Stafford Leads Lions to Shootout Win

  • November 22, 2009, 5:12 PM

DETROIT (AP) -- An ailing Matthew Stafford threw his fifth touchdown pass from 1 yard to Brandon Pettigrew , and Jason Hanson 's extra point with no time on the clock gave the Detroit Lions a thrilling 38-37 win over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.

Detroit was given the untimed play because safety Hank Poteat was called for pass interference in the end zone when Stafford heaved a desperation attempt. Stafford was hit after his throw to the end zone and appeared to hurt his left shoulder or chest area. He was replaced by Daunte Culpepper .

The Browns, though, gave Stafford a chance to get back in the game by calling a timeout with the ball at the 1-yard line. Stafford returned and connected with fellow rookie Pettigrew to snap Detroit's six-game losing streak.

The Lions (2-8) started the winning drive with 1:46 remaining and no timeouts. Stafford, the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft, did just enough to rally them for the win - helped hugely by the call that went against the Browns (1-9).

Brady Quinn threw four TDs, surpassing his previous career total, and connected with Michael Gaines with 5:44 left to put the Browns ahead after helping them score a franchise-record 24 points in the first quarter.

The Lions and Browns have been the NFL's worst teams since 1999, but they combined to play an entertaining game. When it was over, Cleveland players were sprawled all over the field as the Lions celebrated a rare victory. Former Detroit defensive tackle Shaun Rogers went down on a knee for several moments to contemplate his latest loss after futilely trying to block the extra point.

It's not of much consolation, but Cleveland showed a pulse on offense after going three games without a TD and surpassing its season high in points before the first quarter ended.

Quinn, who started the game with three TD passes in three seasons, threw a 59-yard scoring pass to rookie Mohamed Massaquoi , a 40-yarder to Chansi Stuckey and a 4-yarder to Josh Cribbs to give the Browns a 24-3 lead late in the first quarter.

He was 21 of 33 for 304 yards and did not throw an interception, bouncing back after an awful game last Monday night against Baltimore.

Stafford threw three of his TDs in the first half to make it 24-24. He was 26 of 43 for 422 yards and threw two interceptions, the second of which looked like it might doom Detroit. Stafford tried to throw long to Calvin Johnson , who was triple-covered, and Brodney Pool picked it off in the end zone with 3:49 left.

Cleveland couldn't pick up enough first downs to run out the clock and gave Detroit another chance. For a change, the Lions took advantage.

Stafford threw short passes, including questionable ones in the middle of the field, but then scrambled elusively on what would've been the final play before the deep pass that resulted in interference when Poteat got tangled up with Johnson in the end zone.

Johnson had seven receptions for 161 yards and a score and Kevin Smith had 104 yards receiving and a score for the Lions, who avoided becoming the first team in NFL history to endure a 2-32 stretch.

Massaquoi caught five passes for 115 yards and a score for the Browns, who have lost five straight.

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I have been impressed with the Lions franchise. They have turned things around and are headed in the right direction. Well, they turned it around from horrible to bad. Progress, right?

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