Stafford-led Lions beat Bears 20-10, stay in playoff picture
DETROIT (AP) Matthew Stafford struck a balance between making plays and avoiding mistakes to keep the Detroit Lions in the playoff picture.
Stafford threw two touchdown passes and didn’t have a turnover, helping Detroit beat the Chicago Bears 20-10 on Saturday night.
”It’s just trying to be as calculated as you can with those chances that you’re going to take,” he said. ”And, understanding the game situation.”
Detroit (8-6) has won two straight and needs to close the regular season with two more wins to keep its postseason hopes alive.
”We’ve got to win to stay in,” said tight end Eric Ebron, who caught Stafford’s second TD pass. ”If we win, we will hopefully make it to the playoffs. If not, then we get booted.”
Whether the Bears (4-10) win another game this season or not, they may end up giving coach John Fox the boot.
Chicago has lost six of seven, sealing a third season with double-digit losses in three years under its embattled coach.
Stafford threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to TJ Jones to put Detroit up 13-0 with 6:10 left in the first half after Fox chose to punt on fourth-and-1 from the Chicago 45.
”We were thinking about field position,” Fox said. ”It’s not a no-lose situation because if we don’t make it, they’ve got the ball at our 45. Like I said, you could go for it, but you have to know that it can come back and bite you.”
Stafford was 25 of 33 for 237 yards and didn’t throw an interception for the first time since Week 11. His 8-yard pass to Ebron gave Detroit a 20-3 lead early in the third quarter after Darius Slay’s first of two interceptions .
Chicago rookie Mitchell Trubisky had season highs in completions (31), attempts (46), yards passing (314) and interceptions (three) including one to safety Quandre Diggs in the end zone early in the fourth quarter.
”We have complete confidence in Mitch,” Fox said. ”And, we know that he’s going to have better days.”
Trubisky threw a 9-yard TD pass to Benny Cunningham to make it 20-10 with 2:32 left. After Fox chose not to try an onside kick, the Bears got the ball back 25 seconds later on their 6 and moved the ball to the Detroit 25 before Slay’s second interception ended their comeback hopes.
Lions receiver Marin Jones had three catches for 85 yards, including a 58-yard catch in which he raced across the field and leaped in front of safety Eddie Jackson to set up the TD pass to TJ Jones.
”When I saw him out of the corner of my eye, I didn’t think he was as close as he was,” Jackson said. ”By the time I jumped, he was on to me already.”
Marvin Jones has single-season, career-high 18 catches of 20-plus yards this season.
The Bears ran for just 43 yards on 15 carries after having a season-high 232 yards rushing in last week’s 33-7 win at Cincinnati, forcing them to throw a lot with Trubisky.
DANCING IN DETROIT
When TJ Jones scored, he and some teammates celebrated with a Rockettes-like kick line . Detroit’s Golden Tate got turned around after making a catch later in the game, and kept spinning with his hands over his head as if he was a ballerina.
”I didn’t practice it,” Tate said. ”Never even thought about it. It seemed like it was just a moment to do something crazy.”
Bears: S Chris Prosinski, who started in place of injured starter Adrian Amos, and OT Tom Compton went into concussion protocol. LB Pernell McPhee left the game with a shoulder injury, an ailment that kept him out of the previous game. OT Josh Sitton had an ankle injury.
Lions: OG T.J. Lang left the game with a foot injury, which limited him in practice and led to him being listed as questionable to play. Lang left a line that began the game without two injured starters: center Travis Swanson and right tackle Rick Wagner. TJ Jones hurt his shoulder while covering a punt.
Bears: Host Cleveland on Sunday, Dec. 24.
Lions: At Cincinnati on Sunday, Dec. 24.
For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP-NFL
Follow Larry Lage at www.twitter.com/larrylage