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“Oh no,” he said. “That’s my ball.”

Stafford has done a good job of getting the ball to Johnson despite every team trying to stunt their connections and not having to worry about other playmakers because of Detroit’s injury-depleted receiving corps.

Stafford threw for 443 yards against the Falcons, setting an NFL record for the most yards passing in a game without a touchdown. With 4,695 yards passing and a game to go against the Bears, he and New Orleans’ Drew Brees could become the first two NFL players to throw for 5,000-plus yards in consecutive seasons.

“I’d love to be able to be able to do it again,” Stafford said. “But I’d love for it to come with a win.”

Stafford, who thrown the ball 685 times this season, is seven attempts away from breaking the NFL single-season record for attempts set by Drew Bledsoe with New England in 1994.

Johnson and Stafford have not been able to overcome the team’s minus-12 turnover ratio this season that ranks among the NFL’s worst in perhaps the statistical category that is tied most to winning and losing.

Against Atlanta, the Lions turned the ball over three times and their defense didn’t recover a fumble or make an interception.

“We lose by 13 and 17 points come off turnovers,” Schwartz said. “We need to do a better job of taking care of the football. And also on defense, we need to come up with some.”

Detroit’s comeback hopes were definitely dashed after getting a safety with 1:21 left to pull within 13 points only to have Stefan Logan take a knee at his 4 on a free kick.

“That’s probably the first time I’ve seen somebody concede a punt in the field of play,” Schwartz said. “It was a poor decision. Part of a returner’s job is to know where he is on the field. Saying, `I didn’t know where I was. I thought I was in the end zone,’ is not a valid excuse.

“When that error was made,” Schwartz added, “it made it very, very difficult for the team to come back.”

NOTES: The Lions are hopeful TE Brandon Pettigrew will play against Chicago after missing the last previous two games with a sprained left ankle. … Lions DT Sammie Hill was scheduled to have a foot injury examined, Schwartz said.

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