Lions Roar Past Chargers by Arnold Driver Blogger, Detroit News The game started off slow for the Detroit Lions, with nothing going right in the first eight minutes of the ball game and getting behind 14-0 early. However, the Lions got behind their top 10 defense and solidified, while the offense sputtered to life and charged ahead, earning a 34-14 victory in San Diego versus the Chargers this Sunday. Early on, nothing that Coach Winuvas and defensive coordinator Robert Porcher cooked up was working against the high powered Chargers offense. Second year running back Ryan Matthews was chewing up the interior, and tight end Antonio Gates was lighting up the passing attack on the interior. With a 14 yard pass from Chargers quarterback Phillip Rivers to Antonio Gates, as well as a 65 yard completion on a blown coverage assignment to Early Doucet, the Chargers were sitting pretty after the first quarter with a comfortable 14-0 lead. Enter Jahvid Best. Or, in this game, Jahvid BEAST. With a consistent running attack to go with a solid short passing game, Lions quarterback David Garrard guided the team to an early second quarter field goal to cut the lead to 14-3. After the Chargers' offense fizzled a bit due to some line adjustments, the Lions again got the ball and went into their two minute offense, with Garrard hitting Braylon Edwards from 12 yards out to get the game at 14-10 going into the half. After the first drive of the second half led to an Aaron Pettrey field goal to get the Lions within 1, the Chargers began forcing the issue and turning the ball over. Phillip Rivers threw into coverage and hit rookie Rico Ash as he darted into position to make a play and get the Lions the ball back, and David Garrard answered by driving the team down the field and taking it in himself from 5 yards out to give the Lions their first lead late in the third quarter. The fourth quarter was all Lions, as Braylon Edwards made the play of the game by catching a quick slant and blowing through not one, not two, but THREE Chargers defenders to get the touchdown from 21 yards out. "HELL of a play by that guy," Coach Winuvas beamed during the post-game press conference. Footage of the play can be seen here: http://www.easports.com/media/play/video/54821715 . The dagger came with Rivers' third interception, which fell into the hands of cornerback Dre Bly, who promptly took it to the house to end the scoring of the game. Another interception late by reserve safety Chris Horton ended all possibility for a Chargers rally. "Just bad luck on that pick 6 for Coach Mitchell and the Chargers," Coach Winuvas said. "Rivers got hit and just flubbed it out. We just got lucky." For the visiting Lions, David Garrard went 13 of 22 for 184 yards and 2 touchdowns, but more importantly, no interceptions. Newly minted starter Jahvid Best carried the ball 15 times for 105 yards, and Fred Jackson got 5 carries for 36 yards late in the game. The receiving area was dominated by Braylon Edwards, who got only 3 catches in the game but 2 were for touchdowns while getting 40 yards. On the defense, linebacker DeAndre Levy was a force, getting 7 tackles and running all over the field. For the Chargers, Phillip Rivers finished 10 of 23 for 165 yards and 2 touchdowns to go with 4 interceptions on the day. After the first half, Detroit's front four harassed the Chargers' signalcaller and caused chaos on every play while dropping 6-7 into coverage. Ryan Matthews was a bright spot, getting 21 carries for 83 yards and getting back on track after 3 subpar games. Antonio Gates was the workhorse on the receiving side, getting 5 catches for 67 yards and a touchdown. Defensively, rookie safety Dorian Hill got 5 tackles to lead the defense, while defensive end Luis Castillo got 4 tackles and a sack. "It took us some time to figure their protection schemes out. (Defensive coordinator) Robert (Porcher) and I had to look at the pictures and get our front four in a position to take on, and out, their front five, and after the second quarter, it worked a good bit," Coach Winuvas said of his adjustments. "Once we got that run game toned down a bit and didn't have to rush more than 4 or 5 at a time per play, we took back the game and got it on our terms." After a first quarter that saw 126 of the Chargers' 268 total yards of offense, it was quite an adjustment. The Lions proved Coach Winuvas right yet again as well in another aspect: Coach Winuvas is almost unbeatable if his teams score 20 points first. With his team getting a lot of turnovers, if the offense ever converts those into touchdowns instead of field goals, this team could become.....a contender. Yes, folks. Detroit could become a contender. I said it.