After a first quarter eerily similar to the Lions’ game against the Browns a week ago, the Lions got on track offensively and defensively for a 27-24 win over the Bears at Chicago’s Soldier Field on Sunday.
It was the third NFC North road game the Lions have won. They have also beaten the Vikings at Minnesota and the Packers at Green Bay. Oddly enough, the Lions are 4-1 on the road and 2-3 at home.
(Photo courtesy of Detroit Lions.)
The Lions are now 6-4 while the Vikings beat the Rams, 24-7, to move to 8-2. The NFC North rivals meet at Ford Field on Thursday for a key Thanksgiving battle.
Five reasons the Lions won:
1. Kicker Matt Prater nailed a 52-yard field goal with 1:35 left to give Detroit a 27-24 lead. Bears kicker Connor Barth missed 46-yard field goal wide right with 3 seconds left. Good snap, good hold, but it wasn’t even close. If it was good, the game would have been tied and gone into overtime and who knows what would have happened then.
2. When the Lions fell behind 10-0 early in the first they kept their composure. They had plenty of time, they showed discipline and patience — two trademarks of a Jim Caldwell coached team.
3. The offense was resilient in the second quarter with two touchdowns — a 28-yard touchdown catch by Marvin Jones and a 2-yard run by Ameer Abdullah. Detroit was up 21-17 at the half. Still the Lions had trouble running the ball finishing with just 65 yards — Theo Riddick with 35, Abdullah with 22. Matthew Stafford got off to a slow start but finished 21 of 31 for 299 yards, two touchdowns, one fumble lost and a 120.2 rating.
4. Cornerback DJ Hayden recovered a Mitchell Trubisky fumble and ran it 27 yards in for a touchdown early in the second quarter to get the Lions on the board. They were down 10-7 at that point. Always helps when the defense pitches in with a score. It was the fifth defensive touchdown this season. The play seemed to provide a spark on both sides of the ball.
5. The Lions won despite the defense giving up 222 rushing yards with 125 of them from running back Jordan Howard who averaged 8.3 yards per carry. They knew they had to stop him but they could not. He also scored on a 12-yard run in the second quarter. Prior to this game the Lions defense had given up an average of 110.6 rushing yards per game.
BONUS: It was cold (wind chill was 23 at start of game) and windy at Soldier Field, but the Lions were as ready as they could be. They practiced outdoors all last week in Allen Park including Wednesday in the pouring rain. Caldwell’s mantra is he wants to have an indoor team with an outdoor mentality. It looks like he’s succeeded with that.