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Detroit -- The Lions' running-back pool is growing thinner by the day.

So they need Ameer Abdullah to step up — or, if nothing else, hold on to the darn ball.

Abdullah fumbled again in Sunday's 37-34 overtime victory over the Bears at Ford Field, his third fumble in the last two games, and his fourth of the season.

"Shoot, it's just like the same story," said Abdullah, drafted by the Lions in April despite a lengthy reputation of fumbling at Nebraska.

"I've got to look in the mirror and I've got to get this right."

The sooner, the better.

The Lions already are without Joique Bell (knee), who missed his third straight game Sunday. Then, during the game, Zach Zenner left with a chest and back injury and didn't return.

Coach Jim Caldwell had no update on Zenner.

So it basically was all Abdullah and Theo Riddick, who is playing through a groin injury and isn't 100 percent.

Abdullah was benched last week after his second fumble, and it seemed he might've suffered the same fate this week after he fumbled in the third quarter. He wasn't in the next several Lions offensive plays, though that turned out to be for injury purposes. He suffered "a stinger," Caldwell said.

He returned the next possession, putting to rest any talk of Caldwell disciplining him again.

"He carried it out there several times after that, so that kind of answered the question," Caldwell said.

Abdullah finished with 48 yards on 14 carries, and also had 21 receiving yards on three catches.

He said he got hurt on the fumble, caused by Sam Acho.

Abdullah recovered it, then headed for the sidelines to shake off the pain.

Now he just needs to shake the fumbles.

"You know, I want this team to trust me. I want the coaches to trust me, so I can't continue to put it on the ground," Abdullah said. "It's disappointing for me, but I realized today I've got some great teammates, man. A lot of people picked me up, man."

Complete call

Look at that, a call actually went the Lions' way.

Of course, it wasn't without controversy.

With 53 seconds left in the opening half, Matthew Stafford found Golden Tate on a 2-yard pass that looked like a touchdown at first glance. But Tate lost the ball around the goal line, and it was snagged by the Bears and ruled an interception.

Given the Lions' history with the completing-the-process rule, it seemed like the call would stand.

But after the review, the call was overturned and ruled a touchdown, giving the Lions a 21-13 lead.

"When I caught it, I felt like it was a touchdown from get-go," Tate said. "I was really nervous.

"I'm glad it was called, I think, correctly. I need to catch the ball, secure it and go to the ground, make it not even questionable.

"That's one thing I gotta work on."

Referee Walt Coleman, speaking to a pool reporter, said the key to the call was Tate standing upright, and not going to the ground, when he lost the ball.

Tate also lost the ball only after his third step, at which point he became a runner and not a receiver. That affects the rules, as well.

"Completed the catch with the ball in the end zone," Coleman said. "That makes it a touchdown."

Ground control

It's no secret.

The Lions' passing game took off Sunday in large part because the running game did, too.

The Lions rushed for a season-high 155 yards and passed for 391.

"A lot," rookie guard Laken Tomlinson said, when asked what effect the success on the ground had on the passing game.
"A team that can run the ball well forces teams to respect that."

The offensive line stood out and gave Stafford plenty of time to get his throws off. He was sacked only twice on a day Tomlinson and right guard Larry Warford played together for the first time. Warford has been battling a high-ankle sprain all season.

Extra points

Sunday's final field goal was the ninth game-winning kick of Matt Prater's career. It was set up by a 57-yard pass from Stafford to Calvin Johnson.

"Game's over," Prater said, when asked what he thought of the catch. "I felt pretty confident that I'm going to make a (27)-yard kick, so I felt good about it and I was excited about the opportunity they gave me."

tpaul@detroitnews.com

twitter.com/tonypaul1984

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