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Leshoure, Johnson lead Lions past Jaguars

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Running back Mikel Leshoure scored three times in the second quarter and sore-kneed wide receiver Calvin Johnson ended a string of slow starts.

Together, they led the Detroit Lions to a 31-14 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday in front of 63,050 at EverBank Field.

The Lions (4-4) pulled away from a scoreless first quarter as Johnson caught six passes for 111 yards before halftime to set the table for Leshoure's scores from 7, 1 and 8 yards out that gave Detroit a 21-0 halftime lead.

Johnson, who has been hampered by a knee injury that he said would probably linger for the rest of the season, caught only one first-half pass in the Lions' last three games. He finished the game with seven receptions for 129 yards.

"He's a tough guy and he found a way to contribute," said Detroit coach Jim Schwartz. "We had a feeling that he'd be able to do some things. Just how much he'd be able to do and how long was really the question."

The Lions continued their climb from a 1-3 start with their third victory in four games and at .500 entering the second half of the season, have playoff hopes.

"When we were 1-3, no one believe in us but ourselves," said Leshoure, whose three-TD day capped a big week -- his first son, Mikel Jr., was born on Tuesday. "We felt we could do it and we're proving it right now."

The Lions play on the road for the fourth time in five games next week at Minnesota.

Leshoure's first TD capped a 13-play, 91-yard drive, with Johnson accounting for 54 yards on three receptions from Matt Stafford (22 of 33 for 285 yards). A Stafford-to-Johnson completion of 38 yards went to the Jaguars' 1 to set up Leshoure's second score and his third TD ended an 81-yard drive with 35 seconds left in the half.

The Lions added a field goal by Jason Hanson and a 10-yard touchdown by Joique Bell in the fourth quarter.

Bell gained 73 yards on 13 carries and caught four passes for 36 yards. Leshoure had 16 carries for 70 yards.

Jacksonville (1-7), which played its first home game in 29 days, is 0-4 at EverBank Field this season and has been outscored 126-34. The Jaguars have a quick turnaround before they face the visiting Indianapolis Colts on Thursday. The Jags beat the Colts on the road Sept. 23 for their only victory of the season.

Coach Mike Mularkey didn't have an easy answer for the team's futility at home.

"I wish I did," he said. "I would have said something five weeks ago. I haven't been a part of (anything like) this. I don't know if anybody has. I'd call them."

The usual offensive problems pestered the Jaguars, who played without 2011 NFL rushing leader Maurice Jones-Drew for the second week in a row. They have shown an inability to run the ball and inconsistency in the passing game.

Quarterback Blaine Gabbert was 27 of 38 for 220 yards, a week after a career-high 303 yards in a loss to Green Bay. He was sacked once, threw two interceptions and 72 of his passing yards came on the Jaguars' final possession against a prevent defense.

Gabbert managed to keep the Jaguars from getting shut out when he threw touchdown passes of 5 yards to Michael Spurlock and 6 yards to first-round draft pick Justin Blackmon in the fourth quarter -- the latter was the first TD of Blackmon's NFL career.

"We've got to turn this around," Gabbert said. "We're a couple of plays away from it being a totally different story so we've just got to find a way to make these plays when they present themselves."

Gabbert and the Jaguars offense didn't get that many chances with the ball. Detroit dominated time of possession by 10 minutes.

Notes: Johnson played at EverBank Field for the second time in his life on Sunday. The first, when he was playing for Georgia Tech, was memorable. Johnson caught nine passes for 186 yards, with touchdown receptions of 31 and 48 yards in the 2007 Gator Bowl against West Virginia. The Mountaineers came from a 31-17 halftime deficit to win 38-35 and Johnson was the losing team MVP. ... With a 28-yard completion to tight end Tony Scheffler in the first quarter, Stafford became the seventh player in Lions history to pass for more than 10,000 career yards -- but the youngest. Stafford reached 10,000 yards in his 37th game, at age 24 years, nine months. The fastest a previous Detroit quarterback reached 10,000 yards was Scott Mitchell in his 45th game. Stafford also surpassed the barrier in the second-fewest games in NFL history. Kurt Warner needed 36 games to reach 10,000. ... When the Lions traded for wide receiver Mike Thomas earlier in the week, they added their fourth ex-Jaguars to the team. The others were linebacker Justin Durant, wide receiver and special-teams gunner Kassim Osgood and wide receiver Brian Robiskie. Both Thomas and Robiskie started the preseason with the Jaguars. ... Detroit defensive end Cliff Avrill went to Clay High School, about 45 minutes from downtown Jacksonville. ... Hanson missed only his second field-goal attempt of the season for the Lions in the first quarter, bouncing a 47-yarder off the right upright. He had made 12 in a row to that point, and 16 of 17 in Detroit's first seven games. Hanson made up for the miss by connecting on a 42-yarder early in the fourth quarter.
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