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Lions’ Jared Goff Throws 5 Touchdown Passes to Lead NFC North Team to Victory over Broncos 42-17

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DETROIT (AP) — Jared Goff and the Detroit Lions bounced back and took a step toward ending a six-season playoff drought.

Goff matched a career high with five touchdown passes, three to rookie tight end Sam LaPorta, and Detroit routed the Denver Broncos 42-17 on Saturday night.

“Our superpower is how we respond as a team,” Goff said.

The NFC North-leading Lions (10-4) could clinch a spot in the postseason for the first time since the 2016 season if other results go their way the rest of Week 15. The simplest scenario would be a loss or tie by Seattle to Philadelphia on Monday night.

If Detroit wins a division title for the first time since 1993, it would host a playoff game. The Lions have only one playoff victory since the franchise won the NFL title in 1957.

“It would be fun, but we’ve got work to do,” Goff said.

The Broncos’ hopes of making the playoffs for the first time since the 2015 season took a hit. Denver (7-7) had won six of its previous seven games to pull within a game of AFC West-leading Kansas City.

“We’ve got to keep believing,” quarterback Russell Wilson said. “We’ve done it before.”

Goff and the the Lions had lost two of three, but they put that behind them with a dominant second quarter.

“We’ve been through a lot of adversity as a group and a three-game lull is not the worst thing we’ve been through,” Goff said.

The veteran quarterback, who turned the ball over eight times in the previous four games, threw touchdown passes in the second quarter to LaPorta, rookie running back Jahmyr Gibbs and Amon-Ra St. Brown to give Detroit a 21-0 halftime lead.

Denver, meanwhile, was 1 of 6 on third down and had just 75 yards in the first half.

“It was the ultimate team win. The defense started it out for us,” coach Dan Campbell said.

The Broncos had a touchdown on fourth down negated late in the third when offensive lineman Quinn Meinerz was flagged for being offside.

Broncos coach Sean Payton proceeded to scream at Wilson on the sideline and Denver settled for a field goal to cut its deficit to 28-10.

“I was upset about the call,” Payton said. “That’s all. Simple. That’s it.”

So, why was he yelling at Wilson?

“Listen, what I talk to Russell about is none of your business,” he said curtly to a reporter.

Wilson, who lost a fumble on his first possession, finished 18 of 32 for 223 yards with a touchdown pass and a rushing TD. He was relieved by backup Jarrett Stidham on a meaningless final series.

Goff was 24 of 34 for 278 yards, throwing five touchdown passes for the first time since 2018 when he played for the Rams, and didn’t have a turnover. He joined Houston’s C.J. Stroud as the only QBs to throw for five TDs in a game this season. The Broncos had given up just four touchdown passes over the previous six games.

LaPorta, a second-round pick from Iowa, became the first rookie tight end to have at least 70 receptions, 700 yards and nine touchdowns.

St. Brown had seven catches for 112 yards and a score after totaling five receptions in the previous two games.

The Lions leaned on a strong running game with Gibbs and David Montgomery combining for 185 yards and 27 carries. Gibbs’ 12-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter put them ahead 35-10.

PRIME-TIME PLAYERS

Detroit is 4-0 at night this season with wins over Kanas City, Green Bay, Las Vegas and Denver.

ADDITIONAL SCENARIOS

Detroit could secure a playoff spot on Sunday if the Los Angeles Rams lose or tie along with a Tampa Bay loss or an Atlanta loss or tie.

INJURIES

Broncos: OLB Nik Bonitto was inactive after leaving last week’s game with a knee injury.

Lions: CB Jerry Jacobs (hamstring) and TE Brock Wright (groin) were hurt during the game.

UP NEXT

Broncos: Host New England on Sunday, Dec. 24.

Lions: At Minnesota on Dec. 24.

___

AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl

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