Detroit Lions storm back to complete improbable comeback over the Bears, keep large NFC North lead

DETROIT (FOX 2) - For the first time in 61 years, the Detroit Lions are 8-2. Read that again. Lions fans aren't dreaming - this is real life and Dan Campbell has the entire locker room, city, and state believing.

Even as Jared Goff was having his worst game in three years, the Lions didn't quit. Through the first three quarters, the Lions looked nothing like the team we've seen most of the year. Against a 3-8 Chicago Bears team that appears destined for a top-5 draft pick next April, the Lions and Goff struggled.

Goff threw three interceptions as the Lions trailed by 12 with 4:15 to go in the game. Suddenly, Goff and the Lions offense turned it on.

After struggling to move the ball all game long, the Lions marched right down the field in a little more than a minute to score a 32-yard touchdown pass from Goff to Jameson Williams to get within five with 2:59 left in the game.

The Bears ensuing drive was a quick 3-and-out with the Lions allowing just one yard, using two timeouts, and only 26 seconds ticked away.

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The Lions got the ball back with 2:44 to go and the ball at the Detroit 27-yard-line. Armed with one timeout and the 2-minute warning, the Lions had to move quickly – and they did, but not because of any chunk yardage plays. In fact, the longest play of the drive was a 13-yard pass to David Montgomery for 13 yards.

From there, Goff connected with Jahmyr Gibbs for six yards, Sam LaPorta for eight, Montgomery got it on back-to-back plays for nine and then ten yards, followed by an Amon-Ra St. Brown catch for eight yards. Suddenly, with 43 seconds left, the Lions were on the Bears' 7-yard line and used their last timeout.

Inside the redzone, Goff scrambled from pressure and threw the ball away on second down. Then, on third down, Gibbs ran it up the gut to the Chicago 1-yard-line with 30 seconds left. The Lions had a fresh set of downs and the Bears, thinking they needed to preserve some time, used their first timeout.

On the next play, Montgomery punched it in against his old team. Detroit then added a 2-point conversion to go up 29-26. Now it was up to the defense.

Justin Fields brought the offense out, looking to drive at least into field goal range. But second-year defense end Aidan Hutchinson was having none of that. He overpowered a lineman on his way to strip Fields of the the ball. Then went through the back of the end zone for a safety and Hutchinson, scrambling to celebrate, picked it up and punted it into the stands.

<div>Detroit Lions defensive end Aidan Hutchinson (97) runs with the ball following a safety during the Detroit Lions versus the Chicago Bears game on Sunday November 19, 2023 at Ford Field in Detroit, MI. (Photo by Steven King/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)</div>
Detroit Lions defensive end Aidan Hutchinson (97) runs with the ball following a safety during the Detroit Lions versus the Chicago Bears game on Sunday November 19, 2023 at Ford Field in Detroit, MI. (Photo by Steven King/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

From there, a Goff kneeldown was all that was needed to end it as the Lions won in improbable fashion 31-26.

We've seen this before. But in the past, Detroit is the one on the losing end of this unlikely ending – just in case you need further proof that these are not the ‘same old Lions’.

Campbell has his locker room believing.

Detroit has its best record through 10 games since 1962, living up to the preseason hype and giving the franchise a shot to win its first division title in three decades.

"We got a chance to do something special," Campbell said.

Goff, despite his struggles for most of the game, came through when it was needed the most.

"Down two scores, that’s when he’s at his best," coach Dan Campbell said. "I think that speaks volumes."

But Goff nearly didn't get a chance. On Chicago's second-to-last possession, Fields overthrew Tyler Scott but just a couple of yards. The ball went through Scotts hands as he dove for an improbable catch. Not only did it keep the door open for a comeback, it also stopped the clock to allow Detroit to keep its last timeout.

"I was very thankful on that long throw at the end," Campbell said.

The win also keeps the Lions with a strong grip on the NFC North and a shot at the number overall seed in the NFC.

NFC North

  1. Lions: 8-2

  2. Vikings: 6-5

  3. Packers: 4-6

  4. Bears: 3-8

The Vikings are the only team with a reach chance of taking over the North and the Lions still have to play them on Christmas Eve in Minnesota, then a trip to Dallas, followed by a season-ender in Detroit against the Vikings again.

NFC Playoff Picture

The Lions and Detroit fans are all about to be big Andy Reid, Patrick Mahomes, and Travis Kelce fans – if only for a day. The Philadelphia Eagles (8-1) currently hold the top seed but play on Monday Night Football against the Kansas City Chiefs in a Super Bowl rematch.

If the Eagles lose, the Lions move into a tie for first place in the NFC. The top seed gets a playoff bye and home field advantage throughout January.

How to watch the Lions vs. Packers

The Lions get just a couple of days off before the traditional Thanksgiving matchup. This year, the Lions will welcome Green Bay at Ford Field. The Packers (4-6) are in 3rd place in the North as the Lions and are looking for redemption after the Lions won 34-20 in Green Bay in September.

You can watch the Packers vs. Lions on Thursday on FOX 2. Coverage starts with Gameday Live from Ford Field at 9 a.m. We're streaming pre-game coverage on and on the FOX LOCAL app on your smart TV.

As much as we want to stream the game – believe us, we would if we could! – we can't. You have to watch live on TV or on the FOX Sports app with a TV provider login.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.