In yet another game that was probably closer than it should have been, Matthew Stafford received a shotgun snap and ran past three defenders and scored to seal the victory for the first place Detroit Lions. This season, Stafford is noticeably leaner and more mobile outside of the pocket, and his increased athleticism has added a new dimension to Detroit’s offense.
Stafford’s go-ahead, 7-yard touchdown with 3:17 left made up for his two interceptions in the fourth quarter, one that was returned for a score, and helped the Detroit Lions beat the Chicago Bears 20-17 Sunday. The Lions are the first team in NFL history to have eight comeback wins from fourth-quarter deficits in a season.
The NFC North-leading Lions (9-4) have won five straight and eight of nine, moving them a step closer to winning a division title for the first time in 23 years.
Chicago QB Matt Barkley tossed a couple passes that put the Bears in a position to at least attempt a tying field goal in the final minute, but both were negated by flags against CHI, before ultimately turning the ball over on downs from the Detroit 44. The Bears’ opportunity of pulling off an upset were also hurt by three penalties for pass interference for a total of 74 yards, helping Detroit score both of its TDs. Chicago (3-10) has now lost four of five.
Stafford was picked off twice after he threw only one interception his previous eight games. Demontre Hurst intercepted Stafford’s pass in Chicago’s end zone after it ricocheted off teammate Bryce Callahan and receiver Golden Tate early in the fourth quarter. CreVon Leblanc returned an interception 24 yards midway through the fourth to put Chicago up 17-13.
Stafford finished 21 of 35 for 223 yards with a TD. Stafford said he hurt his finger, which he expected to be X-rayed, in the first quarter when his hand collided with linebacker Leonard Floyd.
Stafford threw a tiebreaking, 16-yard TD pass to Boldin with 19 seconds left in the first half. It was the 1,063rd reception of Boldin’s career, moving him past Andre Johnson for 10th place on the NFL’s all-time list.
Bears: WR Eddie Royal (toe) and Maruess Wilson (groin) were inactive. CB Tracy Porter (illness) and DT Eddie Goldman (ankle) left the game with ailments.
Lions: RB Theo Riddick was inactive with a wrist injury and was replaced in the starting lineup by rookie Dwayne Washington, who had season highs with 16 carries and 64 yards rushing. LB DeAndre Levy was active for the first time since Week 1, returning from a knee injury. DE Ezekiel Ansah left the game in the second quarter with an injured right shoulder, but returned to play in the second half. Ansah has battled various injuries for much of the year.