Loud and proud, Lions stay perfect
Posted: Tuesday, October 11, 2011 7:02 pm
By NOAH TRISTER
AP Sports Writer
DETROIT (AP) — With a raucous crowd helping out every step of the way, Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions made the most of their long-awaited return to Monday night.
Stafford threw two touchdown passes and Jahvid Best added an 88-yard scoring run in Detroit’s 24-13 victory over Chicago. The Bears looked unnerved from the start by the noise level at Ford Field. They committed nine false start penalties and struggled to protect quarterback Jay Cutler.
“Our fans came out and did an unbelievable job. We need that kind of support every week,” Stafford said. “That’s just the potential of this city. We know that they can get behind us like that and come out and really wreck a game for another team.”
The Lions are now 5-0 for the first time since 1956 — the year before their most recent NFL title. This was their first regular-season Monday night game in a decade, and with the nation watching, they showed emphatically this is no longer the sorry franchise that endured a winless season just three years ago.
Instead, Detroit kept pace with NFC North rival Green Bay, the league’s only other undefeated team. The Lions have won nine straight games dating to last season.
“We need to get used to playing games like this,” Detroit coach Jim Schwartz said. “We need to get used to playing prime time games. That’s a big step for this team, that’s a big step for the city.”
Stafford threw a 73-yard touchdown pass to Calvin Johnson in the second quarter, and Best’s touchdown was the second-longest run in franchise history. But more than those two highlights, this game will be remembered for the Bears’ repeated inability to deal with their surroundings.
Chicago’s problems began before the ball was even snapped. The Bears (2-3) were whistled for six false starts in the first half.
When he did drop back to throw, Cutler didn’t have much time. Detroit sacked him three times and came close on several other occasions.
Cutler went 28-of-38 for 249 yards and a touchdown, while Stafford was 19-of-26 for 219 yards with one interception.
Chicago’s Matt Forte ran for 116 yards, but he was upstaged by Best, the second-year running back who rushed for 163 yards, surpassing 100 for the first time in his career.
The Lions trailed 10-7 at halftime before two third-quarter touchdowns.
Published in The Messenger 10.11.11