The Detroit Lions are well positioned to win their first division title in two decades.
Detroit, which last won the NFC North in 1993 when it was called the NFC Central, went to Chicago and won 21-19. Combined with the Packers’ loss to the Eagles’ today, that puts Detroit all alone in first place at 6-3, with both the Bears and Packers at 5-4. It’s the first season sweep for the Lions over the Bears since 2007.
But it wasn’t easy. It was a back-and-forth battle all day, and even late in the game, after Calvin Johnson scored his second touchdown to put the Lions ahead 21-13, and after Jay Cutler exited with an injury and was replaced by Josh McCown, the Bears kept fighting.
In fact, McCown was actually more effective than the hobbling Cutler, and he marched the Bears down the field for a touchdown that made the score 21-19. The Bears lined up for a two-point conversion and McCown threw incomplete, but Lions defensive end Willie Young was flagged for roughing the passer. That gave the Bears a second chance, but Lions defensive tackle Nick Fairley burst through the line to tackle Matt Forte and stop the Bears’ second attempt. After that the Lions recovered the Bears’ onside kick, and the game was over.
Although Johnson’s numbers — six catches for 83 yards and those two touchdowns — look good, he missed several passes thrown his way and didn’t have a great game. Bears cornerback Charles Tillman, as he always does, played well against Megatron.
But Lions running back Reggie Bush had a big day, with 14 carries for 105 yards, and the Lions did a nice job of holding Bears running back Matt Forte to just 33 yards. This was a good performance for the Lions even on a day when their passing game wasn’t great. And it was a good sign that the Lions can make a run to the playoffs.