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FOUR DOWNS: Defense secures the win for second straight week


Two weeks in a row now the Detroit Lions' young defense has made the plays needed at the end of the game to secure the win.

"It's crazy the last two weeks we've been in a position to win the game for our team. It hasn't been the offense. It's been the defense," Lions third-year cornerback Jeff Okudah said. "And we've made the stops. I think that's something you can put in the bank and we know that we're capable of doing it. So, going forward, I don't think there's any excuses of, 'Why can't we do it?'"

Last week it was thwarting Aaron Rodgers and the Packers' offense on 4th down to turn the ball over and allow quarterback Jared Goff to take a knee and secure a 15-9 win.

This week, it was sacking Bears quarterback Justin Fields (Julian Okwara) on 4th and 8 with one minute and 12 seconds left in the game to give the offense back the ball to run out the clock.

The defense certainly allowed their fair share of plays Sunday. Chicago had over 400 yards of offense and 258 rushing yards, but Detroit's young defense found a way to make the plays to win the game for a second straight contest. That can give a young unit like theirs a ton of confidence moving forward.


Wide receiver Amon-Ra St, Brown played in his 25th career game Sunday in Chicago and caught 10 balls for 119 yards to pace the Lions' pass game.

The 10 catches for St. Brown give him 139 for his young career and puts him in the top 10 all-time among receivers with catches in their first 25 games.

That list includes names like Odell Beckham Jr., Anquan Boldin, Jarvis Landry and Justin Jefferson.

St. Brown now has 139 catches for 1,430 yards and eight touchdowns in his first 25 games as a professional.

Goff said after the game there was an effort on both his and offensive coordinator Ben Johnson's part to get St. Brown involved early and often Sunday.

"Ben and I both kind of talked about it," Goff said. "I know it was concerted by Ben with the plays he was calling, but I definitely was aware of it and trying to get him involved.

"A lot of these receivers, like quarterbacks, are rhythm players. They can feel the rhythm of the game and if they can get hit and break a tackle and kind of get momentum that way, so we were very conscious of getting our guy involved early and making him feel good."

St. Brown continues to prove game after game that he was one of the biggest steals in last year's NFL Draft as a fourth-round selection.


Trailing 30-24 with just over five and a half minutes left in the game, Goff ran onto the field with the ball at the Lions' 9-yard line and Detroit needing a touchdown.

Asked after the game what goes through his mind in that moment, Goff replied, 'one play at a time.'

After a Jamaal Williams' 11-yard run out to the 20-yard line on first down, the Lions were off to a good start. Goff completed a 20-yard pass to wide receiver Kalif Raymond out to Detroit's 40-yard line a couple plays later and the drive was right on schedule.

But then a 7-yard pass to St. Brown, followed by a 5-yard loss on a run play to D’Andre Swift, put the Lions in a 3rd and 8 at their 42-yard line with just over three minutes left in the game.

Goff said Johnson called a play they'd talked about all week if they got a certain look, and Tom Kennedy, who was playing the slot after St. Brown left the game briefly, ran the perfect route, which resulted in a 44-yard catch and run down to the Chicago 14-yard line.

Williams would punch it in from one yard out two plays later and Michael Badgley's extra point gave the Lions the lead with two minutes and 24 seconds left. The defense did the rest from there, but what a heck of a drive by Goff and the offense. Sunday was a perfect example of a complete team win for Detroit.


Detroit trailed Chicago 24-10 entering the fourth quarter and rallied for a 31-30 win.

It's the first Lions win after trailing by at least 14 points entering the fourth quarter since 1993 vs. the Vikings, a game they trailed 27-13 and won 30-27. That was a span of 98 straight games entering Sunday.

But it's the way the Lions did it that was so impressive. Okudah securing a pick-six to tie the game. Goff leading that eight-play, 91-yard drive. Badgley making a kick when he had to. And the young defense getting a fourth-down stop for the second straight week.

"I was proud of them," head coach Dan Campbell said after the game. "It wasn't the cleanest game, but we did what we had to do there in the fourth. Our defense came up big. Desperately needed a takeaway and got that. And we get points. Jeff makes a heck of a play. Just the stops.

"Then offensively, man, we needed the drive of our life and got it. And then the end of the game just get a first down and seal it. I'm just proud of them. They hung in there and kept fighting."

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