DETROIT (AP) — Matthew Stafford ran for a go-ahead, 7-yard touchdown with 3:17 left after throwing two interceptions in the fourth quarter, one that was returned for a score on the previous possession, and the Detroit Lions held on for a 20-17 win over the Chicago Bears on Sunday.
Matt Barkley completed two passes that put the Bears in a position to at least attempt a tying field goal in the final minute, but both were negated by penalties, before turning the ball over on downs from the Detroit 44.
The NFC North-leading Lions (9-4) have won five straight and eight of nine, moving them a step closer to winning a division title for the first time in 23 years.
Chicago (3-10) has lost four of five.
Barkley , in the first road start of his career, perfectly led Cameron Meredith on a 31-yard TD to pull the Bears within three late in the third quarter.
Stafford, who put a white glove on his right hand during the game for an undisclosed reason, was picked off twice after he threw only one interception the previous eight games. Demontre Hurst intercepted Stafford’s pass in Chicago’s end zone after it ricocheted off teammate Bryce Callahan and receiver Golden Tate early in the fourth quarter. Cre’Von LeBlanc returned an interception 24 yards midway through the fourth to put Chicago up 17-13.
Detroit has matched its longest winning streak since starting 5-0 in 2011, and its best nine-game stretch since winning eight of the last nine games in 1995. The Lions have given up 20 or fewer points in seven straight games in one season for the first time since 1961.
Stafford threw a tiebreaking, 16-yard TD pass to Anquan Boldin with 19 seconds left in the first half. It was the 1,063 reception of Boldin’s career, moving him past Andre Johnson for 10th place on the NFL’s all-time list. The 14-year veteran has helped Detroit overcome the retirement of star receiver Calvin Johnson.
Bears: Receivers Eddie Royal (toe) and Marquess Wilson (groin) were inactive due to injuries and defensive lineman Eddie Goldman injured an ankle during the game.
Lions: Running back Theo Riddick was inactive with a wrist injury and was replaced in the starting lineup by rookie Dwayne Washington, who had season highs with 16 carries and 64 yards rushing. Linebacker DeAndre Levy was active for the first time since Week 1, returning from a knee injury. Defensive end Ezekiel Ansah left the game in the second quarter with an injured right shoulder, but returned to play in the second half.