2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Stafford, Lions beat rival Bears 40-32

By NOAH TRISTER - AP Sports Writer
    2013-09-30 02:49

DETROIT (AP) - Matthew Stafford entered this season with an ugly mark on his resume: The Detroit quarterback was 1-22 against teams that went on to finish above .500.

So a convincing victory over a previously unbeaten Chicago team was a step in the right direction.

Stafford threw for 242 yards and a touchdown, and he also scored a TD himself to lead the Lions to a 40-32 win over the Bears on Sunday. It's too early to tell if Chicago will finish over .500, of course, but this loss was the first blemish on the Bears' record.

``I've said so much about Matt that I've ran out of good things to say,'' Detroit coach Jim Schwartz said. ``He's our leader. We're never out of a game when he's in the game. He's going to lead this franchise to great things.''

Stafford went 23 of 35, and he caught a bit of a break when he tried a quarterback sneak from a yard out in the second quarter. The ball popped free, but it came right back to him, and Stafford ended up in the end zone for a touchdown.

``I think we felt we were a little bit closer than we actually were,'' Stafford said. ``It was kind of a long one. I was trying to jump over guys. They did a great job knocking it out, but I was able to corral it again and fall in the end zone.''

The Lions (3-1) and Bears (3-1) are now tied atop the NFC North.

Here are five reasons Detroit made such an impressive statement at home:

QUICK STRIKES: When Reggie Bush has been on the field, the Lions have looked awfully dangerous offensively. Bush's 37-yard touchdown run - which included a nifty open-field hurdle of safety Major Wright - was the highlight of a second quarter in which Detroit scored 27 points. Chicago helped with a crucial turnover, but once the Lions started rolling, the game quickly became a rout.

It was the highest-scoring quarter for Detroit since Sept. 30, 2007, according to STATS. The Lions scored 34 points in the fourth quarter of that game - which was also against the Bears.

``I just put it on the practices that we had the last couple weeks. We've been real crisp, real efficient,'' receiver Calvin Johnson said. ``We're not making penalties, making dumb mistakes on offense. We might have a turnover here or there, but we bounce right back from it. Nobody's flustered in the huddle.''

SUH IMPRESSES: Bears quarterback Jay Cutler was intercepted three times, but perhaps the most important turnover was his third-quarter fumble, which was caused by Ndamukong Suh. Nick Fairley returned it 4 yards for a touchdown to put Detroit ahead 37-16.

Suh was terrific Sunday, finishing with two of his team's three sacks. Cutler said most of his mistakes were due to poor execution - not bad decisions. Part of the problem was a Detroit rush that was a factor all day.

``That's something that we strive to do every single play in every single game,'' Suh said. ``Really, it's a lot of credit to our secondary and those guys taking care of business and making them hold the ball, and we got that extra time and made sure we got back there.''

BIG RETURN: Detroit's punt and kickoff returns were for the most part unimpressive Sunday - but sometimes all it takes is one big play to turn the game around.

With the Lions trailing 10-9, Micheal Spurlock returned a punt 57 yards to the Chicago 22-yard line. That gave Detroit a short field, and the Lions eventually scored the first of three quick touchdowns to take control.

SECONDARY IMPRESSES: Louis Delmas was a prime beneficiary of Cutler's mistakes, intercepting two passes, and Detroit was able to overcome the loss of cornerback Rashean Mathis to a first-half concussion.

``I think we took pride in ourselves today,'' Delmas said. ``Our secondary feeds off our linebackers and our linebackers feed off our D-line and I think today we competed as a unit.''

Toward the end, cornerback Chris Houston was also sidelined with a leg injury. That's when the Bears finally rallied to close within eight points.

DURHAM'S CONTRIBUTION: With wide receiver Nate Burleson out with an arm injury, Kris Durham caught three passes for 58 yards. He also recovered an onside kick at the end to seal the victory.

---

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Julius ThomasNov 27 07:52p

Denver Broncos TE Julius Thomas (ankle) was limited during practice Thursday, Nov. 27.

Anthony DavisNov 27 07:23p

The San Francisco 49ers have declared OT Anthony Davis, WR Bruce Ellington, DL Glenn Dorsey, QB Josh X. Johnson, WR Quinton Patton, CB Tramaine Brock, TE Vance McDonald inactive for Week 13.

Arian FosterNov 27 07:12p

Houston Texans RB Arian Foster (groin) was limited during practice Wednesday, Nov. 27.

Allen BradfordNov 27 07:12p

The Seattle Seahawks have declared LB Allen Bradford, TE Cooper Helfet, CB Jeremy Lane, LB Kevin Pierre-Louis, C Max Unger, TE Rashaun Allen, DL Travian Robertson inactive for Week 13.

Jordan CameronNov 27 06:32p

Cleveland Browns TE Jordan Cameron (concussion) was limited during practice Thursday, Nov. 27.

Latavius MurrayNov 27 04:52p

Oakland Raiders RB Latavius Murray (concussion) was limited during practice Thursday, Nov. 27.

Larry FitzgeraldNov 27 04:02p

Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald (knee) did not participate in practice Thursday, Nov. 27.

Tony HillsNov 27 03:22p

The Dallas Cowboys have declared LB Dekoda Watson, OG Donald Hawkins, QB Dustin Vaughan, FS Jeff Heath, DL Joshua Brent, OT Tony Hills, CB Tyler Patmon inactive for Week 13.

Taylor HartNov 27 03:12p

The Philadelphia Eagles have declared OT Dennis Kelly, DB Jaylen Watkins, WR Jeff Maehl, OG Julian Vandervelde, QB Nick Foles, CB Rashad Carmichael, DE Taylor Hart inactive for Week 13.

Jordan ReedNov 27 03:02p

Washington Redskins TE Jordan Reed (hamstring) was limited in practice Thursday, Nov. 27.

Dwayne AllenNov 27 02:32p

Indianapolis Colts TE Dwayne Allen (ankle) did not participate in practice Thursday, Nov. 27.

Kyle FullerNov 27 11:32a

Chicago Bears CB Kyle Fuller (knee) will play in the team's Week 13 game against the Detroit Lions. Fuller had been questionable during the week.

Lance BriggsNov 27 11:22a

The Chicago Bears have declared WR Chris X. Williams, LB Darryl Sharpton, OT Eben Britton, DL Jeremiah Ratliff, LB Lance Briggs, CB Terrance Mitchell, DL Trevor Scott inactive for Week Week 13.

Reggie BushNov 27 11:12a

The Detroit Lions have declared QB Kellen Moore, OG Larry Warford, DE Larry Webster, DL Nick Fairley, RB Reggie Bush, OT Riley Reiff, WR Ryan Broyles inactive for Week 13.

Reggie BushNov 27 11:12a

Detroit Lions RB Reggie Bush (ankle) is inactive Thursday, Nov. 27, for Week 13.

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Jimmy StatenNov 26 09:43p

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Marcus ThigpenNov 26 09:03p

The Buffalo Bills claimed WR Marcus Thigpen off waivers from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Wednesday, Nov. 26. The team also waived DE Bryan Johnson.

Richard GordonNov 26 09:03p

The Tennessee Titans waived TE Richard Gordon Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Larry FitzgeraldNov 26 08:33p

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Dwayne AllenNov 26 07:33p

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C. PattersonNov 26 06:23p

Minnesota Vikings WR Cordarrelle Patterson (knee) did not practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Jerick McKinnonNov 26 06:13p

Minnesota Vikings RB Jerick McKinnon (back) did not practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Brandon LaFellNov 26 06:03p

New England Patriots WR Brandon LaFell (shoulder) was limited during practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Jace AmaroNov 26 05:13p

New York Jets TE Jace Amaro (head) is not expected to play in Week 13, because he is going through the concussion protocol.

Reggie BushNov 26 04:53p

Detroit Lions RB Reggie Bush (ankle, back) was limited in practice for the third straight day Wednesday, Nov. 26, and is questionable for Week 13 against the Chicago Bears.

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