Stafford, Lions pound Eagles
DETROIT — Matthew Stafford dropped back and perfectly lofted the ball where only Calvin Johnson could catch it.
Johnson leaped to come down with the 25-yard pass in the end zone for the first of a career-high matching three touchdown receptions, Stafford tied a personal best with five scoring passes, and the surging Detroit Lions kept the Philadelphia Eagles reeling with a 45-14 rout Thursday.
"When we're on point like that, it's hard to stop," Johnson said.
The Lions (4-7) have won three straight since firing their team president and general manager, and three in a row in their annual Thanksgiving game.
Detroit ran for 108 yards, tied a season high with six sacks and Matt Prater made a 48-yard field goal.
"That's as complete a victory as we've had since we've been here," said Jim Caldwell, who won 11 games last season in his first year as Detroit's coach.
The Eagles (4-7) have lost three straight. They have allowed at least 45 points in two straight games in one season for the first time, according to STATS, and have lost by at least 28 points in consecutive games for the first time since 1971.
"We all take accountability," coach Chip Kelly said. "I'm a coach, not a player, so it starts with me. I'm not pointing fingers at anybody, and I don't think anybody points fingers at anybody."
Stafford threw for more than 200 yards and three touchdowns without a turnover by halftime for the second time in his career, according to STATS, to help the Lions lead 24-7. He finished 27 of 38 for 337 yards and threw five TDs for the fourth time in his career.
"Our quarterback is comfortable in this offense," Caldwell said. "And when that happens, it gives you opportunities for your playmakers to do things."
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 in the second quarter with a broken right ankle and was replaced by rookie Eric Rowe.
"At the end of the first quarter, I realized we hadn't gotten 81 the ball yet, so we dialed up some plays for him," Stafford said. "We started getting aggressive, and that opened up a couple routes for him."
The quarterback seems to be clicking with plays called by offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter, who replaced the fired Joe Lombardi a month ago.
"I love that he's so aggressive," Stafford said. "That rubs off on the players because it is fun when he's giving you chances to make big plays."
Taking advantage of Johnson in one-on-one coverage, Stafford threw 4- and 3-yard TD passes to Johnson in the third quarter.
"We're attacking the defense, and not playing defense on offense," Johnson said.
BEARS 17, PACKERS 13: At Green Bay, Wis., Jay Cutler threw for 200 yards and a score and the Chicago Bears held off the Green Bay Packers on fourth-and-goal from the 8 with 22 seconds left for a victory.
Aaron Rodgers' throw to the end zone deflected off receiver Davante Adams' hands on the rain. James Jones couldn't hang on to a potential touchdown catch on third down.
Cornerback Tracy Porter intercepted Rodgers' pass with 3:19 left at the Bears 45 on the Packers' previous drive.
The highlight of the night for Green Bay turned out to be the return of Brett Favre, whose name and No. 4 was unveiled at halftime next to the team's other retired numbers.
Chicago (5-6) has won three of its last four. The Packers (7-4) lost a second straight home game.
Jeremy Langford ran for a touchdown for Chicago.