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Calvin Johnson explodes as Lions fight off Bears

Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford passed for 390 yards and two touchdowns as Detroit enjoyed its finest offensive showing since Week 1 in Thursday's 34-17 win over the wandering Chicago Bears. Our takeaways:

  1. Detroit's embattled offense got healthy on Turkey Day. After snapping a streak of 25 straight drives without a touchdown, Matthew Stafford and the Lions ripped off three consecutive scores before the break to put the Bears on ice. In the first half alone, Stafford completed 22 of 26 passes for 275 yards. Calvin Johnson, meanwhile, was outstanding, amassing a season-high 11 receptions for 146 yards and two touchdowns. The onslaught came against a banged-up, talent-poor Bears defense, but the Lions on Thursday showed how explosive they can be when Golden Tate -- with another eight catches for 89 yards -- is paired with a fully operational Megatron.
  1. Jay Cutler was white-hot out of the gate, throwing a pair of touchdown strikes over Chicago's first three possessions. After Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall combined for just 54 yards last week -- their lowest output in two years -- the duo returned to total 113 yards off 15 grabs. This air attack, though, remains a shell of last year's tantalizing outfit. 
  1. With Reggie Bush ruled out, Joique Bell overcame a slow start to churn out 91 yards at 4.0 yards per carry. Most of that came in garbage time for the NFL's third-worst run game. The Lions can hang with anyone when the passing attack sings, but it's hard to believe long-term in a squad that can't pound the ball when it needs to. Today was an aberration.
  1. Lions tight end Eric Ebron made our list of rookie disappointments, but his freakish athleticism was on display during a first-down grab that saw the pass-catcher leap over Bears corner Kyle Fuller for a 13-yard gain. He's far from a core part of the offense, but Ebron followed up his season-high seven targets in Week 12 with three catches for 23 yards.
  1. Matt Forte's strong season has been overlooked on a bad Bears team, but he never got started against Detroit. Ndamukong Suh and friends held Chicago to just 13 yards rushing at a sorry 1.6 yards per clip. Cutler in the second half threw 13 straight passes at one stage to avoid Detroit's swarming, top-ranked run defense.
  1. Hidden in the loss was a nice outing by Jared Allen, who triggered a Bears touchdown drive with his first-quarter strip-sack of Stafford at Detroit's 5-yard line. His two takedowns and three quarterback hits weren't enough, though, to slow down the Lions.
  1. Detroit (8-4) drew even with the Packers (8-3) in the win column ahead of Green Bay's battle with New England on Sunday. The Lions now face three winnable upcoming tilts against the Bucs, Vikings and Bears before a potential division-deciding showdown with the Packers at Lambeau in Week 17.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast previews the Week 13 games and reacts to the news of RGIII's benching in D.C. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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