Jim Caldwell famously said last week that he would not apologize for a close win because a win is a win regardless of how it comes. I would bet he is saying the same thing after his Detroit Lions barely beat the Chicago Bears 20-14 on Sunday afternoon.
Detroit came into the game 8.5 point favorites to win, and Chicago seemingly made it easier by benching starter Jay Cutler and going with Jimmy Clausen at quarterback. Clausen, who had not started a game since 2010, was 1-9 as a starter and had horrible statistics leading up to the game. He brought it against the NFL’s second ranked defense on Sunday.
Detroit Started the game off moving the ball real well on offense but their drive stalled forcing them to punt. Chicago was worse though, having every drive go no where. The Lions finally made a move in the first quarter when their drive was capped off by a big 13 yard Reggie Bush touchdown run. Detroit finally had a lead at 7-0. Jimmy Clausen led his team down the field, looking more like a starting quarterback and less like a backup, getting down to the 1 yard line before turning the ball over on downs at the 1. A Chicago personal foul penalty gave Detroit the ball at the 16.
Detroit once again moved the ball down the field real well, getting into the red zone before Matthew Stafford forced a pass that was intercepted by Brock Vereen in the end zone. Chicago promptly went 3 and out and punted the ball back to Detroit, but the points lost hurt the Lions. Detroit again took the ball down the field rather quickly, getting into Chicago territory before yet another ill advised pass by Stafford was intercepted, this time by Ryan Mundy. The Bears drove the ball well getting to about mid field before punting. Detroit’s Jeremy Ross misplayed the punt and Chicago got the ball back in the red zone. One play later, Chicago had their first touchdown, a pass from Clausen to Matt Forte.
After halftime, Detroit drove the ball into Chicago territory again, but this time settled for a field goal to give them the lead again at 10-7. Jimmy Clausen again had his offense on the move, driving into Detroit territory. The defense stood tall and stopped them on 3rd down but a silly penalty on the punt gave Chicago a new set of downs. Clausen capitalized on it hitting Ashlon Jeffery for the touchdown. Detroit was now down 14-10 to a terrible Chicago team. Detroit promptly moved the ball down to Chicago territory, likely to get the lead back but their drive stalled. Matt Prater, who Detroit media said looked off before the game, kicked the ground first on the attempted field goal and hit the ball real low forcing it to be blocked. Detroit was still down by 4 and time was ticking away.
After stopping Chicago at mid field, Detroit got the ball back deep in their territory. They seemed to be on their way to a three and out until Tim Jennings interfered with Corey Fuller on a deep pass, giving Detroit 48 yards and a first down in Chicago territory. Joique Bell went beast mode and scored from 17 yards out, breaking several tackles along the way, making it 17-14 Detroit. After probably the quickest 3 and out Chicago had all day, Detroit got the ball back with time to kill and great field position. Joique Bell, Detroit’s closer, chewed up clock with big chunks of yards and got the Lions into field goal range to add to their lead. Prater capitalized when the drive stalled, giving Detroit a 20-14 lead.
Chicago had one more drive to try and get the win. Clausen tried his best to get his team down the field and get points before the game ended, but his pass was picked off by Detroit’s interception king Glover Quin. Stafford and the offense sealed the win by taking a knee. Detroit moved to 11 wins for the first time since the early 90s. They also set themselves up for a divisional championship game against the Packers in Green Bay next week.