Lions climb to .500 by beating Dolphins 32-21
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — Caught from behind on a 71-yard run, Kerryon Johnson took some locker room ribbing, the kind that comes after a victory on the road.
Johnson rushed for 158 yards Sunday to help the Detroit Lions beat Miami 32-21. His teammates thought he should have had more, but safety Reshad Jones ran him down after the Lions’ longest run in seven years.
“Look, since high school I’ve been caught from behind enough times for me to know that’s how it happens in life,” Johnson said. “But I haven’t run 71 yards in a long time, so I was proud of myself.”
The Lions (3-3) had lots of reasons to feel good after climbing to .500, their high-water mark so far this season. The Dolphins (4-3), by contrast, fell out of their first-place tie with New England in the AFC East.
Here are things to know about both teams:
GROUND GAME: The Lions netted 248 yards on the ground, their highest total since the Barry Sanders era in 1997, and averaged 7.1 per rush. The same team rushed for 39 yards in a season-opening loss to the New York Jets.
“When you go out and you can execute and do it the right way, it looks really good,” coach Matt Patricia said. “We’ve seen it when it doesn’t look so good.”
For the first time this season, the Lions had more rushes than pass plays. Quarterback Matt Stafford was fine with that, given the results.
“It’s incredible,” he said. “Our guys up front dominated. They played great. I thought our receivers in the back end blocked well, and then obviously our backs were awesome. It was a lot of fun to watch them do their thing.
“I haven’t been a part of too many of those, and it was a whole lot of fun.”
When he did throw, Stafford was a model of efficiency. He went 18 for 22 for 217 yards with two scores and no turnovers for a season-high rating of 138.1.
Stafford had his fifth game in row with at least two touchdown passes and a 100 passer rating. He threw four interceptions in opener, but has only one since.
The injury-plagued Dolphins lost two more key players. Dynamic receiver Albert Wilson was sidelined in the first half, and receiver Kenny Stills limped to the locker room with a minute left.
Wilson’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, said his client suffered a hip injury that appeared significant.
“I would say the best-case scenario is that he would miss a few weeks,” Rosenhaus said during his weekly appearance on South Florida’s WSVN-TV. “Worst-case scenario is he could possibly miss the rest of the season.”
There won’t be much time for any Dolphins to mend — they play Thursday at the Houston Texans (4-3), who earned their fourth consecutive victory Sunday by winning at Jacksonville.
“We’ll figure something out,” coach Adam Gase said. “It’s going to be a short week, but at the same time we’ll have enough guys to be ready to go.”
RUSHING THE PASSER
Detroit defensive tackle Ricky Jean Francois had two sacks and two quarterback hurries. He said he was effective, in part, because the Lions’ ball-control attack allowed him to stay fresh by spending a lot of time on the sideline.
“I love the offense,” Francois said. “I love when they are running that ball, passing, and you just keep hearing ‘first down, first down, first down.’ I’m a big fan of our offense. Our offense did their job, ate the clock, ran the ball, controlled the game.”
Brock Osweiler played well in his second start filling in for the injured Ryan Tannehill. Osweiler went 22 for 31 for 239 yards with two touchdowns and no turnovers.
Tannehill is nursing a sore throwing shoulder, and Gase declined to shed any light on his status for the Texans.
“I don’t know yet because we haven’t gotten that far yet,” Gase said. “I was worried about today.”
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