Nov 10, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Detroit Lions defensive tackle Nick Fairley (98) reacts after tackling Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte (not pictured) during the second half at Soldier Field. Detroit defeats Chicago 21-19. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports
The view looks pretty nice up here in first place. It’s been so long that the Detroit Lions have been in first place in a month not named September, that it’s like I really can’t remember it happening. Of course, they were going to make you sweat it out by waiting until the clock had 40 seconds left before they could claim a victory over the Chicago Bears in Soldier field. I’ll bet the Naysayer’s were about to say “this is the Same Old Lions”, until Nick Fairley busted through the O-line and grabbed Matt Forte the same time he took the hand-off. Raise your hand if you wanted to ring his neck just a couple of minutes earlier when he committed the dumbest penalty of the game. One minute a goat, the next a hero.
With both teams scoring on their opening drives, I was glad the Lions finally deferred and took the ball to open the second half. I thought that game was going to be a shoot-out but the defenses settled down and it turned out to be a relatively low scoring game. I want to personally thank Bears head coach Marc Trestman for putting in an injured Jay Cutler, and then leaving him in way too long. I almost felt kind of sorry for him dealing with a groin injury, then a bad ankle and a huge knot on his throwing hand before he literally limped off the field. This might have been a different outcome had Josh McCown played the whole game.
The play of the game was when Ndumakong Suh tipped the ball just before the first half ended, and future Pro Bowler DeAndre Levy intercepted it in the end zone. The Bears had just completed a drive that seemed to take an hour, and they got nothing out of it. The defensive line was in Cutler’s face all day. As good as they were, they seemed to wait until the absolutely worst time to have stupid penalties. Two of them on the last drive of the game is ridiculous. That’s probably why Fairley did his Marching Band Leader imitation for fifty yards, because he was so relieved to not the the idiot who cost his team the game.
Matthew Stafford had a shaky game, but it’s a W, and that’s all that matters. With some passes still sailing on him it’s a good thing the Lions have a bunch of giants to help turn a few into receptions. Is it my imagination or is Brandon Pettigrew catching everything coming his way? He has been making some spectacular catches lately. A shout out to Rashean Mathis. The secondary would be a disaster if it wasn’t for him picking up the slack.
This division is there for the Lions to win, and the home playoff game that comes with it. This is rarified air that the Lions are breathing now. It didn’t take them long from “desperately seeking respectability” to “who in the NFC can beat them?” A look a the upcoming schedule and you can see that they only play one more team over .500, and that’s the Rodgers-less Packers on Thanksgiving.
This is all new for the Leos, this first place stuff in November. They have to concentrate on the next game and not be “eating the Cheese”, as Reggie Bush says. There’ll be plenty of that in the offseason.