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3 things we learned about the Lions

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SEATTLE — Two games into Kam Chancellor’s return, the Seattle Seahawks sure are glad the strong safety is back.

Chancellor, whose holdout over a contract dispute led him to miss the season’s first two games, came up with a win-preserving play Monday night.

Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson was approaching the end zone for a go-ahead touchdown in the final minutes, but Chancellor punched the ball away, saving the Seahawks’ 13-10 victory in a defensive battle at CenturyLink Field.

Trailing by three points with 6:23 remaining, the Lions drove from their own 9-yard line to the Seattle 11. On third-and-1, quarterback Matthew Stafford hit Johnson with a short pass on the left side. Just as Johnson was reaching for the goal line while being tackled by free safety Earl Thomas, Chancellor knocked the ball away from the receiver and through the end zone, resulting in a touchback.

“It’s exactly what this team stands for,” Chancellor said. “We fight to the end. We fight for each other because we’re brothers. … We have faith in each other and faith in our ability.”

The big play was not without controversy, which has been known to occur during “Monday Night Football” games in Seattle. On Chancellor’s strip, Seahawks linebacker K.J. Wright knocked the ball out of the back of the end zone.

According to the NFL rulebook, an illegal bat occurs if “any player bats or punches a loose ball (that has touched the ground) in any direction, if it is in either end zone.” Had the penalty been called, Detroit would have got the ball back inside the 1-yard line.

What we learned about the Lions:

1. The offense is showing signs of life. While the Lions managed just a field goal from their offense, with the game on the line, quarterback Matthew Stafford and crew moved the ball down the field from the Detroit 9-yard line to the Seattle 1. A wacky finish dramatically altered what could have been a game-winning play.

2. Detroit is bitten by the injury bug. Tight end Eric Ebron and defensive linemen Haloti Ngata (calf) and Tyrunn Walker (ankle) left with injuries. Walker had to be carted off the field with 10:11 to go in the game.

3. Golden Tate probably didn’t enjoy his return to Seattle. Tate, who was drafted by the Seahawks and played in Seattle for four years before signing with Detroit prior to the 2014 season, was held to 29 yards on four receptions. Tate was heavily involved in the last controversial Monday night finish in Seattle when he “caught” the Fail Mary pass against the Green Bay Packers.

Etc.

–WR Calvin Johnson tied Lions career receptions leader Herman Moore with 670. Johnson finished the game with seven receptions on 11 targets for 56 yards, but his fumble at the goal line in the final minutes doomed Detroit to a loss.

–DT Haloti Ngata left the game due to a calf injury.

–DT Tyrunn Walker was carted off the field after sustaining an ankle injury with 10:11 remaining in the fourth quarter. He did not return to the game.

–TE Eric Ebron left Monday’s game with a knee injury and did not return. He finished the night with two catches for 22 yards.


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