DETROIT (AP) — Eric Ebron ran for a go-ahead, 1-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter and the Detroit Lions went on to beat the Jacksonville Jaguars 26-19 Sunday.
Ebron’s first carry of his career, a handoff as he went from left to right after lining up as an off-the-line tight end, was set up by his career-long, 61-yard catch.
The Lions (6-4) have won five of six despite trailing in the fourth quarter of every game.
"When you start putting heat on us, man, we start playing better," Ebron said.
For a change, Matthew Stafford didn’t have to lead a game-winning drive in the final minutes.
Jacksonville (2-8) has lost five straight and had a chance to stop the skid.
The Jaguars could have forced Detroit to punt, or to go for it on a fourth-and-3 from their 46. Nose tackle Sen’Derrick Marks, though, was penalized for encroachment on a play in which Stafford didn’t intend to have the ball snapped.
"They’ve done it before on tape," Stafford said.
Jacksonville coach Gus Bradley refused to blame Marks for the costly flag, and the defender didn’t want to take responsibility.
"That wasn’t the only mistake," Marks said.
Stafford converted a third-and-5 from the Jacksonville 36 with a 7-yard pass to Theo Riddick with 2:18 left that helped set up Matt Prater’s 43-yard field goal with 22 seconds left. Tavon Wilson sealed the victory with an interception with 2 seconds to go.
RESTED AND RUSTY:
Coming off a bye, the Lions had more punts (five) than rushing yards (two) and just 18 yards passing late in the first half, but led 6-3 because Andre Roberts returned a punt 55 yards early in the second quarter after he fumbled on a punt return early in the game.
"It’s a frustrating thing when you’ve got guys covering and you don’t make plays in the open field," Bradley said.
The Lions, who had just 14 yards rushing, were also fortunate their defense scored, putting them ahead 16-9 early in the third when Rafael Bush returned an interception 39 yards for a TD.
"It wasn’t perfect, obviously," Detroit coach Jim Caldwell said. "A lot of flaws, but winning is never pretty at least for us."
The Jaguars avoided having a dubious NFL record all by themselves, finally getting a takeaway. In fact, they recovered two fumbles against a team that had lost only one fumble all season. They scored just three points those turnovers.
Jaguars: RB T.J. Yeldon (ankle) and CB Aaron Colvin (concussion, chest) were among the Jacksonville players injured during the game.
Lions: S Don Carey had a hamstring injury during the game, taking one of Detroit’s key special teams players off the field.
Jaguars: Jacksonville stays on the road to play the Buffalo Bills (5-5).
Lions: Detroit hosts Minnesota (6-4) in a possibly pivotal game in the NFC North race in a matchup of first-place teams. If the Lions win, they will sweep the season series to win a tiebreaker between the two teams if necessary.
"They’re coming in here hungry and angry," Caldwell said.