DETROIT – Matthew Stafford came through for the Detroit Lions when they were close enough to come back late and win a game.
That's becoming a habit.
Stafford accounted for his fourth touchdown with a 1-yard slant for a score to Titus Young with 20 seconds left, lifting Detroit to a 28-24 win over the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.
He threw a winning TD pass with less than a minute left for the second time this year and for the fourth time in four seasons. He has led nine drives — including three this year — that led to decisive winning scores in the fourth quarter and overtime during his 36-game career.
"It's easy to be confident in Matt when you are with him every day," Lions coach Jim Schwartz said. "The talent he has isn't just going to go away."
Stafford was 34 of 49 for 352 yards with three passing TDs, also connecting with Broyles in the end zone at the end of the first quarter. The quarterback also ran for a 1-yard TD that gave Detroit a lead early in the fourth.
He became the first Detroit QB to throw for at least three TDs and run for a score since Scott Mitchell did it in 1996.
"Playing in a game like this is a lot of fun," Stafford said.
Especially, when you win.
It looked like the Lions were going to blow their first lead of the season early in the fourth quarter.
Zach Miller made a spectacular, 16-yard snag on a toss from Russell Wilson with 5:27 left that put the Seahawks (4-4) ahead, but they couldn't stop Detroit (3-4) on its last possession.
"Unfortunately, we're going to lose track of the great drive Russell led down there and the great catch Zach made, but that's the way it goes," Seahawks coach Carroll said. "The game was ours to win.
"The offense did what it had to do and we just needed to get our stop and get out of here and it didn't happen."
The problem for Seattle all afternoon on defense came when it had a chance to get off the field, giving up first downs on 12 of 16 third downs, including three on Detroit's last drive.
Stafford led the 16-play possession that started at Detroit's 20. It began with a 15-yard pass to Calvin Johnson and was kept alive with third-down conversion passes to Johnson in Lions territory, to Joique Bell that set up the winning score from just outside the goal line on another third down.
After Stafford had to throw away two passes to avoid sacks with no timeouts left, Young broke inside of cornerback Brandon Browner and caught the winning TD pass.
"There were four dudes standing next to Calvin and one standing next to Titus, so I liked my odds on that side," Stafford said.
Young has taken advantage of increased opportunities since Nate Burleson broke his right leg during Monday night's loss at Chicago.
The second-year pro played well against the Bears and was even more productive Sunday. Young caught a go-ahead TD midway through the second quarter and set career highs with nine receptions and 100 yards receiving.
"I wanted do that for everyone on the team, but I especially wanted to do it for Nate," he said.
Seattle went ahead when Wilson lobbed a pass into the end zone that a leaping Miller tipped to himself with his right hand and hauled in with both hands for the go-ahead TD.
"I knew he'd catch it," Wilson said. "He has unbelievable hands."
Seattle, though, was the team that failed to hold onto the lead and ended up losing consecutive games for the first time this year.
Wilson was 25 of 35 for 236 yards with two TDs and an interception. Marshawn Lynch ran just 12 times for 105 yards, including a career-high 77-yard run early in the second quarter for one of five lead changes in the closely contested game.
Sidney Rice had six receptions for 55 yards and a 9-yard score that put Seattle up 17-7 early in the second quarter.
Young's first score, catching a 46-yard pass in stride from Stafford, started Detroit's comeback on the ensuing possession. His second one sealed the much-needed victory for the Lions.
"I'm just glad we pulled it out because 2-5 is a bigger hole than 3-4," Lions defensive end Cliff Avril said.
NOTES: Lions S Louis Delmas injured his left knee, which was surgically repaired in August, and left in the third quarter. "It's the same knee, but I don't know that it is the same injury," Schwartz said. ... Seattle was without reserve WR Braylon Edwards because he woke up with a swollen knee.
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