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(Saturday, December 24th)
Final Score: Detroit 38, San Diego 10
Detroit, MI (Sports Network) - Matthew Stafford threw for 373 yards and three touchdowns as Detroit locked up its first playoff berth in more than a decade with a 38-10 decision over San Diego at Ford Field.
Calvin Johnson totaled 102 yards and a score on four receptions for the Lions (10-5), who will reach the postseason for the first time since 1999.
Kevin Smith posted 49 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries with a TD reception, as Detroit posted a double-digit win total for the first time since going 10-6 in 1995.
"We're excited we made the playoffs," Stafford said. "It's a team goal, a team accomplishment."
Philip Rivers completed 28-of-53 passes for 299 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions for the Chargers (7-8), who saw their three-game win streak come to an end and were officially eliminated from playoff contention.
Malcom Floyd totaled 95 yards on six catches with a touchdown grab, and Ryan Mathews gained just 58 yards on 11 carries for San Diego, which was coming off a 34-14 win over Baltimore.
"The disappointment is how we played," Chargers coach Norv Turner said. "I expected to feed off of what we did last week and play at a high level."
Rivers found Floyd for a 11-yard score on San Diego's second touch of the second half, then Nick Novak successfully executed an onside kick which was recovered by Eric Weddle at the 48. Ten plays were not enough to gain the end zone, though, and when Novak hit from 22 yards out, the Bolts were within 24-10.
But Detroit came right back on Smith's six-yard TD run which finished off the subsequent 80-yard dash. The Lions then stopped the Chargers on a fourth down at the two early in the fourth.
The outcome was officially sealed on a 2nd-and-11 from the one-yard line, as Rivers was picked off by Cliff Avril, who took a few steps into the end zone with 2:28 to play.
Stafford -- who completed 29-of-36 passes on Saturday -- connected with Brandon Pettigrew for a seven-yard score on Detroit's first drive of the contest.
Jason Hanson was good from 50 yards away on the Lions' next touch, a 65-yard drive executed in 13 plays.
The Lions offensive juggernaut continued on their first series of the second quarter, when Smith hauled in a three-yard pass from Stafford. The score was facilitated one play earlier on Nate Burleson's 30-yard catch on 3rd-and-19 from the San Diego 33.
After yet another Chargers punt, Stafford and Johnson combined on a 14-yard score to cap a 74-yard drive to make it 24-0 with 31 seconds left in the half.
Detroit's victory snapped a six-game losing string against San Diego, dating back to 1981...The Lions improved to 4-2 all-time at home against the Bolts...Antonio Gates totaled four catches for 40 yards, and moved into the all-time franchise lead for receptions in Chargers' history (588), surpassing Charlie Joiner...Detroit hasn't won a playoff game since 1991, when it finished atop the NFC Central with a 12-4 mark, then beat Dallas in a divisional playoff before falling to Super Bowl champion Washington in the NFC title contest...Johnson's TD reception was his 15th of the season, tying the franchise record first set in 1952 by Cloyce Box.
12/24 21:31:03 ET
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