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Leshoure's big day helps Lions down struggling Jaguars
Jacksonville, FL (Sports Network) - A stifling defense combined with a career game from Mikel Leshoure led the Detroit Lions to a 31-14 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Leshoure found the end zone three times in the second quarter and finished the contest with 70 yards on 16 carries while the Detroit defense limited Jacksonville to just one first down in the first half and two touchdowns in the fourth quarter with a sack and two interceptions.
"The most important thing is that we won the game," said Detroit head coach Jim Schwartz. "Any time you can come away with a road game is huge for a team. I thought we executed really well and we adjusted to what they were doing. I'm really proud of the offensive line and our running game today."
Matthew Stafford went 22-for-33 with 285 yards, Calvin Johnson had seven catches for 129 yards while Joique Bell added 13 carries for 73 yards and a score for the Lions (4-4), who have won their past two games to get back to .500 on the season.
Blaine Gabbert passed for 220 yards as he went 27-for-38 with two touchdowns and two interceptions for the Jaguars (1-7), who have dropped their past five games.
"It was just a lack of execution on our part," said Gabbert. "We ran 12 plays in the first half without a first down and that was the fault of all 11 guys on the unit. We were shooting ourselves in the foot and hanging our defense out to dry. That's no way to win a football game."
Each team punted on its first possession and Detroit started its second drive at its own 8-yard line after a 73-yard punt from Bryan Anger. Helped by a personal foul call on Jacksonville and a 28-yard catch by Tony Scheffler, the team went for a 47-yard field goal attempt by Jason Hanson, but the normally reliable kicker hit it off the right upright and it stayed out.
The Jaguars were unable to do anything with the decent field position and had to punt after failing to record a first down.
Detroit was again pinned deep as Anger punted the ball down to the 9-yard line. That didn't faze the team, though, as Stafford guided the club down the field and got across midfield on a 26-yard catch by Johnson, who added an 18- yard catch two plays later. With a 1st-and-goal at the 7-yard line, Leshoure took it up the middle and into the end zone for a 7-0 lead with 12:16 to play in the second quarter.
Jacksonville's offense again failed to pick up a first down and gave Detroit the ball back near midfield.
Working with their best field position of the game, the Lions didn't need long to score as a 38-yard catch by Johnson took the ball to the 1-yard line and Leshoure took it in on the next play for a 14-0 lead with 7:58 to play in the first half.
The Jaguars got their lone first down of the first half on their next touch, but that was all and they had to punt from their own 39.
Starting at their own 19, the Lions faced a third down, but a pass interference call on Jacksonville moved the ball 20 yards. Johnson caught a pass for 12 yards to move it across midfield and Titus Young later added a 17- yard catch. Facing a 2nd-and-7 at the 8-yard line, Leshoure danced around a defender and took it in from the left side to give the Lions a 21-0 lead going into the break.
Gabbert was picked off by Erik Coleman on Jacksonville's first touch of the second half, but Detroit was unable to do anything with the ball and had to punt.
The Jaguars then put together their best drive of the game as they used a nice mix of run and pass to get into scoring position. Facing a 2nd-and-10 at the Detroit 26, Gabbert had a pass tipped and Jonte Green came up with it for the first interception of his career.
That led to a 40-yard drive and a 42-yard field goal from Hanson to give the Lions a 24-0 lead with 13:56 to play.
Jacksonville responded with its longest drive of the game and finally got on the board. On the 11th play of the march, Gabbert found Michael Spurlock in the end zone from five yards out and Rashad Jennings then caught a pass on the two-point conversion to make it a 24-8 game with about 8 1/2 minutes to play.
Detroit came right back, though, with a nine-play drive that covered 80 yards with Bell capping it on a 10-yard bull run through the middle and into the end zone to give the team a 31-8 lead with 2:42 to play.
A 6-yard touchdown catch by Justin Blackmon with 50 seconds to play coupled with a failed 2-point conversion attempt accounted for the final score.
Jacksonville has a short week as it hosts Indianapolis on Thursday ... The Lions play in Minnesota next Sunday ... Detroit snapped a three-game losing streak to Jacksonville ... Johnson has 25 100-yard games in his career ... Detroit controlled the ball for 35:30 and outgained Jacksonville, 434-279 ... Blackmon's touchdown was the first of his career ... Stafford went over 10,000 yards passing for his career in the game. It took him 37 games, which is second to Kurt Warner for fastest in NFL history.
11/04 19:48:12 ET