Lions set themselves up for playoff push

The Lions have set themselves up for a serious playoff push in the second half of the season.

The Lions have set themselves up for a serious playoff push in the second half of the season.

With a resounding 45-10 win at Denver on Sunday, Detroit goes into its bye week with a 6-2 record.

"T really what we wanted," wide receiver Calvin Johnson said of the team's record. "We are creating a great opportunity for ourselves. We've got to take advantage of it."

Four of the six wins came on the road. The Lions managed to offset disappointing home losses to the 49ers and Falcons with gritty road wins at Tampa Bay, Minnesota, Dallas and Denver.

"It's a good start to the season," coach Jim Schwartz said, "but we have a long way to go. After a 5-0 start, we hit a couple of rough spots, but to come on the road and get back on track and finish the second quarter of the season 2-2, I think there are a lot of positives there."

The Lions got back to doing what they were doing the first five weeks of the season -- dictating the pace and style of play.

Defensively, they harassed and disrupted Denver quarterback Tim Tebow the entire game. They sacked him seven times and forced seven three-and-outs.

Defensive end Cliff Avril had a sack, a forced fumble and a 24-yard fumble return for a score on the same play. Cornerback Chris Houston had a 100-yard interception return for a score. Avril and defensive end Lawrence Jackson had two sacks each. Meanwhile, Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford showed no ill effects from a right ankle sprain that limited him all week. Playing just three quarters, he completed 21 of 30 passes for 267 yards and three touchdowns. His passer rating was 130.8.

"The biggest thing we wanted to do is come out and play like us," he said. "The attitude, the tempo -- we hadn't really had that the last couple of weeks. We needed to play our football. Just go out and execute."

Stafford threw a 41-yard touchdown to rookie wide receiver Titus Young, a 1-yarder to tight end Tony Scheffler and a 56-yarder to Johnson.

"We've had a good first half," Schwartz said, "but you don't win any trophies for the first half of the season record."

The Lions don't have to look to far back to understand that. They were 6-2 after a similar 44-7 romp over the Broncos in 2007 and proceeded to loss 23 of the next 24 games.

"That's not happening this time," Johnson said. "No way."

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