DETROIT, Michigan -- The Detroit Lions took care of the Philadelphia Eagles on Thanksgiving Day at Ford Field in Detroit with a huge performance from Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson in the 45-7 victory.
Caleb Sturgis, the Eagles kicker, was given the opportunity to put the first points on the board, but he missed a 50-yard field goal and the Lions took over on their 40-yard line with 9:35 to play in the first quarter.
Instead of the Eagles (4-7) scoring first, it was the Lions with just over two minutes to play in the first quarter. Stafford, the Lions quarterback, found Theo Riddick, who made a great move to get open, in the middle of the end zone for an eight-yard score. The extra point from Matt Prater gave Detroit a 7-0 lead.
Out of the backfield, Riddick caught five passes for 62 yards. He also carried the ball twice for six yards.
On the ensuing drive for Philadelphia, quarterback Mark Sanchez connected with Trey Burton for a 43-yard gain to the Detroit five-yard line. It was Stephen Tulloch who lost Burton and allowed the catch. The first quarter came to a close with a carry from Demarco Murray to the one-yard line of the Lions.
Murray led the team with 14 carries for 30 yards, which was not the type of performance he wanted to produce. The run game usually opens things up for the Eagles, but Murray could never get into a rhythm. Kenjon Barner chipped in with 30 rushing yards on seven carries.
Philadelphia got a touchdown pass from Sanchez to Brent Celek to tie the game, 7-7. It was a two-yard score with 14:26 to play in the second quarter on Thanksgiving Day against the Detroit.
With 7:53 left in the first half, Stafford completed a pass to Golden Tate on the far right side of the field for a two-yard score. Tate was wide open and had absolutely no problem trotting in the end zone to increase the Lions lead to 14-7.
The Lions (4-7) lead was extended to 17-7 on a 48-yard field goal from Prater.
For the seventh straight season Johnson reeled in a Thanksgiving touchdown. This time it was a 25-yard score on a beautiful over the shoulder catch. Stafford delivered a nifty pass to help extending the lead to 24-7 to end the first half.
Johnson ended the first half with a touchdown, and started the second half with the same result. Stafford cashed in on a touchdown to Johnson, who had not problem jumping higher than a defender to complete the score and cap off an eight minute drive. Detroit's lead jumped to 31-7 as the receiver brought down his second touchdown of the game.
Trying to bring his team back, Sanchez was sacked for a loss of eight yards by Ezekiel Ansah. On the play, Sanchez fumbled and the ball, which was forced by Ansah. After the ball bounced around, it was picked up by Ansah at the Eagles 14-yard line.
Detroit wasted no time adding to the lead as it increased to 38-7. Yet again, Stafford found Johnson in the end zone. The three-yard touchdown catch that came with 5:05 to play in the third quarter tied Johnson's career-high with three touchdowns in a single game.
The 30-year-old in his ninth NFL season had eight receptions for 93 yards and three scores in the game. The tight ends, Eric Ebron and Brandon Pettigrew, added three receptions for 49 yards.
Stafford completed a pass to Joique Bell out of the backfield for a 39-yard gain to the Philadelphia one-yard line to set up a one-yard rushing touchdown from Bell, who gave the Lions a 45-7 lead on a carry up the gut of the Eagles defense.
Bell scored the only rushing touchdown, but Ameer Abdullah led the team with 16 carries for 63 yards, including a huge 23 yard rush to help set up a Detroit touchdown. Abdullah chipped in with a catch for 12 yards.
While it did not affect the outcome, the Eagles scored with 3:02 left to play as Sanchez threw to Jordan Matthews for a 24-yard score. Matthews totaled three receptions for a team-high 60 yards in the loss.
Sanchez finished 19-for-27 with 199 yards through the air and two touchdowns. Meanwhile, Stafford threw for 337 yards and five touchdowns on 22-of-38 passing.
Detroit kept Philadelphia scoreless the rest of the way to take home the victory on Thanksgiving Day, 45-14. Stafford won the 2015 Galloping Gobbler Award for the best performance in the Thanksgiving game.
On Sunday, the Eagles will head on the road to battle the New England Patriots (10-0), while the Lions will play the Green Bay Packers (7-3) on Thursday night.