The Detroit Lions ended their horrendous Thanksgiving record by beating Green Bay 40-10 on Thursday, recovering from a shaky start and moving a game and a half clear of their NFC North rivals.
The day’s other games saw Dallas beat Oakland to temporarily move a game clear atop the NFC East, while Baltimore edged Pittsburgh in a key AFC North clash.
Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford made up for some mistakes with three touchdown passes as the Lions scored 37 straight points to overwhelm the Packers.
The Lions had lost five in a row against Green Bay and had suffered nine straight losses in their annual Thanksgiving Day game. Matt Flynn became the fourth starting quarterback for Green Bay this year and was sacked seven times, once for a safety.
Flynn was 10 of 20 for 139 yards with an interception and two fumbles; a marked contrast to the last game of the 2011 regular season against Detroit, when he threw for 480 yards and six touchdowns.
Stafford was 22 of 35 for 330 yards with two interceptions and a fumble that was returned by Morgan Burnett to put the Packers up 10-3 early in the second quarter.
After that, Detroit did whatever it wanted on both sides of the ball.
Cowboys shoot down Raiders
Meanwhile, down in Texas, a crowd of more than 87,000 watched Dallas running back DeMarco Murray run for three touchdowns, while his back-up Lance Dunbar had a career-high 82 yards rushing as the Cowboys beat Oakland 31-24.
|The Ravens’ Torrey Smith flies through
an Ike Taylor tackle [Reuters]
The Cowboys overcame Oakland’s fumble return for a score on the opening kickoff, and notched a win that moved them to the top the NFC East ahead of Philadelphia – which could move back level with Dallas with a win over Arizona on Sunday.
Murray had 63 yards rushing but his highlight was the finishing work, including a seven-yard score to put Dallas ahead for good early in the fourth quarter.
At M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore’s Justin Tucker kicked five field goals as the Ravens held on for a 22-20 win over Pittsburgh.
Baltimore stopped a 2-point conversion with 1:03 left, just hanging on against the fast-finishing Steelers and moving a game ahead of their AFC North rival in the race for the conference’s final wild-card slot.
Pittsburgh scored on a one-yard touchdown pass from Ben Roethlisberger to Jerricho Cotchery to get within two points, but Roethlisberger’s conversion pass slipped through the hands of Emmanuel Sanders, who was screened by Chykie Brown.