ALLEN PARK, Mich. - The Lions most important drive of the season came last week when Matthew Stafford engineered a 16-play; 80-yard march that ended with a 1-yard touchdown slant throw to Titus Young with 22-seconds remaining giving the Lions a 28-24 win.
It was Stafford's ninth fourth quarter/overtime comeback win of his career and re-affirms the belief in Detroit that he has "it."
I asked him this week, "What is the "it" factor and how do you get it?"
He smiled and shrugged his shoulders, saying "I don't know, but I love playing in those situations."
I guess so.
He's the first quarterback since the 1970 merger to throw four game winning touchdown passes with less than a minute to play in his first 36 starts. He's done it twice this year (St. Louis). And now this team has a chance to do something most doubted when the season started the way it did.
Many lost faith; they jumped off the band wagon when the Lions stumbled and bumbled their way through a three game slide at San Francisco, Tennessee and then home to Minnesota. Now, with a chance to regain the faith of many, they have two winnable road games before coming home and settling down for a three game Ford Field stand.
Coaches and players talk of one week at a time and it's appropriate here because as bad as Jacksonville is (name one player on their defense? Heck, name a player other than Maurice Jones Drew), they can still be a threat. Jags head coach Mike Mularkey told me this week he likes that his team keeps playing hard and that it isn't far from winning on a consistent basis. Remember, the margin of winners and losers in the NFL is so slim.
The Jaguars hung with the Packers in Green Bay last week despite playing without three of their four starters in the defensive backfield, holding Aaron Rodgers to just 186-yards. The good news for the Lions, besides the way they played against Seattle, is that Jacksonville has been a lot better on the road than at home. They have been spanked by Houston (20pts), scratched by Cincinnati (17pts) and mauled by Chicago (38pts) at EverBank Field, yet on the road they have a win at Indy, two overtime losses and the nine point setback at Lambeau.
The Lions hope the trend continues, but they know they'll have to earn it. It helps to have a rare talent at the quarterback spot, who has earned the belief and trust of everyone in the locker room and who is starting to get more fans back in his corner as well.