Shaun Rogers paving the way for Lions

The Lions mobbed Shaun Rogers in the end zone. Rogers needed a rest, but he celebrated in his usual way -- pretending to rip open his shirt to reveal an "S" on his chest.

The ball found its way into those big paws, and Shaun Rogers, all 6-4, 340-plus pounds of him, rumbled down the field Sunday. He tucked the ball high and tight with his right arm, as if he were a running back, not a defensive tackle, and his teammates scrambled.

"Guys were jumping up on the sidelines," offensive lineman Jeff Backus said. "They just wanted to see it. They wanted to witness it."

"I was telling the big man to run, run, run, run," wide receiver Roy Williams said. "I was running down the sideline with him."

When Denver running back Selvin Young tried to stop him, Rogers just stiff-armed the 5-11, 207-pounder. The 66-yard interception return for a touchdown was the highlight of the Lions' 44-7 victory over the Broncos.

The Lions mobbed Rogers in the end zone. Rogers needed a rest, but he celebrated in his usual way -- pretending to rip open his shirt to reveal an "S" on his chest. Defensive tackle Shaun Cody cupped his hands as if they were a bowl, and Rogers pretended to gobble up the contents, as if he were gobbling up everything in his path. He took oxygen on the bench.

"I jumped on him in the end zone," Williams said. "It was a good party down there. I think he needed an inhaler when he was done. I was trying to get him to do his Superman move that he always does. It took him about 10 minutes for him to do that. He's the most dominant defensive player in the league."

Rogers was dominant against Denver, with 2 1/2 sacks, four quarterback hurries, three tackles and a pass defensed to go along with the interception. After one sack, he did a somersault.

That enthusiasm might be the best sign of all for the Lions. Rogers, who did not speak to reporters after the game, has a reputation for playing hard only when he wants to. Last year was a disappointment, six games, then a four-game suspension for taking a banned dietary supplement, then knee and shoulder surgeries.

Coach Rod Marinelli put faith in Rogers in the offseason and preseason, keeping him out of practice to make sure he was completely healthy and in the best condition possible. Rogers has rewarded him by not missing a practice since the season started and by playing well.

"He's having a great year, a tremendous year," Marinelli said. "It's just his presence. I called him the server because he keeps serving sacks for everybody because he's so disruptive. Now he's starting to be the stealer. He's starting to take them."

Notes and Quotes

  • Sometime in the second half Sunday, during a stoppage in play, OL Jeff Backus went up to Denver CB Dre' Bly on the field. He just wanted to say hello. They had been teammates for four tough years in Detroit and lived four doors apart from each other for a year and a half, before the Lions traded Bly to the Broncos in the offseason. "You guys are good," Bly said. What did Backus say? "We're getting there."
  • K Jason Hanson scored 14 points -- three field goals, five extra points -- to move past former Lion Eddie Murray into 11th place on the NFL's all-time scoring list. Murray had 1,594 points. Hanson has 1,605. "Yeah, it's the old-man milestone," said Hanson, a 37-year-old, 16-year veteran. "It's funny to think about how many points that is, but the fun part is, you're right in the thick of it in the big games and you're winning."

    Individual Player Notes

  • DE Dewayne White aggravated a triceps injury Sunday while scoring a touchdown on a fumble return. He left the game, but only as a precaution because the score was lopsided. He said he could have continued playing if needed.
  • RT Jonathan Scott was to have tests on his injured thumb, coach Rod Marinelli said. His status was uncertain.
  • WR Roy Williams has 43 catches, only one fewer than he had through eight games last season. But he has 568 yards, far fewer than the 719 he had at this point last season. He ended up leading the NFC in receiving yards last year.
  • WR Mike Furrey's numbers have dropped off from this point last year. His receptions have gone from 41 to 29, his yards from 503 to 360.
  • TE Sean McHugh made another big play Sunday, catching a 46-yard pass. He is averaging 17.2 yards per catch, second on the team to WR Calvin Johnson, who is averaging 17.8.

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