Detroit's late-game magic runs out in 20-13 loss to Houston
HOUSTON (AP) The Detroit Lions made a habit recently of rallying late for wins.
On Sunday their latest comeback attempt fell just short in a 20-13 loss to the Houston Texans (5-3).
The Lions (4-4) cut the lead to seven when Theo Riddick connected with Matthew Stafford on a 1-yard touchdown reception early in the fourth quarter.
Houston added a field goal after that before a 34-yard field goal by Matt Prater got Detroit back within a score. But Houston recovered an onside kick and ran out the clock to secure the victory .
''They weren't going to throw the ball in that situation, so that's why you take a shot at it and see if you can get it back,'' Lions coach Jim Caldwell said.
''And then, if you stop the run, you still have a chance. We just didn't get it done and didn't perform down the stretch.''
Stafford threw for 240 yards and a touchdown for Detroit, which had a three-game winning streak snapped. The Lions had used big fourth quarters to beat the Rams and the Redskins in the previous two weeks.
''I wish I could have done it earlier in the game,'' Stafford said. ''I've got to play better and we have to play better as a team, as an offense, earlier in the game so we're not in that situation.''
The Lions fell behind 14-0 by the second quarter, forcing them to play catch up for most of the day.
''We couldn't put enough points on the board, offensively, in the first half, we were just stagnant,'' Caldwell said.
''Defensively, we stopped the run until midway through the third quarter and they really took control on the ground. We just didn't play as well as we're capable of.''
The Lions failed to convert a fourth-and-4 on their first possession and a 49-yard field goal attempt bounced off the right upright on their second one.
That was followed by three straight punts before they got on the board with a 47-yard field goal just before halftime after an interception by Brock Osweiler.
''Third downs is really the difference ... we just did not convert,'' Caldwell said. ''Did not function as well as we typically do.''
Some other things to know about Houston's win over Detroit.
MILLER'S WORK: Running back Lamar Miller made some big plays for the Texans despite dealing with an injured right shoulder. Miller missed practice this week after taking a shot at the end of a run on Monday night.
On Sunday, he scored on a 1-yard run that gave Houston a 14-0 lead in the second quarter. He added two first downs on the team's last drive to allow Houston to run out the clock and secure the victory. He finished with 17 carries for 56 yards.
''Every time I kept getting hit on it, it was bothering me so I'd come out for a couple of plays,'' he said. ''But I think for the most part it was fine. I was just trying to fight through it.''
EBRON RETURNS: Lions tight end Eric Ebron had seven receptions for 79 yards on Sunday after missing three games with knee and ankle injuries. Stafford was complimentary of his performance and expects him to get better in the upcoming weeks.
''He had some tough matchups against safeties, not a whole lot of one on one routes against linebackers ... so he was doing a nice job of winning against those guys,'' Stafford said. ''Just continue to do more of the same.''
TEXANS INJURIES: Houston receivers Jaelen Strong and Will Fuller were both injured on Sunday as well as nose tackle Vince Wilfork. Coach Bill O'Brien didn't provide an update on any of their conditions, but Strong was wearing a boot on his left foot in the locker room after the game. They'll have some time to recover since the Texans are off next Sunday before traveling to Jacksonville on Nov. 13.
OSWEILER GROWING: Osweiler rebounded from a tough performance in Monday's loss at Denver to throw for 186 yards and a touchdown on Sunday.
Osweiler has had an up-and-down season in his first year in Houston after signing a $72 million contract in the offseason, and has nine interceptions and nine touchdowns.
The Texans have been patient through his growing pains since he'd started just seven games in his first four NFL seasons.
''I think he's going to continue to get better,'' Texans owner Bob McNair said. ''He's still basically a rookie. He's going to make some mistakes, but he shows that he has the talent, he has the ability and has the leadership that the team has confidence in him.''
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