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Lions rally past Dolphins, 34-27
By STEVEN WINE, AP Sports Writer Monday, Dec 27, 2010

MIAMI (AP)—The Detroit Lions could keep winning for another month and still be below .500, so forgive cynics for finding their latest victory hard to believe.

Trailing by 10 points with 5 minutes left, the Lions came up with two interceptions to score 17 points in a span of 2:26 and rally past the stunned Miami Dolphins, 34-27 on Sunday.

“The Detroit Lions?” Miami cornerback Vontae Davis(notes) said. “They shouldn’t come in and win this game. We’ve got way more talent.”

The Lions (5-10) extended their winning streak to three games, impressive for a team that hadn’t won even two in a row since 2007. The surge comes with a caveat: Detroit was out of the playoff race in November.

“We’re obviously not going to the Super Bowl,” said Lions tight end Brandon Pettigrew(notes), who caught a touchdown pass. “We just want to get it done and lay a foundation for next year.”

Miami (7-8), eliminated from the playoff race last week, finished 1-7 in its stadium. That’s the worst home record in the league, and it matches a franchise low.

“We should all be embarrassed,” coach Tony Sparano said.

The Miami meltdown did nothing to help Sparano’s wobbly job security. Owner Stephen Ross, who attended the game, hasn’t commented on Sparano’s status.

“At the end of the day, you’re evaluated on wins and losses,” a downcast Sparano said.

The Lions were plagued by bad field position for much of the game, and Miami outrushed them 154-67. But Shaun Hill(notes) went 14 for 26 for 222 yards and a score on a windy afternoon, and the Lions showed the sort of resilience that has become characteristic.

“Very gratifying,” Hill said. “I was just standing there on the sideline watching the defense put it away.”

DeAndre Levy(notes) and Nathan Vasher(notes) intercepted Chad Henne(notes), who threw for 278 yards and helped the Dolphins score three touchdowns at home for the first time this season before they self-destructed. The loss was their second in a row at home to a division cellar-dweller.

“Mind-blowing,” linebacker Cameron Wake(notes) said. “I’m at a loss for words.”

The Dolphins led 24-14 with five minutes to go when the Lions forced a punt, and on the first play Jahvid Best(notes) turned a short pass from Hill into a 53-yard touchdown.

Three plays later, Henne overthrew a receiver and Vasher was there, setting up a 47-yard field goal by Dave Rayner(notes) to tie it with 2:44 remaining.

Two Miami plays netted 2 yards before Henne threw another interception. Intended receiver Davone Bess(notes) fell as the ball arrived, and Levy grabbed it, then zigzagged 30 yards to the end zone for Detroit’s third score in less than 2 1/2 minutes.

“Definitely not Chad Henne’s fault,” Bess said. “I’ve got to stay on my feet.”

The Lions lost six games by a touchdown or less before their recent winning streak, with the three victories by a total of 14 points.

“Finishing the ballgame—that’s something we’re just getting accustomed to,” Vasher said.

Detroit mounted TD drives of 80 and 86 yards, and Bess fumbled a punt return and Landon Johnson(notes) recovered to set up a Lions field goal. Still, when Ricky Williams’(notes) 28-yard run from the wildcat set up a field goal for a 10-point Dolphins lead, it appeared they had a victory sewed up.

“I don’t think that’s a game we would have won earlier in the season,” Lions coach Jim Schwartz said.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
 Detroit
S. Hill Shaun Hill QB
14-26, 222 yds
2 TDs
 Miami
R. Brown Ronnie Brown RB
12 Rush, 37 yds
1 TD

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