CLEVELAND -- The Detroit Lions have proved they can win without a dominating game from superstar receiver Calvin Johnson.
Johnson returned from a knee injury to catch three passes for 25 yards on Sunday, but it was rookie tight end Joseph Fauria leading the scoring with three touchdown catches from Matthew Stafford in a 31-17 victory over the Cleveland Browns.
"I was targeted for a few touchdowns, but the rest of the game was all my team," Fauria said. "Everybody played their butts off for a big win for us."
Reggie Bush had one touchdown reception for the Lions (4-2), who share the NFC North lead with the Chicago Bears.
The Browns (3-3) saw their three-game winning streak end. They slipped behind the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC North.
The Lions scored 24 straight points in the second half, holding the Browns to 20 yards of net offense after halftime until the final two minutes.
"The second half we started to hit on all cylinders -- offense, defense and special teams," Lions coach Jim Schwartz said.
Stafford completed 25 of 43 passes for 248 yards. He was intercepted once.
Cleveland quarterback Brandon Weeden finished 26-for-43 for 292 yards with two touchdown passes and two interceptions. Browns receiver Josh Gordon had seven catches for 126 yards.
Detroit chopped into a 10-point halftime deficit on its first possession of the third quarter on a drive that featured Bush (17 carries for 78 yards, five receptions for 57 yards). The eight-year veteran broke off a 39-yard run and then finished the drive by scoring on an 18-yard screen pass from Stafford.
The Lions drove toward a go-ahead touchdown near the end of the third quarter, but Stafford's pass intended for Kevin Ogletree was tipped by cornerback Buster Skrine and intercepted in the end zone by Tashaun Gipson. The safety returned the ball to the Cleveland 30.
The Browns did nothing with the takeaway and Detroit moved in front the next time it had the ball. Stafford's second touchdown pass to Fauria, a 23-yarder with 10:35 to go in the game, gave the Lions a 21-17 lead.
"We weren't able to close the game out in the second half," Browns coach Rob Chudzinski said. "That's something we need to learn to do."
Detroit added 10 more points in the final minutes, capped by a 10-yard Fauria scoring catch with 2:05 to play.
What the Lions said
"We came out at halftime and responded to the coach's challenge, made corrections and performed better in the second half." -- Linebacker DeAndre Levy.
What the Browns said
"There are going to be bumps in the road. It's just how we react to them." -- Linebacker Paul Kruger.
What we learned about the Lions
1. DeAndre Levy has a nose for the football. The Lions linebacker intercepted two passes thrown by Brandon Weeden. His pick with 4:37 left on an underhand flip helped protect a 24-17 lead. The Lions turned the takeaway into a touchdown. Levy led the Lions with seven tackles.
2. The Lions possess an excellent punt coverage unit. On Oct. 3 against the Buffalo Bills, the Browns' Travis Benjamin returned one punt 57 yards and another 79 yards for a touchdown. The Lions went into the game allowing just 4.8 yards per punt return, and they held Benjamin to minus-10 yards on three returns.
What we learned about the Browns
1. The Browns have to play better in the second half. They led at halftime in each of their first six games but lost leads to the Miami Dolphins and Baltimore Ravens in the first two games. They were outscored 24-0 in the second half Sunday largely because they did not make a first down in the third quarter.
2. There were not many bright spots for Cleveland on Sunday, but Chris Ogbonnaya was one of them. The versatile starting fullback carried five times for 24 yards (4.8-yard average) and caught seven passes for 61 yards and a touchdown. His blocking helped Willis McGahee spring a 12-yard run.