Stafford throws 3 TDs, Lions rally to beat Bears 34-30
CHICAGO (AP) — Darrell Bevell had a hard time processing everything from his first game as an NFL coach.
He watched as the Detroit Lions wiped out a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter, recovered a strip-sack in the closing minutes to set up the go-ahead touchdown, and squeezed out a 34-30 victory over the Chicago Bears.
“My emotions right now, I can’t even think straight,” Bevell said. “I’m just trying to wrap my head around this whole thing on what just happened.”
So were the Bears.
Adrian Peterson scored from the 5 after Romeo Okwara strip-sacked Mitchell Trubisky with about two minutes left, capping the comeback. Matthew Stafford threw for 402 yards and three touchdowns, and the Lions (5-7) came away with a wild win following a major shakeup after a Thanksgiving loss to Houston. They fired general manager Bob Quinn and coach Matt Patricia while elevating Bevell, their offensive coordinator, to interim coach.
“It was a crazy, amazing week,” Bevell said. “I just couldn’t be happier with how they did today.”
Detroit trailed 30-20 early in the fourth period after Trubisky threw an 11-yard touchdown to Cole Kmet on a bootleg. Chicago’s Bilal Nichols then intercepted a short, sidearmed pass intended for Jesse James.
But the Lions turned things around down the stretch, sending the Bears (5-7) to their sixth straight loss.
Detroit cut it to 30-27 with 2:18 left on Stafford’s 25-yard pass to Marvin Jones Jr. Then, the Bears had a third down at their 17 when Okwara stripped Trubisky. John Penisini recovered and the Lions took over at the Chicago 7.
Peterson ran it in two plays later for his second touchdown of the game. The Lions came out on top after losing four of five, and Stafford gave Bevell the game ball.
“Guys were having a blast,” Stafford said. “Obviously, it was a crazy one, down to the wire. Defense made some huge plays late in the game. We were able to put enough points on the board, come away with the win. Happy for (Bevell). Happy for our team. Just excited to get a win and thought it was fitting;he needed to get that game ball. It’s his first game as a head coach, and to get a win is huge.”
Stafford completed 27 of 42 passes, and the Lions snapped a five-game losing streak to Chicago. The 12-year veteran has 3,278 yards, the ninth time he has surpassed the 3,000 mark. He has 31 fourth-quarter comebacks, the most in the NFL since 2009. His 38 winning drives during that span rank second in the league.
Jones had eight catches for 116 yards and a touchdown. Quintez Cephus caught a 49-yard touchdown pass. And Peterson ran for 57 yards.
The Bears are on their worst skid since eight in a row in 2002. And the latest loss figures to fuel more speculation about coach Matt Nagy’s future. He lit into his team following a blowout at Green Bay last week, then watched a 10-point lead disappear in the final moments.
“Is this right now a difficult time?” Nagy said. “You’re damn right it is. It really is. It’s hard. It challenges you in a lot of different ways. It’s hard, but this is also why we’re in the position that we’re in, is to let these guys see the authenticity of your belief and trust in them. I think think the easy way out is for people in different positions like myself as a head coach to just chalk it up and say this wasn’t our year, but that will never happen to me and our guys. They feed off of that and that’s all we can do.”
Trubisky was 26 of 34 for 267 yards and a touchdown. The 2017 second overall draft pick played turnover-free ball until Okwara knocked the ball out of his hands after giving it away three times against the Packers in his first start since Week 3.
“I think I was in shock a little bit,” Trubisky said. “I thought we were pretty much in control the whole game. … I was just in shock because I felt like we were going to win that one.”
David Montgomery ran for 72 yards and two touchdowns. He had a 13-yard TD in the first quarter and a 4-yarder in the final minute of the half to make it 23-13.
Cordarrelle Patterson ran for 59 yards and a touchdown. He also returned the game’s opening kickoff 45 yards, leading to a field goal. Allen Robinson caught six passes for 75 yards.
“I guess since coach Patricia got fired, Bevell (said) just let loose and have fun, you keep being yourself.” — Lions linebacker Reggie Ragland.
Lions: RT Tyrell Crosby (ankle), CB Mike Ford (back) and S C.J. Moore (ankle) were hurt. Moore was injured blocking on a third-quarter punt return. ... WR Kenny Golladay (hip) missed his fifth straight game.
Bears: TE J.P. Holtz hurt his shoulder.
Lions: host Green Bay on Dec. 13.
Bears: host Houston on Dec. 13.
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