Matthew Stafford threw three touchdown passes and passed for 373 yards to lead the Detroit Lions to a 38-10 victory over the San Diego Chargers Saturday at Ford Field to clinch an NFL wild card spot.
The Lions have won three straight games and are 10-5. They clinched their first NFC wild card berth since 1999 and have the most wins by the team through 15 games since 1991 when it won 11 times.
The Chargers, 7-8, with a win over the Lions, would have forged a three-way tie at 8-7 with Denver and Oakland for the AFC West lead.
Trailing 24-0 at halftime, the Chargers got on the board midway in the third quarter on an 11-yard touchdown pass from Philip Rivers to Malcom Floyd.
The Chargers caught the Lions off guard with an onside kick that was recovered at the Detroit 47 by Eric Weddle. That led to a 24-yard field goal by Nick Novack to cut the Lions lead to 14 points
Detroit came back to take a 31-10 lead late in the third quarter on a 5-yard run by Kevin Smith. His score gave Detroit a single season touchdown record of 51.
The Chargers moved to the Lions 2-yard line on the next drive but couldn't score. Late in the game, Lions defensive end Cliff Avril intercepted Rivers' pass on the Charger 4-yard line and walked into the end zone.
The Lions scored on the game's first drive with Stafford passing 46 yards to Calvin Johnson to get Detroit deep into San Diego territory. To cap the 74-yard drive, Stafford passed 7 yards to Brandon Pettigrew for the touchdown and 7-0 lead. Jason Hanson added a 50-yard field goal late in the quarter.
Hansen has become the first player in NHL history to make 50 50-yard field goals.
Midway in the second quarter, Stafford tossed a 3-yard pass to Smith to cap an 87-yard touchdown drive. Later in the quarter, he threw a 14-yard TD strike to Johnson.
Rivers passed for 299 yards but the Chargers couldn't get a running game going. In total yards, it was 440 for Detroit and 353 for San Diego.
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