DETROIT – After a week of questions about his limited production of late, Calvin Johnson lifted Detroit’s offense with an emphatic reminder that he’s still one of the game’s most dynamic players.
Johnson caught 11 passes for 146 yards with a pair of first-half touchdowns, and the Lions boosted their postseason hopes with a 34-17 victory over the Chicago Bears on Thursday. Johnson had been held under 60 yards in two of three games since returning from an ankle injury, and there were rumblings that the 29-year-old receiver was slowing down, but he quieted a lot of those concerns with perhaps his best game of the season.
“Guys still believe in what we got going here,” Johnson said. “We had a good week of practice – it was a very short week, but we were very detailed in what we did on the field, coaches taking care of us.”
After losing at Arizona and New England and falling out of first place in the NFC North, the Lions (8-4) spotted Chicago a 14-3 first-quarter lead before rallying with relative ease in the second. Detroit finished with a season-high 474 yards.
Joique Bell ran for two touchdowns for the Lions, and Jay Cutler threw two TD passes for Chicago (5-7). Detroit’s Matthew Stafford went 34 of 45 for 390 yards with the two touchdown passes to Johnson.
The Lions have now won back-to-back games on Thanksgiving after losing their previous nine. They beat Green Bay 40-10 last year.
That victory over the Packers was Detroit’s only win in its final seven games last season as the Lions frittered away a playoff spot. They are again in mix for the postseason this year, and Thursday’s game was their first of three in a row at home – all against teams with losing records.
“Every single week there’s a new challenge. We have a new one next week,” Lions coach Jim Caldwell said. “The minute you get comfortable at any stage in our league you’re going to have problems.”
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