Lions rout Chargers 38-10 to clinch playoff spot

By Larry Lage

Associated Press

Published: Saturday, Dec. 24 2011 5:10 p.m. MST

Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) passes against the San Diego Chargers in the first half of an NFL football game on Saturday, Dec. 24, 2011, in Detroit.

Duane Burleson, Associated Press

DETROIT — The Detroit Lions made the playoffs for the first time since 1999 as Matthew Stafford threw three touchdown passes in the first half to beat the San Diego Chargers 38-10 Saturday.

Detroit (10-5) has won three straight after a seven-game slump to earn a wild-card spot in the playoffs.

According to the Chargers (7-8), they will not be in the postseason for a second straight year after making it five times in a six-season stretch. And that might cost coach Norv Turner his job.

The Lions held San Diego scoreless until midway through the third quarter, when Philip Rivers threw an 11-yard pass to Malcom Floyd to make it 24-7.

Detroit, though, closed strong to restore the rout.

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