Detroit Lions get gift, Beat Eagles and stop losing - for now

Detroit Lions get gift, Beat Eagles and stop losing - for now
Posted at 3:52 PM, Oct 10, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-10 17:37:45-04

Merry Christmas, Detroit. The Lions' season-saving win - at least for the moment - was a gift from the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday afternoon.

The Lions were well on their way to losing their fourth in a row and throwing another season into total ruin when the Eagles fell apart with two turnovers on back-to-back plays.

It allowed the Lions to cash in with a 29-yard Matt Prater field goal, giving the Lions a much-needed 24-23 victory at Ford Field.

The Lions are now 2-4 and ended their three-game losing streak. The Eagles (3-1) were undefeated coming into the game.

And while you never pooh-pooh winning, the Lions looked totally out of it in the second half. In fact, before Eagles' running back Ryan Mathews fumbled to set up the Lions' game-winning field goal, the Lions had 19 total yards in the second half.

That's right, 19 total yards. It's not a typo. Nonetheless, the Lions - who only scored those three points in the second half - got a win. And at this point, it's all that matters.

"It's a huge step because it shows resilience," Lions' LB Tahir Whitehead said after the game. "It shows that we're able to just keeping fighting."

That's what many wanted to see coming in. Were the Lions going to roll over and die after their terrible start to the season?

Honestly, it was the only way to look at them, especially coming off that embarrassing 17-14 loss in Chicago to the lowly Bears, who entered the game winless.

For sure, many were saying S.O.L. Yep, Same Old Lions. After all, the Lions started the 2015 season with a 1-7 record.

Add to the mix Eagles' rookie QB sensation Carson Wentz, who had taken the league by storm and entered the game without an interception.

For sure, the Lions had their work cut out for themselves, especially with a defensive unit still without DE Ziggy Ansah and LB DeAndre Levy.

But the Lions got a lift from QB Matthew Stafford, who had a huge bounce back game. He was bad in Chicago with two picks. The Lions were also unable to score an offensive TD against and injury-depleted Bears team.
Here, Stafford led the Lions to three straight touchdowns on their first three possessions to start on the game against a good Eagles' defense.

"We really don't pay too much attention, honestly, to the record of the people we're playing," said Stafford, who threw for 180 yards with three TDs, no interceptions and one fumble. "We just watch them on film, study and try to figure out how we're going to beat them and go out there and beat them.

"We hadn't done that the last couple of weeks and needed a win at home. It's a big one, but at the same time we've got to stack these and just keep playing well."

In a stretch of three straight home games, the Lions probably need to win two of three to save the season - and coach Jim Caldwell's job, at least for now.

Like the Eagles, the Rams and Washington are better than most thought before the season. One thing was sure in this game, the Lions couldn't have another sad-like performance like last Sunday in Chicago, especially against a good team and good young quarterback.

Lions' CB Darius Slay was impressed with Wentz until the end of the game. When the ball came his way with about a minute to go, Slay thought he was dreaming.

"I was surprised he even threw that," Slay said. "I was in great position, so I'm like, "OK.' But then I looked in the air and I said, "oh, the ball is coming for real. He's really throwing this. Oh well, it's time for his first career pick."

And Slay made the interception to seal the victory for the Lions.

Sure, it doesn't mean the Lions won't still have the bad season most NFL experts predicted - 5 or 6 wins and no playoffs - but for at least another week, the Lions can feel like they still have something to play for.

"It's a big win," Slay said. "It's the start of one of our home games, we've got two more in a row. Just come back in here and just try to build our team up." Even if the foundation was gift-wrapped.