Even with both teams seemingly sleepwalking, the Detroit Lions stayed alive in the playoff race Saturday at Ford Field.
The Lions are 8-6 after back-to-back victories and are just 0.5 games out of the final wild-card spot in the NFC.
Chris Burke of The Athletic provided an interesting note on the Lions' recent success:
Chris Burke @ChrisBurkeNFL
If the Lions hold on here, it will be the first time since 1999-2000 that they'll finish .500 or better in back-to-back years.2017-12-16 23:54:46
Chicago fell to 4-10 during its rebuilding year, and Bears fans are likely keeping an eye on the draft order each week.
Stafford was in complete control in this one, finishing 25-of-33 for 237 yards and a 115.3 rating. He came through with big throws near the end zone to help put away the Bears:
Matthew Stafford rolls right and hits @IamTJ_Jones for a @Lions TOUCHDOWN! #OnePride #CHIvsDET https://t.co/ANLPUQao0a2017-12-16 22:33:45
Go up and get it, @Ebron85! #OnePride #CHIvsDET 📺: @nflnetwork https://t.co/rquxeejUga2017-12-16 23:24:27
Seven different Lions finished with at least three catches each as the quarterback spread the ball around all day.
Meanwhile, the defense more than did its job to limit the Bears to just 10 points, seven of which came in the closing minutes. The unit forced three turnovers and recorded two sacks in a game that wasn't as close as the final score indicated.
The Lions dominated the first half despite only leading 13-3. The home team outgained its opponent 225 yards to 90, earning 12 first downs compared to five for Chicago.
A large chunk of the production came on this big catch by Marvin Jones on a 3rd-and-long:
MATTHEW STAFFORD. MARVIN JONES. INCREDIBLE. #CHIvsDET #OnePride https://t.co/UYnR5vAymO2017-12-16 22:27:19
Los Angeles Chargers receiver Keenan Allen and ESPN's Jorge Sedano were big fans of the play:
Keenan Allen @Keenan13Allen
😳😱boy boy boy https://t.co/qc00fZs5fB2017-12-16 22:44:47
Jorge Sedano @SedanoESPN
Marvin Jones is arguably the best in the game this season at making the spectacular catch2017-12-16 22:25:07
Detroit finished that drive with a touchdown but otherwise only managed field goals in the first half. A Theo Riddick fumble just before halftime then led to a Bears field goal and their first points.
Chicago made the mistakes in the second half, though, hurting its chances of a comeback.
Mitchell Trubisky threw three interceptions after halftime, ruining an otherwise solid showing that included a career-high 314 passing yards and a touchdown.
ESPN Stats and Info broke down one key difference between him and Stafford late in the game:
ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo
Third Down Passing Matthew Stafford: 8-9, 118 yards, 2-0 TD-INT Mitchell Trubisky: 3-7, 46 yards, 0-1 TD-INT2017-12-16 23:52:11
While the rookie showed bright flashes, he will need to display more consistency to become an impact player.
Chicago had chance at a comeback after it cut a 17-point deficit to 10 with a Benny Cunningham receiving touchdown and Mike Nugent extra point. However, Darius Slay's second interception of the day helped seal the win with 34 seconds to play.
The Bears have a winnable game next week at home against the Browns, although Cleveland might smell an opportunity for its first win of the year. Detroit will go on the road in Week 16 to take on the Cincinnati Bengals before returning home for a season-ending matchup against the Green Bay Packers.