JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP)– The Detroit Lions didn’t need to rally in this one.
Mikel Leshoure ran for three touchdowns, Calvin Johnson got involved early and the Lions turned in their most complete victory of the season, 31-14 over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday.
Detroit dominated from start to finish, building a three-score lead before halftime and coasting after the break. It was a much different feeling for the Lions (4-4), who trailed in the second half in each of their other wins.
Leshoure finished with 70 yards rushing and scored on runs of 7, 1 and 8 yards, becoming the first in franchise history to run for three touchdowns in the first half. Not even Hall of Famer Barry Sanders accomplished that feat.
Johnson, who got off to slow starts in Detroit’s last three games, had five receptions for 99 yards before the Jaguars (1-7) even recorded a first down. He finished with seven catches for 129 yards despite playing through a knee injury.
Matthew Stafford completed 22 of 33 passes for 285 yards, building on last week’s impressive outing against Seattle.
The Jaguars, meanwhile, failed to get much going a week after playing Green Bay tough in a 24-15 loss.
Blaine Gabbert completed 27 of 38 passes for 200 yards, with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Rashad Jennings, starting his second game in place of Maurice Jones-Drew, ran for 45 yards.
Jacksonville opened with three straight three-and-outs and had one first down when Leshoure found the end zone for the third time.
It was the latest debacle for the Jaguars, who have been blown out in four home games. They were far from competitive against Houston (27-7), Cincinnati (27-10) and Chicago (41-3), and now have been outscored 126-34 at EverBank Field this season.
Jacksonville trailed 24-0 before getting on the scoreboard. Gabbert found Micheal Spurlock for a 5-yard TD with 8:36 remaining. The Jaguars made the 2-point conversation, but it did little to change the momentum.
The Lions answered with an 80-yard touchdown drive, capped by Joique Bell’s 10-yard scoring run. Bell ran 13 times for 73 yards.
Ryan Broyles caught six passes for 52 yards.
Newly acquired receiver Mike Thomas, traded from Jacksonville to Detroit on Tuesday, played sparingly against his former team.
The Lions played without both safeties, Amari Spievey and Louis Delmas, but the Jaguars failed to take advantage of their backups. Gabbert misfired on just about every deep pass.
Gabbert also was plagued by more drops. A week after Jacksonville had nine drops, Marcedes Lewis, Jennings, rookie Justin Blackmon and Laurent Robinson botched catches.
Jennings had one go off his hands, resulting in an interception. Gabbert and Blackmon miscommunicated on a deep pass, and Blackmon did little to break up another pick.
Gabbert connected on a 6-yard score to Blackmon with 50 seconds remaining — with just a few thousand fans remaining in the stands.
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