DETROIT – Sunday's heart-pounding seesaw game at Ford Field featured amazing comebacks by both teams and more drama than an entire season of "Homeland."
But the four-hour marathon between longtime NFC North rivals all basically boiled down to the Lions making one more play than the Bears.
The difference came late in overtime when Detroit star receiver Calvin Johnson leaped high over Bears rookie safety Jonathan Anderson to haul in a 57-yard pass from Matthew Stafford at the Chicago 6, setting up Matt Prater's game-winning 27-yard field goal.
The short kick gave the Lions a 37-34 victory, snapping the Bears' two-game winning streak and sending them into their bye week with a 2-4 record.
The Bears seemed to win and lose the game on multiple occasions. They rallied from a 21-13 halftime deficit to take a 31-24 lead by converting three takeaways—two muffed punt recoveries and an interception—into two touchdowns and a field goal.
Kyle Long's 2-yard TD run and subsequent two-point conversion catch from Jay Cutler put the Bears ahead 31-24 with 7:50 left in the fourth quarter.
But the Lions answered, drawing to within 31-27 on Prater's 32-yard field goal with 2:46 to go. The Detroit crowd booed the decision to kick on fourth-and-three from the Chicago 13. It worked out, however, as the Lions forced the Bears to punt after a three-and-out.
Stafford capped a 5-play, 66-yard drive with a 6-yard TD pass to Johnson that gave Detroit a 34-31 lead with :21 to play. Stafford threw an incomplete pass on third-and-goal from the 12, but a roughing-the-passer penalty on Pernell McPhee gave the Lions a first down.
"I can't leave that in the referee's hands," McPhee said. "I've got to finish that play. I've got to make my move faster and finish that play."
With the Bears taking over at their own 20 with :21 remaining, Cutler completed passes to Jeffery of 25 and 24 yards to the Detroit 31. Marquess Wilson then drew a pass interference penalty against cornerback Darius Slay at the 11 with :04 left.
Robbie Gould followed by drilling a 29-yard field goal, his fourth of the game and 15th of the season without a miss, as the Bears tied the score 34-34 on the final play of regulation.
"Jay did a good job, our offensive coaches and the play-calling did a good job," Fox said. "We went a pretty good distance in a short amount of time and it gave us an opportunity to try and win the game in overtime."
Both teams punted twice in overtime before Johnson set up Prater's game-winning field goal, which came with 2:29 left in the extra session.
Until their final two touchdowns, the Bears struggled in the red zone, producing one TD on five trips inside the Detroit 20. The other four possessions ended in three field goals and a Cutler interception on a fade route to Jeffery in the left corner of the end zone.
"We've got to do better in the red zone," Cutler said. "We've got to be more efficient, got to get touchdowns instead of three. I've got to play better down there."
Jeffery accepted the blame for the interception, saying: "That was my fault. It had nothing to do with his throw. I just couldn't see it; it was in the lights."
Cutler completed 26 of 41 passes for 353 yards with one TD, one interception and an 88.8 passer rating. Jeffery excelled in his return to action, catching eight passes for 147 yards and one TD after missing the last four games with a hamstring injury.
But the Bears struggled on the ground against the NFL's lowest-ranked run defense, as Forte was held to 69 yards on 24 carries, a 2.9-yard average.
On the other side of the ball, the Bears couldn't contain Stafford or Johnson. One week after getting benched in an ugly loss to the Cardinals, the Lions quarterback completed 27 of 42 passes for 405 yards with four TDs, one interception and a 117.7 passer rating.
In catching six passes for 166 yards and one TD, Johnson scored the go-ahead touchdown with :21 left in the fourth quarter and set up Prater's game-winning field goal.
The loss left the Bears lamenting what might have been.
"The game was basically given to us and we had a lot of opportunities to win that game," Forte said. "We had some breakdowns in a lot of areas across the board, so it's just frustrating and I'm [ticked] off about it. I don't even want to go to the bye week. I just want to focus on the next team, truly."