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Stafford, Lions earn eighth comeback victory of 2016

Every Detroit Lions fan might suffer a heart attack before the 2016 season ends. Matthew Stafford's rushing touchdown with 3:17 remaining provided the Lions (9-4) an eighth four-quarter comeback win of the season, most in NFL history since at least 1950, with a 20-17 victory over the Chicago Bears (3-10). Here is what we learned:

  1. Vic Fangio's defense certainly has Matthew Stafford's number this season. The Lions quarterback threw an interception in the red zone and a pick-six on the next possession, putting Detroit in a fourth-quarter hole for the 12th time in 13 games. In two contests versus the Bears, Stafford has thrown four interceptions with just one passing TD. Against all other opponents, he has 21 TDs to just 3 INTs. The Bears' defense pestered Stafford all day, sacking the quarterback three times. After getting hit early, Stafford wore a glove on his throwing hand, which appeared to take a little zip off his passes early in the game. Credit Stafford for making plays down the stretch, as he has all season. The MVP candidate's scramble for the game-winning touchdown epitomized the Lions' season: It wasn't pretty but got the job done.
  1. Matt Barkley deserved better Sunday. The Bears' quarterback displayed poise in the pocket and accuracy across the middle and down the sideline. Barkley doesn't own a big arm but makes up for it with pinpoint passing, smart reads and an occasional dart. His stats don't jump off the page (20 of 32 for 212 yards, TD) but Barkley efficiently moves the Bears offense and doesn't make mistakes. On the final drive of the game, Barkley zipped back-to-back beautiful strikes that would have put the Bears in a position to at least tie the game. Instead, two holding penalties put the quarterback in a no-win situation. Chicago killed itself with penalties all game (11 for 139 yards), especially defensive pass interference calls.
  1. The Lions signing Anquan Boldin this offseason continues to fly under the radar as one of the biggest additions to any team in playoff position. The 36-year-old receiver has made huge plays on third down all year. Sunday he again made game-changing catches. Boldin caught a pivotal touchdown pass to put Detroit up prior to halftime. He then added a 23-yard catch-and-run to set up Stafford's game-winning score. On Sunday, Boldin passed Andre Johnson for 10th all-time in career receptions, with 1,064 catches.
  1. Bears rookie running back Jordan Howard continued his impressive streak, earning a sixth-straight game with 99-plus scrimmage yards. Howard finished with 13 carries for 86 yards and 24 receiving yards on two catches. Howard powered the Bears' offense, ripping off runs of 28 yards and 31 yards on Chicago's two offensive scoring drives. The season might be lost, but Chicago found its next stud running back.
  1. The fifth-straight victory was huge for Detroit, which keeps a two-game lead in the NFC North over the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers. Detroit heads on the road for two big tilts at the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys before finishing up with a home match against the Packers.

The loss officially knocks the Bears from the playoffs. Unofficially, the Bears were eliminated from playoff contention in October.

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