Win or lose, an ugly, disappointing season was going to end for the Lions on Sunday. They got to end the year by hosting a Chicago Bears team with playoff hopes. A loss, and Detroit would finish a lowly 4-12. A win, and they'd finish a glorious 5-11. Or, at the very least, a slightly better 5-11. The Bears have been struggling after a hot start. Could the Lions end Chicago's season on a sour note?
Detroit struck first, as Jason Hanson kicked a 44-yard field goal. However, on the next drive, Jay Cutler dumped a pass off to Earl Bennett, and then every Lions took a horrible angle and Bennett was able to turn it into a 60-yard touchdown. On the ensuing kickoff, Joique Bell fumbled, and the Bears recovered it. Stefan Logan could do that. The Lions were able to hold Chicago to a field goal from blast from the past Olindo Mare at least.
In the second quarter, Matthew Stafford was stripped, the Bears recovered, and then this time they turned it into a touchdown as Matt Forte ended up with a 1-yard score. On the next drive, Stafford then threw a pick, and the Bears turned that into a field goal. Suddenly, it was 20-3, and it was looking like the Lions were going to end the season with a sound beating. However, late in the second, they managed to get a drive going, and Stafford hit Kris Durham for a 25-yard touchdown to make it 20-10 at the half.
The Lions opened the scoring in the second half with a 10-yard pass from Stafford to Will Heller. This was evidently the first touchdown reception for Heller since 2010. Way to be, Will Heller. Of course, on their next drive, Mikel Leshoure fumbled, and the Bears recovered deep in Detroit territory. Yet again, they were able to hold them to a field goal but that made it 23-17.
In the fourth, the Bears got their lead up to 26-17. Then, the Lions countered with a touchdown pass from Stafford to Brian Robiskie. I'll give these no name receivers credit for Detroit. They stepped up. That left the Lions within two points. They had their chances, but never really threatened again. Late in the game, they couldn't stop the Bears, and Chicago ran out the clock. The Lions lost another close game, this time 26-24. Detroit finishes 4-12. The Bears finished 10-6, but missed the playoffs because the Vikings beat the Packers because Adrian Peterson is amazing.
Another tough loss for the Lions, but after a while they just become losses. Detroit fumbled three times, and lost all three fumbles. Chicago fumbled twice, and they recovered both of them. That is extremely unlucky for the Lions. They ended up giving up 16 points off turnovers. If they just had recovered one of those fumbles, who knows. Of course, the facts are the facts.
Stafford played alright, going 24-for-42 for 272 yards, three touchdowns and a pick. He set the record for most pass attempts in a season. Speaking of record, Calvin Johnson already had the receiving yards record, but he could not eclipse 2,000 yards. He only had five receptions on 14 targets for 72 yards, and he had a couple drops. So, he has to settle for a great reception total that doesn't cross a round number. Ndamukong Suh had a sack.
Let us just leave the 2012 season in the books. It was bad for the Lions. However, I can pretty much guarantee they will have a better record in 2013. They had a ton of injuries. They got really unlucky. One good offseason and better luck and they can be a playoff team. I hope they don't do anything drastic in the front office. They are going to have a top five draft pick. It's really disappointing to not see the Lions build off making the playoffs last year, but I think this season will end up being an anomaly.