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Associated Press
Philadelphia’s DeSean Jackson celebrates in the snow after a touchdown in the second half against Detroit on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field.

Lions fumble return effort away in loss

– Jeremy Ross plowed his way through the snow, even with cleats that felt more appropriate for date night than a touchdown dance.

Ross broke free on long punt and kickoff returns, sprinting to the 50 ... the 40 ... well, it was kind of hard of tell with about 6 inches of snow blanketing Lincoln Financial Field. But he was definitely headed the right way.

There was no doubt about his landing spot – both times in the powdery end zone, with celebratory snow angels for fun.

“That was the worst I ever played in,” Ross said. “The snow kept clogging the bottom of my cleats. I felt like I had heels on.”

Ross didn’t need snow boots, just some help from Detroit’s offense. LeSean McCoy ran for a franchise-best 217 yards, including touchdowns of 57 and 40 yards, and the Philadelphia Eagles overcame Ross’ two TD returns to beat the Lions 34-20 in a blizzard Sunday.

Ross returned a punt 58 yards for a score in the third quarter and ran a kickoff 98 yards in the fourth.

Talk about cold snaps. The Lions fumbled seven times, losing three, with most of them coming on jumbled exchanges. Running back Joique Bell, who started for Reggie Bush, had two fumbles in the snow. Matthew Stafford, who was 10 of 25 for 148 yards, muffed five snaps.

“It’s not the same as a sunny day, that’s for sure,” Stafford said. “But you’ve got to make adjustments.”

The Eagles sure did, scoring all 34 points in the second half. Playing in the same wintry mix, the Eagles recovered their only fumble.

“We were expecting the possibility of (bad) weather,” Lions coach Jim Schwartz said. “But even waking up this morning, coming here today, nobody was predicting 6 inches of snow, or whatever we had.”

Detroit star Calvin Johnson passed Herman Moore for most yards receiving in franchise history on a 33-yard catch to the Eagles 13 late in the first quarter. But Bell fumbled a few plays later at the Eagles 10.

The Lions lost Bush for the day when he fell on the slippery field during warmups and re-injured his calf.

Snow began falling two hours before kickoff and intensified after the game started. Workers used shovels and hand-held blowers to clear off yard lines. Conditions were so poor neither team tried a field goal, and there were 2-point attempts after seven of the eight TDs.

The Eagles, looking to go worst-to-first in the NFC East, won their fifth straight game and took over sole possession of first place. Dallas can make it a tie for the top spot with a victory at Chicago tonight.

The Lions (7-6) have a half-game lead over the Bears in the NFC North.

“It was tough handling the ball early on,” Stafford said. “We had a couple of turnovers, but we have to be able to overcome those. You don’t want to have them, but in a story like that, early on in the game you might have some, and we have to do a better job of holding on to it.”