The Detroit Lions put the 2015 season to bed happily, knocking off the Bears 24-20 at Soldier Field in Chicago. With the win the Lions finish 7-9 with dreams of what could have been so much more.
This was a mixed bag game across the board for several players…
Matthew Stafford had a couple of real clunker drives, notably one where he took two sacks instead of throwing the ball away to avoid them. He failed to recognize yards of open turf on a fourth down attempt, instead misfiring badly towards Calvin Johnson.
Yet No. 9 also made some great plays. His touchdown throw to Johnson was outstanding ball placement, and the red zone TDs to Eric Ebron and Tim Wright were both excellent throws.
Kicker Matt Prater missed wide right from 54 yards in the second quarter, but then redeemed himself just before halftime by blasting a team-record 59-yarder to push the lead to 10-0.
Quandre Diggs had a rough go, unable to stick with the wiggle of Marc Mariani or the deep speed of Jay Bellamy on various occasions. It was a reminder why he fell to the sixth round. On the flip side, Nevin Lawson was fantastic. His end-zone deflection created James Ihedigbo’s INT, the first of three Lions picks of Jay Cutler.
Detroit finished with three players catching at least 80 passes, becoming just the third team in NFL history to accomplish that feat. Theo Riddick hit the mark on the fourth-quarter drive capped by the nice Stafford-to-Ebron play action TD.
Riddick set the team record for receptions by a running back. He also flashed the electrifying elusiveness in space that few can match. Consider his play poo flung in the face of Peter King and the other national pundits who cried foul when the Lions dumped Reggie Bush; this (NFSW) is for those clueless ignoramuses.
Ziggy Ansah added another sack, plus two hits on Cutler while throwing that produced interceptions from Tahir Whitehead and the game-clincher from Glover Quin. Ansah finishes with 14.5 sacks, just a half-sack shy of matching Robert Porcher’s team record.
Calvin Johnson, in what may or may not have been his last game in the Honolulu Blue, once again lit up his personal stat-padding machine, the Bears:
The Lions have now beaten the Bears six straight times. In winning, Detroit secures third place in the NFC North while sending the Bears to the cellar. Considering the 1-7 start, that’s a pretty impressive accomplishment for Jim Caldwell and his team.
Volumes will be written in the coming days about potential changes, but for this moment enjoy the victory, Lions fans!