|Date of game: 12/21/2014
Recap: Chicago vs. Detroit
Chicago, IL (SportsNetwork.com) - Joique Bell's touchdown run in the fourth quarter gave the Detroit Lions a 20-14 victory over the Chicago Bears on Sunday.
Detroit's win coupled with Green Bay's triumph in Tampa Bay, means the winner of the NFC North will be decided next week as the Lions will travel to Lambeau Field in a winner-take-all Week 17 matchup.
The Lions came into the game having been assured of a playoff spot due to Philadelphia's loss to Washington on Saturday. It is the first time since the 2011 season that the team has made it to the postseason. Green Bay also locked up a playoff spot Sunday.
Matthew Stafford had a rough game as he went just 22-for-39 for 243 yards with a pair of red zone interceptions, while Reggie Bush also had a rushing touchdown for the Lions (11-4), who have won four straight to reach 11 wins for the first time since going 12-4 in 1991.
"I'm more concerned about victories at this time," said Detroit head coach Jim Caldwell. "I don't apologize for any victories and I said we didn't play well in the first half. I'm not concerned about anything other than that. I would have been really concerned if we didn't come back."
Coincidentally, the last time a Lions team won in Green Bay was in 1991, as the team has lost 23 straight in Wisconsin, and it was also the last time the team won a playoff game.
Jimmy Clausen played admirably in the start, as he was under center in favor of a benched Jay Cutler. Clausen finished the game 23-for-39 for 181 yards and a pair of touchdown passes along with an interception for the Bears (5-10), who have lost their past four games.
"I just went out there and competed, that's the biggest thing that I think I did," said Clausen. "I showed that I could compete in this league. But it's not about me or what I do, it's about winning football games and that's what we wanted to do. We just came up a little short."
Detroit began the winning drive at its own 27 and quickly faced a 3rd-and-10. Stafford went deep for Corey Fuller and the pass fell incomplete, but Tim Jennings was flagged for interference to place the ball at the Chicago 17. The next play saw Bell break a few tackles on his way into the end zone for a 17-14 lead with 7:15 to play.
The Bears went three-and-out on their ensuing touch, and the Lions were able to give themselves some insurance with a 30-yard field goal from Matt Prater with 2:35 to play.
Chicago got near midfield after getting the ball back, but a desperation heave down the left sideline by Clausen on 4th-and-10 was picked off by Glover Quin, and Stafford went into the victory formation.
Detroit's second possession saw the team find the end zone to take the lead as Bush ran around the left end and just touched the pylon for a 13-yard score with 5:15 to play in the first. On the previous play facing a 4th-and-6, Bush caught a short screen pass and took it 21 yards to set up the score.
Chicago responded with an impressive drive that saw it convert a fourth down play on an Alshon Jeffery catch. However, the team came away empty as it went for it on 4th-and-goal at the 1 and Clausen's pass into the right corner of the end zone was knocked away by Darius Slay.
The Lions came back with an impressive drive and got into the red zone, but Stafford tossed a floater into the back of the end zone that was picked off by Brock Vereen for his first career pick.
"I made a poor throw and a poor decision and I can't do that," said Stafford. "Especially down there in the scoring zone. We had a few miscues today that made this game closer than it should have been."
A three-and-out from the Bears saw the Lions again drive into the red zone, but Stafford was picked off again, this time by Ryan Mundy.
Chicago got near midfield at the end of the half and were going to go for it on 4th-and-3, but a false start call brought out the punting unit.
However, Jeremy Ross let the ball bounce it front of him and it then hit his arm, with Chicago recovering at the 11.
The next snap saw Clausen toss the ball out to his left with Matt Forte running it in to send the game into halftime tied.
The Lions were able to cover 47 yards on 10 plays to open the second half, and took a 10-7 lead on a 39-yard field goal from Prater 4 1/2 minutes into the third.
Chicago had to punt in Detroit territory on its next touch, but a roughing the kicker call on the punt gave the team a fresh set of downs, and Clausen found Jeffery in the end zone from 20 yards out for a 14-10 lead with 2:45 to play in the third.
Prater had a 37-yard field goal attempt blocked on Detroit's ensuing possession early in the fourth quarter.Game Notes
Chicago, which went just 2-6 at home this season, closes out the season in
Minnesota ... Detroit has won four straight over Chicago ... Bell finished the
game with 74 yards on 13 carries, while Bush had 54 on seven totes ... Forte
totaled 55 yards on 19 carries, and six catches for 40 yards ... Detroit
totaled 367 yards to Chicago's 234 ... Detroit is 4-3 on the road this season
... Calvin Johnson had six catches for 103 yards for the Lions.