The Detroit Lions might have saved their season by overcoming a late 10-point deficit against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday afternoon. Things looked bleak for Detroit through much of the game, but quarterback Matthew Stafford led the Lions to 17 points in the last 10 minutes of regulation to force overtime, throwing for a score and running for another. In the extra period, kicker Jason Hanson booted a 45-yard field goal to give the Lions a 26-23 win.
Here are three reasons they were able to pull out the victory:
1) Calvin Johnson is the ultimate mismatch.
After being held in check for the first three quarters, Johnson finished strong, catching five passes for 107 yards in the fourth quarter and overtime. His ability to make plays on the outside is well-known, but he has also developed into a dangerous weapon in the slot. His combination of size, strength and explosiveness is impossible for one defensive back to handle for an entire game.
2) Stafford has unshakeable confidence.
Stafford struggled with his accuracy and decision-making for the first three quarters, but he never lost his aggressiveness. One of his best attributes is his unrelenting confidence. Despite Stafford's early struggles, he didn't settle for easy throws. He found a great rhythm in the fourth quarter and overtime.
3) The defensive line couldn't be blocked.
The Lions have several marquee players on their defensive line, and all of them stepped up to help secure this victory. They took over the game by sacking Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick on back-to-back plays in overtime. Cliff Avril dropped Vick on first down, and then Kyle Vanden Bosch and Nick Fairley sandwiched Vick on second down. After starting their overtime possession on their own 25-yard line, the Eagles were forced to punt from their 4-yard line. That change in field position helped set up Hanson's game-winning field goal.
Follow Daniel Jeremiah on Twitter @MoveTheSticks.