Originally written on Fox Sports Detroit  |  Last updated 10/24/14
89819002
The Detroit Lions quite possibly saved their season Sunday with a fourth-quarter rally and a 26-23 overtime victory over the Philadelphia Eagles. For more than three quarters, the Lions looked down and out and headed to their fourth straight loss and a 1-4 start. Quarterback Matthew Stafford was playing like anything but the face of a franchise, misfiring on passes and unable to sustain drives with any third-down conversions. The Lions were sloppy and undisciplined, leading to 16 penalties, the most by any team in the NFL this season. But the teams much-maligned defense, bolstered by the return of safety Louis Delmas, kept them close enough until Stafford, Calvin Johnson and offense finally came to life. Jason Hanson kicked a 19-yard field goal to tie the score with three seconds remaining in regulation and then added a 45-yarder to win it in the overtime. This teams resilient, Lions coach Jim Schwartz said during a post-game radio interview. We had to battle through some stuff. We didnt play our best, but we played together. This was probably our best game playing together as a team. Defense gave up a play, offense came back and got it back. Offense needed a stop, the defense kept getting them. And special teams ended up winning the game. The Lions defensive line has been criticized and called overrated for its failure to live up to expectations, but it was a different story in this one at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. The front four was constantly harassing Philadelphia quarterback Michael Vick. Two sacks totaling 21 yards in overtime turned the field position in the Lions favor and set up the winning field goal. Both of Detroits two victories this season have come when Stafford woke up in the final quarter from a mediocre performance. Tight end Tony Scheffler, who hadnt been producing much early in the season, came through with some big plays during the comeback. And then there was Johnson, who made a spectacular catch along the sideline that put the Lions in field-goal range late in regulation. The play was initially ruled incomplete, but it got reversed by video replay, which showed that Johnson was able to drag his toes inbounds. Hes got toes that are a foot long, Schwartz said I know hes going to be able to get it down. Stafford completed only 6 of 18 in the first half for 91 yards and one interception. His quarterback rating at the half was a ridiculously low 27.8. It didnt get much better in the third quarter when the Lions went three-and-out on both possessions. Something, however, seems to change for Stafford and the Lions in the fourth quarter. The Lions had two field goals and no touchdowns through first three quarters. They then scored 17 points in the final 11 minutes. Detroit has scored more points in the fourth quarter of its five games (73) than in the first three quarters combined (50). Go figure. Theyre a tough defense, Schwartz said of the Eagles, who led 16-6 with 13:39 remaining and 23-13 with 5:18 to go. Theyre top-10 in just about everything. Theyre a really good third-down team. Thats a tough front four. We were going to have to battle and earn everything. He (Stafford) stuck with it. He never got down. Stafford led the Lions back from a fourth-quarter deficit in their opening game against St. Louis, throwing the winning touchdown pass to Kevin Smith with 10 seconds left. That set a franchise-record for Stafford with his third game-winning TD pass in the final minute of a game. This time, the Lions settled for field goals to finish off the comeback, but it was just as special and even more meaningful. Another loss might have put them in a hole too deep to realistically make a playoff run. Now theyve got a chance. Their confidence has soared and theyre back in contention with a 2-3 record heading into next weeks Monday Night match-up at Chicago. EXTRA POINTS Delmas, making his first appearance of the season after undergoing knee surgery in early August, had one of the Lions two interceptions. Believe it or not, they were the teams first two picks of the season. Hanson made all four field-goal attempts and is 16-of-17 for the season. Theyre only five games in, but the Lions have already gone to overtime twice. They lost the first one at Tennessee. For the fourth straight game, Stafford and company failed to score a first-half touchdown. Smith, who opened the season as the starting running back, continues to get phased out. He was inactive despite being healthy. Joique Bell has emerged as the No. 2 running back behind Mikel Leshoure. Smith, who doesnt play on special teams, has become the odd-man out.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Memorabilia dealer at center of Todd Gurley scandal fired

Colt McCoy on learning he was starting ‘it’s about f—ing time’

Four Questions for Game 3 of the World Series

Percy Harvin not planning on changing

Ricky Williams: People are let down when I turn down weed

Joe Maddon opts out of contract with Rays

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Randall Cobb: Contract situation played role in slow start

Notre Dame WR faces discipline if he hooked up with porn star?

PGA president calls Ian Poulter ‘lil girl’ for Nick Faldo comments

Belichick declines to address Revis' reported tardiness

Texas mayor delays Halloween for Friday night football game

C-USA hired PR firm to help Marshall’s playoff chances

WATCH: American flag rips during Game 3 national anthem

WATCH: Tony Parker draws foul by simply yelling 'hey'

Video: Tom Izzo takes the stage with KISS on Midnight Madness

Eight NFL records that won’t be broken for a long time

Big trouble for Bruins: Chara out 4-6 weeks, possibly more

Blazers, Seahawks owner Paul Allen gives $100M to fight ebola

'FIFA 15' glitch turns goalie into headless giant with no arms

WATCH: HBO releases trailer of 'The Offseason: Kevin Durant'

Broncos corner snags INT, then takes pregnant wife to hospital

Gurley dressed up as a pirate for Halloween, yelled, 'Free me'

What the return of Luis Suarez means for Barcelona

Nick Saban pens touching letter after high school coach dies

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Trouble for Bruins: Chara out 4-6 weeks

Joe Maddon opts out of contract with Rays

NBA Replay Center debuts next week

World Series win = Giants dynasty?

Reliving the worst college football game of the last 10 years

NFL teams facing must-win scenarios in Week 8

What the return of Luis Suarez means for Barcelona

Programs with a lot on the line this week

Wilson denies rumored Harvin rift

Lakers: Steve Nash out for season

Is Mack Brown SMU's best option?

Are sports leagues finally getting serious about domestic violence?

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.