Lions top Bears in OT for first win
DETROIT (AP) Matthew Stafford bounced back from getting benched for the first time and led the Detroit Lions to a desperately needed victory.
Stafford threw four touchdown passes and found Calvin Johnson for a 57-yard play to set up Matt Prater’s 27-yard field goal with 2:29 left in overtime, helping Detroit beat the Chicago Bears 37-34 on Sunday for its first win of the season.
The Lions (1-5) leaned on Stafford’s arm and Johnson’s ability to make big plays.
Stafford was 27 of 42 for season-high 405 yards with four scores to four receivers and an interception. Johnson had six receptions for a season-high 166 yards and scored for the first time this year. It was his 45th career game with at least 100 yards receiving, breaking a fourth-place tie with Hall of Famer Jerry Rice.
The Bears (2-4) had chances for a third straight comeback win.
Both teams had the ball twice in overtime before the Lions scored on their third possession in the extra period.
Chicago’s Robbie Gould kicked a 29-yard field goal as time expired in regulation. The tying score was set up by Darius Slay getting called for interference after Jay Cutler’s 25- and 24-yard passes to Alshon Jeffery.
Stafford threw a go-ahead, 6-yard touchdown pass to a leaping Johnson in the end zone with 21 seconds left in the fourth following consecutive penalties.
Pernell McPhee was called for roughing the passer, hitting Stafford low when he threw an incomplete pass on third-and-12 from the Bears 12. Stafford had backed his team up from the Chicago 2 when he was called for intentional grounding.
Lions coach Jim Caldwell chose to have Prater kick a 32-yard field goal with 2:46 left in regulation instead of going for it on fourth-and-4 from the Bears 13. Caldwell put faith in his defense and it delivered, holding Chicago to a three-and-out possession and getting the ball back at the Detroit 34 with 2:23 and no timeouts left.
Stafford helped Detroit drive for a go-ahead score, but its defense could not close it out in regulation.
The Lions turned the ball over for a second time in the second half on punt returns and Cutler took advantage with an 11-yard touchdown pass to Jeffery. Stafford made an ill-advised and errant pass from his 18 that was picked off by linebacker Jonathan Anderson to set up Matt Forte’s go-ahead, 2-yard TD midway through the fourth quarter. Forte then caught a 2-point conversion to put Chicago up 31-24.
Cutler finished 26 of 41 for a season-high 353 yards with a TD and an interception. He had three of his top targets – Jeffery, Eddie Royal and Martellus Bennett – in the lineup after each of them was listed as questionable because of injuries. Jeffery, who had been out since Week 1 with a hamstring injury, caught eight passes for 147 yards and a score.
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