LIONS INSIDER

GAME IN REVIEW: It was a big game and the Lions delivered

Posted Nov 11, 2013

Heading into this weekend's match-up in a three-way tie for first place in the NFC North, the Lions recognized the importance of this game

In a three-way tie for first place in the NFC North, winning at Soldier Field for the first time since Calvin Johnson was a rookie would not only make a statement, it would get the Lions at least partial possession of first place in the division.

Detroit delivered.

The defense made plays when it had to, holding the Bears to just 38 yards on the ground and 1-of-4 in the red zone.

Reggie BushRB Reggie Bush (Photo: G. Smith/Detroit Lions)

This was a huge game for the Detroit Lions and they knew it.

"I thought the biggest series of the game was after (Chris) Conte’s interception when we held them to a field goal," said head coach Jim Schwartz after the game.

"They had a chance to go take the lead. They had a lot of momentum at that point. Our defense went out and got a defensive stop, and forced a field goal. I thought that was as big a series defensively for us for the whole game.”

Quarterback Matthew Stafford came through in the clutch, completing 18-of-25 for 219 yards and three touchdowns: two to Calvin Johnson and one to Kris Durham (his only catch of the game).

Reggie Bush and Joique Bell kept the Bears honest, rushing for a combined 146 yards. Bush led the team with 105 yards on 14 carries.

Bush averaged 7.5 yards per carry with a long of 39 yards. It was that constant threat that resulted in Chicago playing single-high coverage, allowing Stafford to capitalize on one-on-one coverage on Johnson.

"We knew that eventually, at some point during the game, if we kept running the ball things would open up for us," said Stafford after the game. "I think that’s what you saw at the end of the game.

"We didn’t do anything different. We ran the ball like we normally do, and it just started to open up for us."

Johnson led Lions receivers with six catches for 83 yards. Second was tight end Brandon Pettigrew, who finished with five catches for 70 yards.

MORE NEWS, NOTES AND QUOTES SURROUNDING DETROIT'S WIN:

  • Linebacker DeAndre Levy came away with his fifth interception of the season. The ball was batted down by defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, who Schwartz said tongue-and-cheek after the game "leads the NFL in assists".
  • With the win, Stafford breaks his streak of bad luck at Soldier Field.
    • As a rookie in 2009, he injured a knee and had to leave the game early.
    • In 2010 Stafford left the game with an injured shoulder. Backup quarterback Shaun Hill and Johnson were then on the wrong side of the "process of the catch" rule.
    • It was 2011 when Stafford went to Chicago with an injured finger on his throwing hand and threw four interceptions in a blowout loss.
    • Stafford was plagued by drops and his teammates fumbled twice in the red zone in a close 13-7 loss on Monday night last year.
  • With his two touchdowns, Johnson becomes the all-time franchise leader of receiving touchdowns with a total of 63. Herman Moorepreviously held the record (1991-2001).
  • For total touchdowns (rushing and receiving), Johnson is second to Barry Sanders (109). Johnson has 64 total touchdowns -- he had one rushing touchdown his rookie year.
  • Johnson continues to be the NFL leader in receiving yards per game among active players with at least 90 games played. He is also the all-time NFL leader in receiving yards per game now that he has played the minimum 100 games to qualify.
  • After a 219-yard performance at Chicago, Stafford is 69 yards shy of becoming the Lions all-time career passing yards leader. Bobby Layne currently holds the top spot with 15,710 passing yards.