TWENTYMAN: Lions beat Bears, 40-32, to take over first place in NFC North

Posted Sep 29, 2013

The Lions defense forced four turnovers vs. Chicago, returning one for a decisive touchdown, as the Lions escaped a late Chicago rally to win, 40-32

We heard all week how the Chicago Bears defense was so good at turning the ball over and how the Detroit Lions offense had to take special care of the football.

What we didn’t hear much of was how the Lions defense had forced seven turnovers of their own coming into the game.

The Lions defense forced four more vs. Chicago, Sunday, returning one for a decisive touchdown, as the Lions escaped a late Chicago rally to win, 40-32.

The victory improves Detroit’s record to 3-1 on the year -- 2-0 in the NFC North -- and puts them in first place in the division.

Safety Louis Delmas had two interceptions, fellow safety Glover Quin had another and defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh stripped Bears quarterback Jay Cutler at the Bears 4-yard line in the third quarter and it was picked up by fellow defensive tackle Nick Fairley and returned for a touchdown to give the Lions a 37-16 lead.

The Lions have been waiting all season for all three phases of their football team to show up for a full 60 minutes of football. Sunday, we saw how good they can be when that happens.

Running back Reggie Bush, who returned after missing last week’s game in Washington due to a knee injury, rushed for 139 yards on 18 carries (7.7 average), including an electric 37-yard touchdown run in the second quarter where he hurdled Bears safety Major Wright on his way to the end zone.

Bush also caught four for 34 yards.

Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford finished 23 of 35 passing for 242 yards with one touchdown and one interception. He also rushed for a 1-yard score.

His lone touchdown pass was to receiver Calvin Johnson in the second quarter from two yards out.

The touchdown, and the win, were both good birthday presents for Johnson, who turned 28 on Sunday.

The momentum completely changed in the Lions favor midway through the second quarter.

Following a Stafford 1-yard touchdown run that gave the Lions a 16-10 lead, safety Glover Quin intercepted a Jay Cutler pass at the Chicago 44-yard line and returned it all the way to the Bears 2-yard line. It led to that 2-yard Stafford-to-Johnson connection.

In 22 seconds, the Lions turned a 10-9 deficit into a 23-10 lead. They managed to hang on the rest of the way, even though it took an onside kick recovery by Kris Durham to finally seal the win.

The Lions special teams got a 57-yard punt return in the second quarter by Micheal Spurlock that set up that Stafford 1-yard touchdown run and didn’t allow Bears All Pro return man Devin Hester to ever get going.

The 40 points put up by the Lions Sunday are the most the Bears have allowed since 2009 vs. the Cardinals.

Offense, defense and special team all showed up for the Lions on Sunday, which is why we can call them the first-place Lions for at least the next week.