Detroit Lions score high on toughest test yet
DETROIT – There were no two ways about it.
The Lions were going to be tested Sunday afternoon when the undefeated Chicago Bears came to Ford Field.
The Bears were off to an impressive start, winning their first three games and leading the NFC North.
The Lions entered the contest 2-1. But their wins weren't as impressive, beating two 0-3 teams -- Minnesota and Washington, respectively. Their loss came against 1-2 Arizona.
But Sunday represented a chance for the Lions to do a lot.
They could up their record to 3-1, taking over the division lead. Plus, they would have beaten a division rival and given themselves cushion as their schedule only gets harder as the season goes on. Don't forget that the Lions entered the season with the second-toughest schedule in the NFL.
And in this case, the Lions not only won, but won convincingly. They beat the Bears, 40-32.
The Lions (3-1) are now in first place. Lions fans have the right to say it loud and proud after their team's performance.
"Make no mistake about it," Lions center Dominic Raiola said. "A division game, they're undefeated, they're on top of our division feeling pretty good and we handled business. We're at home. You're supposed to win your home games. But this was a big game."
Running back Reggie Bush was back for the first time in a week following a knee injury and excelled. Bush rushed for 139 yards and just 18 carries and scored a TD.
"I'm not going to lie, I was a little worried because I wasn't sure," Bush said about his knee. "When you're coming off an injury, you just don't know until you take a hit on it, so I wasn't sure how I was going to respond."
The Lions clearly took advantage of the bad Jay Cutler that showed up in Motown, throwing three interceptions.
The Bears' QB also fumbled, which resulted in a Lions TD for Nick Fairley.
"We missed some stuff in the first half," Cutler said. "But three picks and a fumble, it's hard to come back from those mistakes."
In the second quarter is where the Lions took control of the game, scoring three straight touchdowns in just 3:26 seconds and erasing a 10-9 deficit. In all, Detroit scored 27 points in the quarter.
First, QB Matthew Stafford scored on a one-yard TD dive into the end zone. The ball was knocked out of his hands, but he recovered the ball in the air and fell into the end zone. It was 16-10 Lions.
The second score came on a two-yard TD catch by Calvin Johnson, giving the Lions a 23-10 lead.
The third in the Lions' scoring flurry came on a 37-yard run by Bush, upping the Lions advantage to 30-10 lead. The rout was on.
Johnson had just four catches and 44 yards. Normally, the Lions don't win unless Johnson has a big day. Apparently, not anymore.
"We have (No.) 21 over there," said Johnson about Bush. "That dude does special things out there, every week. As long as we can give him good support in the blocking game and we do our thing on the outside, we're going to be all right."
The Lions, who had lost nine of the previous 10 against the Bears, played big defensively. The Bears converted just one of 13 third-down plays.
Plus, Safety Louis Delmas came up with two interceptions. Delmas entered the game with just three picks in his five-year career. "Our secondary feeds off our linebackers and out linebackers feed off out O-line and I think we competed as a unit," Delmas said.
The next test is Green Bay, where the Lions haven't won since 1991. It's currently the longest losing streak of its kind.
Two weeks ago, the Lions won in DC against the Redskins for the first time ever.
"We didn't play our best game yet," Raiola said. "But it's going to be a weekly proving ground for us.
"It's a good feeling today, but we know what we got ahead in Green Bay."
Given their success the last two weeks, Lions can only feel like anything is possible now.
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