They sure flirted heavily with 0-6, though.
But in the end, the rediscovery of the deep ball in the Lions' offense -- something that had been missing for most of the season so far -- ended up winning the game for them. Quarterback Matthew Stafford, benched last week, hit Calvin Johnson for a 57-yard pass with almost 12 minutes gone in overtime to set up the field goal that gave the Lions a 37-34 win over the Bears.
And with it, the Lions could rejoice because they wouldn’t have to think about 0-16 again this season. How they ensured they would not be another winless Lions team, though, was almost mind-boggling. They looked good in the first half, much like the team they thought they would be at the season’s start. Then they imploded. Then, almost inexplicably, they looked good again with the potential of 0-6 out there.
Detroit scored twice in the final three minutes of regulation to almost take the game in the typically allotted time. Then the defense failed, letting the Bears drive 69 yards in 17 seconds to eventually tie the game and send it to overtime.
The insanity of it all had the feel of Lions games from last season, where they would stage furious comebacks and winning drives in the final minutes of contests. That’s how they got to 11-5 and a playoff berth in the first season under Jim Caldwell.
It’s how they also ended up making sure there were no winless teams left in the NFL.
What it means: The Lions moved the ball fairly well on offense, potentially solving some of those woes. Prater remains perfect on the season in field goals, and most importantly, the Lions won for the first time this season and for the first time since Week 16 of the 2014 regular season, also against the Chicago Bears.
What were they thinking? TJ Jones muffed a fair catch, resulting in a turnover. Corey Fuller, who was downfield trying to block on a punt with 13:58 in the fourth quarter, touched a bouncing punt, which the Bears recovered. That's two more special-teams errors for Detroit, a big issue area for the Lions this season. Fuller's touch was a terrible decision, though, as players are always taught to move away from the ball on a return if it is bouncing -- specifically for the reason that occurred Sunday.
One reason to get excited: The Lions actually ran the ball with some efficiency Sunday, gaining over 100 yards on the ground for the first time this season.
One reason to panic: Ameer Abdullah had another fumble Sunday, so those issues persist. The Lions, at that point, had only one other running back available because Joique Bell was inactive and Zach Zenner was out with a chest injury. So the Lions had to stick with the rookie or use pass-catching specialist Theo Riddick. But Abdullah, a week after being benched, is still having problems hanging on to the ball. It appears he might have been benched again after the fumble.
Fantasy watch: It might slowly be time to put the Lions' receivers back in your fantasy lineup. Lance Moore had a touchdown for the second straight game -- that seems unlikely to keep up -- but more importantly, Detroit took more downfield chances throughout the game as well, which will boost the stocks of Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate.
Ouch: The Lions were having some personnel issues on offense Sunday. They were down to one tight end, Tim Wright, after Eric Ebron and Brandon Pettigrew were both inactive. In-game, the Lions lost Zenner to a chest injury.
Gutsy fake call: For all of the special-teams errors everywhere, Joe Marciano and Caldwell took a pretty big chance in the fourth quarter, faking a punt by direct snapping it to safety Isa Abdul-Quddus, who ran down the left side for 30 yards to keep the Lions drive alive as they tried to tie the game. The drive stalled, and the Lions settled for a field goal with 2:46 remaining, cutting the Chicago lead to 31-27.
Another officiating/process situation with the Lions: Once again, officiating issues appeared in a Lions game. This time, though, it worked out well for Detroit. The crew, led by Walt Coleman, initially called a pass into the end zone from Stafford to Tate an interception after Tate appeared to catch the ball but not come to the ground with it. It was punched out by Kyle Fuller, batted in the air and then picked off, hence the interception call. The play was overturned and called a touchdown for the Lions, giving Detroit a 21-13 lead. But once again, it was another confusing catch/process situation in a Lions-Bears game. Colleague Kevin Seifert covered it in more detail here.