NOTEBOOK: Clutch fourth-quarter drive 'vintage Matthew Stafford'

A couple weeks ago Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford passed Hall of Famer Joe Montana in career touchdown passes. Sunday in Chicago, Stafford tied another Hall of Famer, John Elway, with his 31st fourth quarter come-from-behind victory, tying Elway for the seventh most all-time.

Stafford orchestrated a 96-yard scoring drive late in the game to pull within 30-27 of Chicago, and when defensive end Romeo Okwara stripped the ball from Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky inside the Chicago 10-yard line with less than two minutes remaining, Stafford and the offense had a shot to take the lead. Running back Adrian Peterson would pound it in from five yards out two plays later, and the defense hung on late to give Stafford and the Lions a 34-30 comeback win.

Stafford threw for 402 yards and three touchdowns, becoming just the seventh player in NFL history with at least 10 games of 400-plus passing yards.

The 96-yard scoring drive came on the heels of a fourth-quarter interception and a three-and-out possession that looked like it was going to spell the end for any comeback hopes for the Lions.

"We were moving on the drive when the guy picked it," Stafford said of Bears defensive lineman Bilal Nichols' fourth-quarter interception. "I felt like I was in a good rhythm all day even after the pick and the drive we went three and out. I still felt like I was in a good rhythm, so I was excited to go out there and have a chance to be aggressive again and go see what I could do."

Stafford hit tight end T.J. Hockenson for 14 yards, wide receiver Danny Amendola for 22, Amendola again for 17, Hockenson for 13 more, and then found wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr. in the end zone from 25 yards out to cap the 96-yard drive.

"That was vintage Matthew Stafford right there," interim head coach Darrell Bevell said after the game of the drive. "We kind of let him play today and he just responded in a big way."


The Lions lost right tackle Tyrell Crosby to an ankle injury in the first quarter and had to rely on swing tackle Matt Nelson for most of the game. The same Nelson the Lions converted from defensive lineman to offensive tackle last season.

"Matt Nelson had to come in and block Khalil Mack all day," Stafford said. "Guy was playing defensive line two years ago. Pretty impressive what he was able to do today."

In fact, Mack didn't record a single play Sunday in the postgame stat book. No tackles, assisted tackles or sacks. Nothing.

Nelson and the rest of the guys upfront for Detroit played really well Sunday against a very good Chicago front seven. It's one of the big reasons the Lions came out on top.


  • Sunday marked the first time in the illustrious career of Peterson that he has rushed for multiple touchdowns in back-to-back games. Peterson had a pair of touchdown runs on Thanksgiving against Houston.
  • Jones led the Lions with eight catches for 116 yards and a touchdown. He passed Cloyce Box (32) for the sixth most receiving touchdowns in franchise history.
  • Kerryon Johnson suffered a knee injury in the second half Sunday and did not return.

Related Content