For those who have been following the Detroit Lions' charmed journey through their 2023 season, what they witnessed Sunday at Ford Field was an example of what the Lions are and what they might become.
The bottom line on the scoreboard told only the score: Lions 31, Chicago Bears 26.
What it didn't tell was how that score was achieved and what it said about the Lions and what they are made of that allows them to make comebacks like Sunday.
This week's Monday Countdown looks at how the Lions made their comeback in the last 2:59 after digging a deep hole with their own misplays.
There is also a look at how wide receiver Jameson Williams took another step to solidify himself as a key member of the offense and how teammates regard him.
There are takeaways on offense, defense and special teams, what's trending and the bottom line.
We start with what the Lions have shown us—again. And what it can mean.
1. Comeback: The Lions looked out of it – emotionally and physically – when the Bears boosted their lead to 26-14 with 4:20 left. They'd beaten the Chargers, 41-38, with a last-play field goal the previous week, and maybe that had taken away some of their juice.
We got an answer to that quickly. Quarterback Jared Goff's 32-yard TD pass to Williams made it 26-21 with 3:06 left.
It was game on, all juices flowing.
The defense got the ball back to the offense with a three and out, and the offense went right to work.
It almost looked easy. 11 plays and 73 yards later, running back David Montgomery had scored on a one-yard run, giving the Lions a 29-26 lead – with a two-point conversion added on – with 31 seconds left.
A safety on Chicago's first play ended the scoring.
2. Faith: As linebacker and team captain Alex Anzalone stood on the sideline watching that drive, he had one thought: Get the ball back to the offense with time on the clock, and Goff and his pals would go to work, which they did.
"Just get a stop, get the ball back to the offense that's really it," Anzalone said.
3. Winners: It was not a perfect game by the Lions by any means. Until the end, the Bears controlled the game. They had a 71-59 advantage in plays run.
But stats don't win games. Winners win games.
The Lions have been built to win. Their wins the last two games – on the road vs. the Chargers, and Sunday afternoon at Ford Field over the Bears have shown that.
4. Takeaways, offense:
- Hanging in there: Give Goff credit for not throwing in the towel after suffering three interceptions. He directed drives of 75 and 73 yards that won the game.
- On the run: Montgomery did not have a heavy workload – until the final possession that ended in the go-ahead TD. He had 12 carries for 76 yards and carried the load in the winning drive.
- Double duty: Rookie running back Jahmyr Gibbs had another productive game – eight carries for 36 yards, and six catches on six targets for 59 yards.
5. Takeaways, defense:
- Pressure play: It was not one of the defense's better performances, but they came through at the turning point. After Williams' TD catch the Lions needed a three-and-out on the Bears' possession. The Lions had forced only one previously – early in the second quarter – but they got one that gave the offense time to drive to the go-ahead TD.
- Carrying the load: Anzalone led the Lions with 15 tackles – 11 solos and four assists. He also pitched in a fumble recovery on a very busy day.
- Up front: The defensive line produced the Lions two sacks – one by Alim McNeill, and the other by Aidan Hutchinson that resulted in a safety that clinched the win for the Lions.
6. Takeaway, special teams:
- A relatively quiet game: Punter Jack Fox punted only twice. He averaged 48.5 yards with no returns.
7. What's trending:
- Up: Williams. He looks better every week. His TD catch started the winning rally.
- Down: The Bears controlled the game for most of the second half – until the Lions made their comeback.
- Even: The Lions' offense nearly always gives them a chance.
8. Bottom line: The Lions were 8-2 in their last 10 games in 2022, and they're 8-2 in the first 10 games of 2023. That's balance.