DETROIT -- The Detroit Lions moved a step closer toward putting their miserable past behind them, winning for the first time this season and by their largest margin in 15 years.
Stefan Logan's 105-yard kickoff return broke a tie in the second quarter and Detroit rolled to a 44-6 rout of the St. Louis Rams on Sunday.
"It feels good to get this one so we can move on," center Dominic Raiola said.
Detroit (1-4) hadn't won since Nov. 22, 2009, when Matthew Stafford threw five touchdown passes against Cleveland after getting briefly knocked out of the game.
The Lions, who had the NFL's first 0-16 season two years ago, had won just three of their previous 44 games. They had a shot to win three of their first four games -- losing by five, three and two points -- after their 14 losses last season were by at least a TD and several were very lopsided.
"Our players understood how close we were," second-year coach Jim Schwartz said. "But you need validation."
The Lions won by more than a touchdown for the first time since Nov. 4, 2007, when they beat Denver 44-7.
Clayton, whose injury appears serious, fell to the ground while running a pattern and stayed down until he was carted off the field.
"It doesn't look good," St. Louis coach Steve Spagnuolo said.
Bradford, coming off his best game, had one of his worst. He was 23 of 45 for 215 yards with two interceptions, one that was batted into the air and caught by Ndamukong Suh and one directly to Alphonso Smith, who returned it for the final score.
"There are going to be a lot of things that we have to find on the film and fix because we have to make sure this never happens again," said Bradford, who was drafted this year No. 1 overall just ahead of Suh. "I don't think I've ever been part of a loss like this."
Playing again in place of last year's No. 1 pick Matthew Stafford, Shaun Hill threw for 227 yards and connected with Calvin Johnson, Brandon Pettigrew and Nate Burleson for touchdowns. Hill has started since Stafford separated his right shoulder in Week 1.
|St. Louis Rams|
|The offensive and defensive lines were dominated by a Detroit team that hasn't dominated anyone in years. Steven Jackson was ineffective, and Sam Bradford looked like the rookie he is. All in all, an abysmal performance.|
|This was the performance Jim Schwartz has been looking for all season. Authoritative D-line play, coupled with stellar play by Shaun Hill and his receivers, gave Detroit the perfect win. The demons of an 0-4 start were exorcised at Ford Field all afternoon.|
|By John Kreger|
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"Even though we don't have Matt, we have somebody who can hold down the fort," said Burleson, who was flagged for punting the football into the stands after his TD.
The Lions got off to a good start because a risky move backfired for St. Louis, which started game with a failed onside kick.
"Maybe the biggest play that gets overlooked was the opening kickoff," Schwartz said.
Logan's return was easy to notice.
He went from the middle of his end zone and raced to the other -- breaking one tackle along the way -- for a 10-3 lead to make his mom and dad, who has kidney failure, two of the happiest people at Ford Field.
"I wanted to do it so bad because my parents were out here and I wanted to show off for my parents," Logan said. "My dad, he's sick so he can't just come up to a game every other week."
At least one kickoff has been returned for a score in the first five weeks of a season for the first time since at least 1950, including AFL games before the 1970 merger, according to STATS.
Logan's TD tied the longest in franchise history and helped the Lions outscore St. Louis 21-3 in the second quarter.
Steven Jackson did his part for the Rams, running for 114 yards on 25 carries, but he didn't have much help without Clayton on the field. Clayton started the game among NFC leaders in receptions and yards receiving.
"Everyone has seen what he's done for this offense in the first four games, and it is going to be tough to replace him," Bradford said. "We just need someone to step up."
|St. Louis (2-3-0)||3||3||0||0||6|
|Detroit (1-4-0) «||3||21||7||13||44|
|FG||Jason Hanson, 30 Yd, 13:44. Drive: 5 plays, 29 yards in 1:16.|
|FG||Josh Brown, 28 Yd, 0:00. Drive: 12 plays, 62 yards in 6:20.|
|TD||Stefan Logan, 105 Yd kick return (Jason Hanson kick is good), 14:46.|
|TD||Calvin Johnson, 1 Yd pass from Shaun Hill (Jason Hanson kick is good), 6:14. Drive: 13 plays, 81 yards in 7:16.|
|FG||Josh Brown, 28 Yd, 1:37. Drive: 12 plays, 68 yards in 4:37.|
|TD||Brandon Pettigrew, 3 Yd pass from Shaun Hill (Jason Hanson kick is good), 0:10. Drive: 12 plays, 80 yards in 1:27.|
|TD||Nate Burleson, 26 Yd pass from Shaun Hill (Jason Hanson kick is good), 10:54. Drive: 4 plays, 41 yards in 1:53.|
|FG||Jason Hanson, 48 Yd, 11:18. Drive: 10 plays, 52 yards in 4:23.|
|FG||Jason Hanson, 47 Yd, 7:50. Drive: 4 plays, 2 yards in 1:31.|
|TD||Alphonso Smith, 42 Yd interception return (Jason Hanson kick is good), 7:06.|
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