Detroit – The Lions took care of the Bears 20-10 with rather ease, keeping their slim playoff hopes alive. In the Saturday afternoon battle at Ford Field, Detroit came into the game with a 7-6 record good for eighth place in the NFC, two spots outside the playoffs. With today’s win, the Lions pulled within a half game of one of the two wildcard slots.
The Lions jumped out to an uncharacteristic 13-0 lead early and would never trail. Detroit got on the board on their first possession, when they marched down field for a 48 yard Matt Prater FG. The Lions picked up another three points early in the 2nd quarter, on another Prater FG from 31 yards for 6-0 lead. If the Lions were truly serious about keeping their playoff lives off life support, they had to start putting the ball in the end zone.
Four weeks ago, the Bears gave Detroit all that they could handle in a 27-24 Lions win. In that game, Detroit’s defense found it difficult to slow down the Bears run game to the tune of 222 yards. The Lions defense was up to the task today, as they held the Bears to a miniscule 43 yards on 15 carries. With the running game unable to generate any power, the Bears had lean heavily on their rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky.
The Lions found it easy to move the ball down the field the entire game. They were finally able to punch it into the end zone early in the 2nd quarter. On the 92 yard 12 play drive they kept the Bears defense guessing with a perfect run pass mixture. The Lions went up 13-0 on a Matthew Stafford to T.J Jones touchdown pass for 3 yards. For the game Stafford finished 25/33 for 237 yards and two touchdowns and no picks. Stafford was very much in a sharing mood, as he connected with eight different receivers on the day.
The Bears finally got on the board just before halftime, after Theo Riddick fumbled on a third down play in Bears territory with 12 seconds left in the half. After the fumble Trubisky completed a short pass to TE Daniel Brown. Bears kicker Mike Nugent would then come on, to kick a 41 yard FG (13-3) to close the half. It would take the Bears until 2:32 left in the game to score their first touchdown. The score came on a Trubisky to Benny Cunningham pass for 9 yards (20-10).
It was Detroit’s defense that made the big difference today, as they forced Trubisky into three picks. With the Lions up 20-3 the Bears were knocking on the door. On 3rd and goal from the five, Trubisky attempted a pass to Dontrell Inman in the end zone that was picked by Nevin Lawson for a touchback. Trubisky finished the day going 31/46 for 314 yards. Detroit’s DB Darius Slay picked Trubisky twice for his NFL leading seven interceptions.
With two games left in the season, the Lions will travel to Cincinnati next Sunday to face the 5-8 Bengals. They will finish the regular season at home on New Year’s Eve against the 7-6 Packers. The Packers game, will most likely hold the final key for the Lions entry into the playoffs. The game will have a familiar face back under center, as Aaron Rodgers will be back after missing eight games with a broken collar bone.