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Lions notebook: Offense fizzles in scoreless 2nd half

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Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013, 8:00 p.m.

One play early in the second quarter of Sunday's game turned a struggling Detroit offense into a scoring machine.

But the Lions couldn't maintain that second-quarter momentum and eventually dropped a 37-27 decision to the Steelers at soggy Heinz Field.

The Steelers were leading 17-3 when quarterback Matt Stafford hooked up on a 79-yard touchdown pass with wide receiver Charles Johnson.

That play ignited the Lions' offense for the next 10 minutes and helped them grab a 27-20 halftime lead. The Lions scored all of their points in the second quarter.

Until Johnson's touchdown, Stafford had completed 5 of 12 passes for 60 yards, and Johnson had one catch for 16 yards.

Stafford completed 11 of his 18 passes for 267 yards and two scores in the next 10 minutes, and Johnson had six catches for 179 yards.

It was the first time Stafford had thrown for more than 300 first-half yards in his career. He had 327 on 16 of 30 passes.

Stafford, however, was 3 for 16 for 35 yards in the second half, and Johnson failed to catch a pass. Stafford finished 19 of 46 for 362 yards.

“I don't think we came out hot on offense or defense,” Stafford said. “It was 14-0 before you could take a breath. We didn't help out our defense, but that one play got us back in the game. We just didn't make enough plays.”

Stafford said the Steelers didn't change much defensively, but they made the stops when they needed to.

Stafford tops the list

Stafford became the Lions all-time leader in career passing yards and starts.

His 362 yards moved him past Bobby Layne with 16,005 yards. Layne had 15,710 yards. He also moved past Greg Landry in consecutive starts with 42.

Stafford would trade records for a win.

“We just didn't execute in the second half,” Stafford said. “We had a good second quarter, but we didn't capitalize in the red zone. I missed a couple passes, and we had a couple drops.”

His two touchdown passes, giving him 101 in his career — 17 behind Layne — and posted his 23rd career 300-yard game.

Mega numbers

Johnson had another huge game, adding to his already impressive resume.

He recorded his 38th career 100-yard game and his 12th 150-yard plus game. This was his ninth 100-yard game in his past 10 contests.

Johnson refused to speak to media after the game.

Missed opportunities

The Lions' defense didn't force a turnover and recorded only one sack, by Nick Fairley.

They also dropped two potential interceptions, one by linebacker DeAndre Levy and the other by defensive back Rashean Mathis.

Paul Schofield is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or via Twitter @Schofield_Trib.

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