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NOTEBOOK: Okudah comes up big with first pick six

CHICAGO – Cornerback Jeff Okudah looked as happy as could be Sunday skipping around Soldier Field after the clock hit three zeros and the Lions came away with a 31-30 win over the Chicago Bears.

It was Detroit's first road win in the Dan Campbell era, and their first win after facing a fourth-quarter deficit since 1993.

Okudah, the No. 3 pick back in 2020, who has dealt with injuries and criticism his first two seasons, made arguably the biggest play of the game by intercepting Bears quarterback Justin Fields and returning the ball 20 yards for a touchdown to tie the game at 24-24 after the Lions had trailed 24-10 in the fourth quarter.

"It was honestly a crazy moment," Okudah said after the game. "It was a play where on the sideline we were saying, 'We have to get a turnover. You guys have to be the guys to change the course of this game.'

"So, I take a lot of pride in making a play for our defense."

Okudah has been making plays all season for the Lions. Finally healthy, he's played like a No. 3 overall pick.

It's been a remarkable comeback for Okudah, who suffered a season-ending Achilles injury Week 1 of last season.

"I'm so proud of him, man," Lions quarterback Jared Goff said of Okudah after the game. "Seeing him work this offseason. Seeing him just keep his head down, spend the extra time, do all that.

"Now for him to see that kind of come to fruition a little bit, he's playing really good ball and made a huge impact play for us today. I feel proud of the way he's handled it. I'm sure he's dealt with his fair share of criticism over the years being a top pick and he's playing like (a top pick)."

Okudah's pick-six was the 3,000th touchdown in Lions history. It also marks Detroit's first interception returned for a touchdown since the 2018 season, and the first pick-six of Okudah's NFL career.

He's playing some really good ball this season.


Winning in the NFL often takes some of the breaks bouncing your way, and that was certainly the case for the Lions Sunday in Chicago. The Bears were flagged nine times for 86 yards, while the Lions were whistled twice for just 15 yards. A couple of those calls on Chicago were critical, thwarting big offensive gains, or in one instance negating a Chicago interception that resulted in a D’Andre Swift 9-yard touchdown on the very next play.

A Detroit fumble in the second half slipped right through a Bears defender's grasp and right back into Detroit's possession. Lucky break.

Chicago missed an extra point that proved to be the difference in the game.

"Teams that continually win get breaks," Goff said. "Things go their way a little bit. That happened today for us on both sides of the ball."


Linebacker Julian Okwara recorded three tackles (two solo), 2.0 sacks, two quarterback hits and two tackles for loss in the win. His sacks marked his first two of the season and upped his career total to 7.0.

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