Lions stay in play­off pic­ture

The Standard Journal - - NATIONAL SPORTS - By Larry Lage As­so­ci­ated Press Sports Writer

DETROIT — Matthew Stafford struck a bal­ance be­tween mak­ing plays and avoid­ing mis­takes to keep the Detroit Lions in the play­off pic­ture.

Stafford t hrew t wo touch­down passes and didn’t have a turnover, help­ing Detroit beat the Chicago Bears 20-10 on Satur­day night.

“It’s just try­ing to be as cal­cu­lated as you can with those chances that you’re go­ing to take,” he said. “And, un­der­stand­ing the game sit­u­a­tion.”

Detroit ( 8- 6) has won two straight and needs to close the reg­u­lar sea­son with two more wins to keep its post­sea­son hopes alive.

“We’ve got to win to stay in,” said tight end Eric Ebron, who caught Stafford’s sec­ond TD pass. “If we win, we will hope­fully make it to the playoffs. If not, then we get booted.”

Whether the Bears (410) win an­other game this sea­son or not, they may end up giv­ing coach John Fox the boot.

Chicago has lost six of seven, seal­ing a third sea­son with dou­ble-digit losses in three years un­der its em­bat­tled coach.

Stafford threw a 3-yard touch­down pass to TJ Jones to put Detroit up 13-0 with 6:10 left in the first half af­ter Fox chose to punt on fourth-and-1 from the Chicago 45.

“We were t hink­ing about field po­si­tion,” Fox said. “It’s not a nolose sit­u­a­tion be­cause if we don’t make it, they’ve got the ball at our 45. Like I said, you could go for it, but you have to know that it can come back and bite you.”

Stafford was 25 of 33 for 237 yards and didn’t throw an in­ter­cep­tion for the first time since Week 11. His 8-yard pass to Ebron gave Detroit a 20-3 lead early in the third quar­ter af­ter Dar­ius Slay’s first of two in­ter­cep­tions .

Chicago rookie Mitchell Tru­bisky had sea­son highs in com­ple­tions (31), at­tempts (46), yards pass­ing (314) and in­ter­cep­tions (three) in­clud­ing one to safety Quan­dre Diggs in the end zone early in the fourth quar­ter.

“We have com­plete con­fi­dence in Mitch,” Fox said. “And, we know that he’s go­ing to have bet­ter days.”

Tru­bisky threw a 9-yard TD pass to Benny Cun­ning­ham to make it 20-10 with 2:32 left. Af­ter Fox chose not to try an on­side kick, the Bears got the ball back 25 se­conds later on their 6 and moved the ball to the Detroit 25 be­fore Slay’s sec­ond in­ter­cep­tion ended their come­back hopes.

Go­ing deep

Lions re­ceiver Marin Jones had three catches for 85 yards, in­clud­ing a 58- yard catch in which he raced across the field and leaped in front of safety Ed­die Jack­son to set up the TD pass to TJ Jones.

“When I saw him out of the cor­ner of my eye, I didn’t think he was as close as he was,” Jack­son said. “By the time I jumped, he was on to me al­ready.”

Marvin Jones has sin­gle-sea­son, ca­reer-high 18 catches of 20- plus yards this sea­son.

Rey Del Rio / AP

Detroit Lions quar­ter­back Matthew Stafford (9) throws to tight end Eric Ebron dur­ing Satur­day’s game against the Bears.

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