Every time the Lions were in a position to win, they never won.
Even when Detroit was a solid team, they were always just bad enough to screw up any post-season hopes. Losing the close games. Getting manhandled on the road. And lo and behold they beat their divisional foes.
Traveling to Chicago this past Sunday, tied with the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears for first place in the NFC North, the Lions had every option to mess up.
So when a Jay Cutler-less Bears were driving with a under two minutes left in the game down by eight points, it had that feeling: just another disappointment in a long disappointing franchise
But on a last-ditch Bears two-point conversion, Nick Fairley rumbled and tumbled his way into the backfield on a Matt Forte run, ending the game in dramatic fashion (it did seem like a bit of a questionable play call on the Bears’ part). The Lions finally got that big win.
On a day that the Philadelphia Eagles beat the Green Bay Packers, the Lions took control of their own fate. Sure, there’s a lot of time left and a lot of football to be played, but with the Packers reeling (and quarterback-less) and the Bears losing a big momentum-shifting game, the Lions are sitting pretty.
Everything seems to be in place. The offense is running on all cylinders, the defense
well the defense is adequate. The Lions finally got that big, road win and with it a lot of momentum. And that’s the kind of momentum you want to have late in the year.
Next week, the Lions travel to Pittsburgh. Though the Steelers aren’t what they used to be, playing at Heinz Field is never easy. If Detroit can muster a win, that’ll be back-to-back road wins — can’t say that the Lions' faithful have been able to say that too often before — and the playoffs will be a realistic goal.
But either way, the Lions proved this past weekend they’re not the old Lions. At 6-3, all they’ll likely need to do is go 5-2 in the remaining seven games — though 4-3 might even do it — to make the playoffs. Those are odds that not even a betting man would’ve thought possible after the Lions abysmal 4-12 finish a year ago.