Skip to main content

Matthew Stafford credits interim coach Darrell Bevell's 'infectious' energy after comeback win

Darrell Bevell's first game as interim head coach of the Detroit Lions was a wild rollercoaster ride.

The Lions got down 9-0 early to Chicago, trailed 23-13 at halftime and lagged 30-20 in the fourth quarter. That's when the furious comeback began.

Matthew Stafford led a 96-yard TD drive to close the gap to three. Detroit then forced a Mitchell Trubisky fumble, converting that into another touchdown. In about 40 seconds of game-time, the Lions went from down 10 to up four points.

The rollercoaster didn't stop there. No, there was more gut-wrenching for Bevell and crew in store.

The Bears drove into scoring range in the final seconds, sitting with a fourth-and-1 at the Detroit 20. On a day when Chicago running back David Montgomery consistently plowed through Lions defenders, picking up the yard to give the Bears another shot to win seemed foregone. Except on this play, Detroit stuffed the back.

Ballgame. Lions win, 34-30.

"My emotions right now, I can't even think straight," Bevell said after his first W, via ESPN. "I'm just trying to wrap my head around this whole thing, what just happened. Like I said, it was a great job by these guys of believing from the moment we started until the end.

"My mentality was that. If I'm going to lead these guys, I got to have the same belief. I believe in these guys. I believe in what we're trying to do and it goes to them. Those guys believe in themselves as well and I think it showed with how they reacted in those situations and how they played [Sunday] ."

With the cloud of the Matt Patricia-era lifted, it was clear Lions players were willing to fight for Bevell.

Given the circumstances of being down double-digits for much of the contest, Detroit players could have mailed it in. No one would have noticed. Fewer would have cared.

A four-win team losing a road game with an interim coach wouldn't warrant so much as a glance.

Instead, the Lions battled back.

Stafford credited the environment Bevell created in his brief time as coach.

"I think his energy is infectious and guys feed off it and I really appreciate him as a person and just happy that he helped us get the win today," the QB said. "Guys went out there and played fast and free and it wasn't perfect, you know, there's plays we want back, but never quit, never really looked at the scoreboard. Just keep playing and let it all kind of figure itself out and it did."

The Lions won for the first time when trailing by double-digits since Nov. 19, 2017, the year before Patricia took over.

Detroit's furious comeback offered a reminder of the pre-Patricia days when Jim Caldwell's Lions would often get down big and fight back with some ridiculous Stafford drives.

It's much too early in the process to suggest Bevell should be considered a leader to keep the job. But one thing is certain: It's a much looser Lions team with Patricia gone.

Related Content