Lions shut down Bears, stay alive in NFC

Associated Press • Dec 16, 2017 at 9:23 PM

DETROIT — The Detroit Lions did what they needed to do to keep their playoff pulse alive, methodically dominating the Chicago Bears, 20-10, at Ford Field on Saturday.

The Lions (8-6) were the better team on both sides of the ball, doing a particularly impressive job shutting down the Bears (4-10) on the ground. The last time the teams meet, Chicago racked up 222 rushing yards, but were held to 43 in Saturday's loss.

Detroit got points on the game's opening possession, driving 47 yards with the help of an unnecessary roughness penalty against the Bears, which set up a 48-yard Matt Prater field goal.

After trading punts, Prater extended Detroit's first-quarter advantage to six with a 31-yard make.

Behind some impressive running by rookie running Tion Green, the Lions worked their way into the red zone, but quarterback Matthew Stafford missed high on a throw to tight end Eric Ebron in the end zone, leading to Prater's make.

While the Bears continued to spin their wheels on offense, the Lions broke it open with a big-play connection between Stafford and Marvin Jones. Facing 3rd-and-18 after a holding call and blown-up screen pass, Stafford sliced through a pair of pass rushers and rolled out to his right, heaving a prayer to Jones.

With the cornerback camped under the high-arcing throw, Jones got to the spot just as the ball arrived, jumped and outmuscled the defender for the ball for the 58-yard gain. Three plays later, on a designed rollout, Stafford found TJ Jones for a 3-yard touchdown, putting the Lions up 13-0.

Stafford completed 25 of his 33 throws, to eight different receivers, for 237 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.

It appeared that would be the score heading into the half, but running back Theo Riddick fumbled a handoff at the end of the second quarter, allowing the Bears to kick a field goal before the break and cut the lead to 13-3.

The Bears couldn't capitalize on the momentum, quickly coughing the ball up early in the third quarter. Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, rolling from the pocket, overthrew receiver Kendall Wright directly into the arms of cornerback Darius Slay, who managed to tap both feet in bounds for the interception.

After running back Ameer Abdullah made a tackler miss on a short third-down pass to extend the ensuing drive, Stafford found Ebron for an 8-yard touchdown. The throw was high, but the tight end climbed the later to make the grab, making it 20-3 after the PAT.

The Bears threatened to cut into the lead early in the fourth quarter, driving 59 yards down to the Lions 5-yard line, but on third-and-goal, Trubisky was intercepted by safety Quandre Diggs in the end zone.

It was Diggs' second interception in as many weeks.

The Bears finally got into the end zone with 2:32 remaining, driving 92 yards in 13 plays. Trubisky found Benny Cunningham in the flat and the running back made a tackler miss to get into the end zone.

With Chicago driving in the game's closing seconds, Slay sealed the victory with his second interception of the game and league-leading seventh on the season.

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