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Lions' Lawson makes amends in a big way

DETROIT -- Nevin Lawson got noticed for the wrong reasons early in the Detroit Lions' 38-24 victory over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.

The fourth-year cornerback missed a tackle while covering Browns receiver Kenny Britt one-on-one in the first quarter, and Britt scored on the 19-yard pass play.

"I remember just after that play happened, I looked at (safety Miles) Killebrew, and Killebrew said, 'I ain't even got to say nothing. I know you're going to do your thing,'" Lawson said. "I'm just blessed to have encouraging teammates. At the end of the day, we've got to have short-term memories as corners and just keep playing."

Lawson atoned for the mistake before halftime. He stripped the ball from Browns tight end Seth DeValve on a 9-yard pass play, then scooped up the ball and raced 44 yards for a touchdown. That broke a 10-all tie.

"It was just a play I felt like I had to make," Lawson said. "At first, I was going to try to go low and tackle his legs, but I was like, 'Man, might as well try to strip this ball.' You know, he's a big dude, so I just went for the ball and it hit the ground and I pounced on it.

"Then I was like, 'Oh, shoot. Nobody touched me,' so I got up and the first thing that happened, I think 29 (running back Duke Johnson) hit me and I was like, 'Oh, I'm still up.' So I just ran to the end zone."

That play broke a career-long drought for Lawson. He had never previously forced a fumble or scored a touchdown in his NFL career. He's still looking for his first career interception.

"That's not a typical play," Lions head coach Jim Caldwell said. "It's some savvy and he just grinds all the time, that's his nature. And then to be able to take it and run, most people probably don't realize this guy, he can move. And he demonstrated it there, and particularly in a situation where we really needed a score, so that was good for us."

Lawson, who starts opposite the more accomplished Darius Slay, delivered the Lions' fourth defensive touchdown of the season. The other three came on interceptions.

"I had a rough first quarter, probably the worst first quarter of my career, period, from pee-wee, you know what I'm saying? But I just knew I had to go out there and make a play," he said. "I just went out there and kept telling myself, 'Man, keep fighting. The team needs you. Make a play.'"