with 12 seconds left in the first half. The quarterback seems to be clicking with the plays called by offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter, who replaced the fired Joe Lombardi a month ago.
Taking advantage of Johnson in one-on-one coverage, Stafford threw 4- and 3-yard TD passes to Johnson in the third quarter.
Eagles quarterback Mark Sanchez started in place of Sam Bradford, who was inactive with a shoulder injury. Sanchez completed 19 of 27 passes for 199 yards and two TDs.
Sanchez was able to connect with receivers when he had time, but that didn’t happen very often.
Detroit’s Ezekiel Ansah had a career-high four sacks, one of which forced a fumble by Sanchez. The Lions had six sacks as a team, equaling a season high.
After the Lions punted on their first drive, they did whatever they wanted on offense.
Stafford started the scoring barrage with an 8-yard pass to Theo Riddick, who made a sharp move to the inside to get away from linebacker Mychal Kendricks late in the opening quarter.
The Eagles tied the game on the ensuing possession when Sanchez capped an 80-yard drive with a 2-yard pass to Brent Celek early in the second quarter.
Stafford threw a go-ahead, 2-yard TD midway through the second quarter to Golden Tate, who lined up as a fullback and went to the flat where he caught the ball and stopped, letting safety Walter Thurmond run past him.
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