Detroit Lions, Cowboys win to take division leads

Detroit Lions, Cowboys win to take division leads

DETROIT - Agence France-Presse
Detroit Lions, Cowboys win to take division leads

The Detroit Lions’ Calvin Johnson runs for a third quarter touchdown while playing the Green Bay Packers at Ford Field. AFP photo

The Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys won their annual US Thanksgiving home games on Nov. 29, each of them seizing an NFL division lead with the holiday victory.

Detroit’s Matthew Stafford threw for three touchdowns and the Lions won on Thanksgiving for the first time since 2003, beating Green Bay 40-10 to grab the NFC North lead.

At Dallas, DeMarco Murray ran for a career-best three touchdowns to power the Cowboys over Oakland 31-24. Pittsburgh was at reigning Super Bowl champion Baltimore in a later game between 5-6 clubs, two of six teams level for the last American Conference playoff spot with five weeks remaining in the regular season.

Stafford completed 22 of 35 passes for 330 yards and, even though he threw two interceptions and lost a fumble that led to a Packer touchdown, the Lions’ defense forced four turnovers and allowed Green Bay only 123 total yards. “We turned the ball over too much but our defense came through for us,” Stafford said.

Detroit posted seven quarterback sacks, two fumble recoveries, an interception and a safety as the Lions took the first win in their annual Thanksgiving home game since beating the Packers 22-14 a decade ago.

“We understood what they were going to do and tried to take advantage of it,” said Lions star defender Ndamukong Suh. “We played well as a unit and stuck together. We went out and made some sacks and had some fun.”

‘Great day’

Reggie Bush ran 20 times for 117 yards, caught five passes for 65 yards and scored a touchdown and Calvin Johnson caught six passes for 101 yards and a touchdown. “It was great day for us,” Bush said. “We fought back and came through adversity and came out with a win. It’s pretty special. It was a big win.”

The Lions, seeking their first division title in 19 years, improved to 7-5 atop the NFC North ahead of Chicago, which would reach 7-5 with a victory Sunday at Minnesota. The Packers have struggled to four losses and a draw in their past five games and quarterback Aaron Rodgers has not played since breaking his left collarbone against Chicago on November 4.

In Dallas, Oakland’s Greg Jenkins produced a rare score on a team kicking off the ball when he recovered a fumble and ran it back 24 yards for a touchdown on the opening play of the game for the Raiders. Murray answered with a 2-yard touchdown run for Dallas set up by an Oakland fumble but the Raiders seized a 21-7 lead on a pair of 1-yard touchdown runs by Rashad Jennings.

But the Raiders did not score again until the dying seconds while Dallas added 4- and 7-yard touchdown runs by Murray and Tony Romo’s 4-yard touchdown pass to Dez Bryant. The Cowboys improved to 7-5, moving ahead of Philadelphia atop the NFC East, although the Eagles can pull level with Dallas again by downing Arizona on Sunday.

Other NFL games on Dec. 1 find New England at Houston, Jacksonville at Cleveland, Tampa Bay at Carolina, Miami at the New York Jets, Tennessee at Indianapolis, Atlanta at Buffalo, Cincinnati at San Diego, the New York Giants at Washington, St. Louis at San Francisco and a showdown of 9-2 AFC West co-leaders Denver at Kansas City.