The Detroit Lions clustered on the bench under shade canopies Sunday, keeping their cool in the South Florida heat. And when they stepped onto the field and into the subtropical sunshine, they ran all over the Miami Dolphins.
Unfazed by the weather, Kerryon Johnson rushed for 158 yards and the Lions netted 248 on the ground, their highest total in 21 years, to win 32-21.
Matt Stafford was 18 for 22 for 217 yards and two touchdowns. Detroit had 457 total yards and mounted scoring drives covering 64, 85, 75, 65, 75, 63 and 44 yards.
“We’re playing a team, not the weather,” Stafford said. “Our guys up front dominated, and our backs were awesome. It was good to go out there and play at a high level against a good team.”
The Lions (3-3) punted once and had no turnovers to win on the road for the first time. They’ve climbed back to .500 after being outscored 78-44 in their first two games.
Injury-ravaged Miami (4-3) lost at home for the first time this season — and lost another key player when dynamic receiver Albert Wilson was sidelined in the first half. Wilson’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, said his client suffered a hip injury that appeared significant.
“I would say the best-case scenario is that he would miss a few weeks,” Rosenhaus said during his weekly appearance on South Florida’s WSVN-TV. “Worst-case scenario is he could possibly miss the rest of the season.”
Receiver Kenny Stills also limped to the locker room with a minute left.
The Lions, meanwhile, held up well in the 88-degree sunshine, even though it was 40 degrees warmer than in Detroit. That was in contrast to the Chicago Bears, who wilted at Miami in an overtime loss a week earlier.
Johnson, an Alabama native, said the heat didn’t bother him at all.
“This is the same stuff I’ve been doing since I was a little boy,” he said. “I’ve been up in Detroit freezing my tail off. To finally get to play in the sun and heat and humidity, I was loving it.”
Johnson carried 19 times and needed barely a quarter to reach 100 yards. The rookie ran for 24 on Detroit’s first play and found a gaping hole on a draw for a 71-yard gain, the Lions’ longest running play since 2011, to set up a field goal.
“Basically they could do whatever they wanted on that side of the ball,” Miami coach Adam Gase said.
Detroit averaged 7.1 yards per rush. Dolphins defensive end Cameron Wake, for one, was surprised how many yards rushing his team allowed.
“A lot has to go wrong for that to happen,” he said.
Detroit’s Michael Roberts, who had missed the past three games with a knee injury, caught touchdown passes of 15 and 4 yards.
“We’re a very fine-tuned offense,” Roberts said, “and it was nice to be able to show how fine-tuned we are.”
Brock Osweiler threw for 239 yards for the Dolphins, and after falling behind 20-7, they tried to rally with Kenyan Drake’s 54-yard touchdown run and Danny Amendola’s 24-yard scoring reception.
But Prater’s 50-yard field goal — his fourth — with 1:55 left sealed the victory.
A security guard hurt her shoulder when Stills blindsided her on a scoring play . Stills’ momentum carried him into the guard after he caught a 5-yard pass in the corner of the end zone, and the woman tumbled to the ground.
A dazed Stills checked on her and gave her the ball as a souvenir. The Dolphins said the guard was taken to the hospital as a precaution with a sore shoulder.
Gase said he didn’t consider the positioning of the guard near the end zone something that needed to be addressed.
“Every stadium is like that where that can happen,” the coach said.
Miami: Wilson left the game in the second quarter after his foot appeared to buckle when he was tackled on a 25-yard reception. He limped to the locker room.
“It definitely hurts us,” Osweiler said. “Albert is a tremendous player. He brings a spark. We definitely missed him.”
Stills and Wilson kneeled during the anthem, as they have done before previous games, and Miami defensive end Robert Quinn again raised his right fist.
Dolphins: Miami plays Thursday night at the Houston Texans, who lead the series 7-1.
Lions: Detroit plays at home Sunday against Seattle. It’s their first meeting since the Seahawks beat the Lions in an NFC wild-card game two seasons ago.
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