JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Given the result, the Detroit Lions probably should try to be this balanced all the time.
Mikel Leshoure ran for three touchdowns, Calvin Johnson got involved early and the Lions turned in their most complete victory of the season, 31-14 over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday.
Detroit dominated from start to finish, building a three-score lead before halftime and coasting after the break. It was a much different feeling for the Lions (4-4), who trailed in the second half in each of their other wins.
"Coach emphasized this week that we wanted to get off to a good start, a fast start, an early start," said Leshoure, who dedicated the victory to his newborn son. "We weren't able to get a touchdown or a field goal on the first drive, but throughout the game and the first quarter, we were pretty successful. That enabled us to get off to a faster start than usual."
Leshoure finished with 70 yards rushing and scored on runs of 7, 1 and 8 yards, becoming the first in franchise history to run for three touchdowns in the first half. Not even Hall of Famer Barry Sanders accomplished that feat. Joique Bell added 73 yards on the ground and a score. The 149 yards rushing were the team's most since gaining 169 against Carolina nearly a year ago.
"You combine that running game with our passing game, it's an offense that's unstoppable," Lions right tackle Gosder Cherilus said. "If we can do this every weekend, the sky's the limit for this offense."
Johnson, who got off to slow starts in Detroit's last three games, had five receptions for 99 yards before the Jaguars (1-7) even recorded a first down. He finished with seven catches for 129 yards after getting a pain-killing shot in his left knee.
"There is a reason he didn't practice this week," coach Jim Schwartz said. "It wasn't because we were just resting him. ... He's a tough guy and found a way to contribute. He made a lot of plays for us. We had a feeling he would be able to do something, just how much or how long he could go was really the question."
Matthew Stafford completed 22 of 33 passes for 285 yards, building on last week's impressive outing against Seattle. He became the second-fastest quarterback to throw for 10,000 career yards in NFL history, reaching the milestone in 37 games. Former St. Louis Rams star Kurt Warner did it in 36 games.
The Jaguars, meanwhile, failed to get much going a week after playing Green Bay tough in a 24-15 loss. Now, they are tied for the worst start in franchise history. A loss Thursday night to Indianapolis would make it worse than 2003.
Blaine Gabbert completed 27 of 38 passes for 220 yards, with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Rashad Jennings, starting his second game in place of Maurice Jones-Drew, ran for 45 yards.