It’s a good thing the Lions clinched a playoff berth yesterday, because they sure didn’t look like a playoff team today. But they managed to pull it out in the end.
Facing a Bears team that had benched Jay Cutler and all but given up on the season, the Lions looked lousy for much of the game but came back to earn a hard-fought 20-14 victory.
The win improves the Lions’ record to 11-4. They’ll travel to Green Bay next week, where the winner will win the NFC North and the loser will be a wild card.
Bears quarterback Jimmy Clausen completed 23 of 39 passes for 181 yards, with two touchdowns and one interception, and he played a lot better than his stats suggest: He routinely hit receivers in the hands only to have his passes dropped. Alshon Jeffery, in particular, had a miserable game. If Jeffery had caught all the passes he dropped, the Bears very well might have won.
Detroit’s special teams were a disaster: Jeremy Ross muffed a punt to set up the Bears’ first touchdown, a roughing the punter penalty set up the Bears’ second touchdown, and Matt Prater missed what should have been an easy field goal. And Lions center Dominic Raiola committed one of the dirtiest plays of the year when he stomped on Chicago’s Ego Ferguson.
And yet in the end, the Lions found a way to win. Calvin Johnson, Reggie Bush and Joique Bell all played well, and the Lions can feel good about reaching the 11-win mark. They just have to play better next week if they expect to beat the Packers.