For the second week in a row, the mantra for the Detroit Lions remained: Survive and advance.
It wasn’t supposed to be this way against the Chicago Bears, though. The Browns were supposed to be a wakeup call, an example of what not to let happen again. But sure enough, the Lions once again found themselves down 10-0 early, needed a defensive touchdown to get their team jump started, and only then did they come away with the win in the fourth quarter.
Lions-Bears Song of the Game: “Survival of the Fittest” by Mobb Deep
“There’s a war goin’ on outside no man is safe from
You could run, but you can’t hide forever”
When it comes to understanding what this Lions defense has been able to do well, it’s been difficult to put a finger on it because of all the turnovers they’ve forced. Is that sustainable? For the most part this season it has been, and the Lions have the most non-offensive touchdowns in the NFL with seven.
But what’s also been a mystery is whether or not the Lions can stop teams from running the football. After all, this defense limited one of the best running backs in football, Le’Veon Bell, to just 76 yards on 25 carries. Over the past couple of games, that enigma has been solved. Chicago ran the football for 222 yards on just 30 carries, something they probably should have done even more because the Lions just had no answer along its front-seven.
While the Bears certainly could run the ball all over Detroit, they couldn’t hide Mitchell Trubisky forever, and by turning to him to throw the football, things soured for the Bears offense in the second half. But no man is safe in the NFC North, and the Lions are fully entrenched in a war for supremacy atop the division.
“We livin’ this ‘til the day that we die
Survival of the fit, only the strong survive”
And maybe the Lions are fit to survive. Maybe these past two weeks have been clunkers on defense due to the absence of Ezekiel Ansah and all that he brings to defending the run by setting the edge.
Detroit has been surviving for over a year and half now dating back to 2016’s season full of come-from-behind victories. As much as this victory over the Bears meant for the Lions’ season, it was impossible not to look ahead at this Thursday’s matchup with the Vikings. A 6-4 record for the Lions puts them just outside the playoff picture looking in, and Thursday’s outcome will decide the path Detroit must take in order to make their second straight playoff appearance.
It doesn’t have to be pretty. Detroit needs to simply survive and advance. Whether or not it’s an offensive explosion like Matthew Stafford and the Lions’ offense orchestrated at the end of the the first half against Chicago, or Matt Prater nailing perhaps his biggest kick in a Lions uniform, they need only survive.
“Tryin’ to bag me and get rocked steady
By the MAC one-double, I touch you
And leave you with not much to go home with”
But let’s not forget, of course, the Lions went into Soldier Field and made history by beating the Bears and winning all of their road games within the division.
(Click here for the entire 2017 season playlist if you don’t see it above)
Note: Week 3’s choice of “Sober” by Tool has been replaced by “Popcorn” by Hot Butter because Tool is not currently available on the platform and “Popcorn” is hilarious.