Fourth quarter comebacks have become a reoccurring theme for the Detroit Lions (9-4), and that theme continued on Sunday afternoon at Ford Field when they defeated the Chicago Bears (3-10) by a final score of 20-17.
Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford struggled throughout the game, finishing with 223 yards, two total touchdowns, and two interceptions. One of Stafford’s interceptions was returned for a touchdown by Cre’Von LeBlanc, giving the Bears a 17-13 lead with 7:07 left in the game. Stafford then took the Lions offense on a seven-play, 76 yard drive, aided by two Chicago penalties, ending with a 7-yard touchdown run by Stafford to give the Lions a 20-17 lead with 3:17 left in the game. Stafford didn’t have a great statistical game, but was able to lead the team to yet another come from behind victory.
Detroit’s running game was much improved despite being without lead running back Theo Riddick. Zach Zenner and Dwayne Washington paced the Lions’ rushing attack, combining for 100 yards on 23 carries. Stafford also added four carries for 15 yards and the game-winning touchdown.
Once again Detroit’s receivers had an all-around solid day. Anquan Boldin, Golden Tate and Marvin Jones combined for 13 catches, 174 yards and a touchdown. Boldin caught a 16-yard touchdown pass with 19 seconds before halftime, giving Detroit a 10-3 lead at the break. Jones was back after missing last week’s game due to injury and he led all Lions receivers with 67 yards.
Chicago was down to their third string quarterback, and Matt Barkley struggled to get anything going against the Lions defense. Barkley finished the game with 212 yards and a touchdown. Detroit’s defense has now held opposing offenses to 20 points or fewer in seven straight games.
Bears rookie running back Jordan Howard had a field day against the Lions, rushing for 86 yards on 13 carries. It seemed as if every time Howard touched the ball he was getting 10 to 15 yards, and that is concerning for the Lions going forward. As the playoff race heats up, Detroit will need to be better tackling if they want home field advantage in the playoffs.
Besides Cameron Meredith, who finished with 6 catches, 72 yards and a touchdown, Bears receivers had a hard time finding separation from Lions defensive backs. Alshon Jeffery, Eddie Royal and Marquess Wilson were all out for the Bears, which led to a lack of chemistry on the field. With the inexperienced receivers, Detroit was able to keep players in front of them, leading to short gains.
The Lions have now won eight of their past nine games, and will look to build on that success next week when they take on the New York Giants. That game is scheduled to start at 1 p.m. on Fox at MetLife Stadium.