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Detroit — Lions receiver Corey Fuller had experienced the joy of a late-game touchdown.

But his preseason score against the Browns pales in comparison to his first career touchdown, a 5-yard grab from Matthew Stafford on Sunday against the Saints with 1:47 left, pushing the Lions to a 24-23 win.

Fuller, a second-year receiver from Virginia Tech, had just six catches for 91 yards in the first six games this season.

With Calvin Johnson out a second consecutive week because of an ankle injury, Fuller made the most of his opportunity Sunday, with three catches for 44 yards.

"I just wait for my number to get called — it doesn't get called much," Fuller said. "I'm just here to help in any way I can. Matt threw a great ball, the line blocked perfectly, and all I had to do was come down with it. I had to do the easy job.

On the decisive play, Stafford was looking to get the ball to Golden Tate, who was double-teamed, leaving a prime opportunity for Fuller.

"Corey had to go outside and beat a corner(back). He was just kind of trailing on the baseline, I saw the double-team on Golden and put a ball where I thought Corey could go up and get it and get both feet down," Stafford said. "It was a great catch.

"What a first touchdown catch if you're him. It's pretty awesome. I was really happy for him."

Fuller had a mistake earlier in the drive on a play that he didn't come back to the ball, allowing the defender to get a hand in and deflect it. On the touchdown pass, he maintained his focus and paid attention to all the details, atoning for his earlier error.

"All I had to do is come down with the ball and put my feet in. I'm not sure where I was at on the field," he said. "I just knew the ball was in the air and I tried to look it all the way in and just put my feet down."

Johnson missed his second straight game because of the high-ankle sprain and Fuller said he's been getting some impromptu tutoring to help keep him calm and focused on executing the offense.

"Even last week, every time I came off the field, either Calvin was coming to me or I was going to him, just asking him different things or he would ask me little things like what did I see," Fuller said. "It just helped me slow the game down a little bit so it's helping me a lot."

At least for Fuller, the comeback win makes things a bit easier for the trip to England, where the Lions will face the Falcons next week.

"If we would have lost this game and headed on a long flight to London, that probably would have been the quietest flight ever," he said. "Now it'll be a little more fun and relaxed."

More Bell, less Bush

Reggie Bush, who played Sunday despite an ankle injury that kept him out last week, was limited in the second half, with only one catch for 11 yards. Joique Bell got the majority of the work after halftime, especially with the Lions in pass mode because of the deficit.

Bush finished with four carries for 10 yards — all in the first half — and five catches for 22 yards in the game and only was in for a few plays after halftime. Coach Jim Caldwell said Bush's reduced role wasn't due to benching; rather, he was having issues with the injury.

"Oh, no, absolutely not (benching)," Caldwell said. "I think you saw a few times he was still kind of nursing his injury just a little bit.

"It bothered him a couple times, but he gutted it out and kept working through it. In there toward the end, it was the (play) package more so than anything else. (Bell) took the bulk of the work."

Bush declined interviews after the game.

Honoring past greats

At halftime, the Lions paid homage to their greatest defensive linemen in franchise history, with some of the members present at Ford Field to receive the honor.

Among the 15 honored were several from the pre-merger period, through the current roster:

Les Bingaman (1948-54), Darris McCord (1955-67), Alex Karras (1958-62, 64-70), Sam Williams (1960-65), Roger Brown (1960-66).

Larry Hand (1964-77), Doug English (1975-79, '81-85), Al "Bubba" Baker (1978-82), William Gay (1978-87), Jerry Ball (1987-92).

Tracy Scroggins (1992-2001), Robert Porcher (1992-2004), Luther Elliss (1995-2003), Shaun Rogers (2001-07), Ndamukong Suh (2010-present)

Rod.Beard@detroitnews.com

twitter.com/detnewsRodBeard

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