Video: the game winning touchdown (seriously, sorry about the screeching)
A Game for the Ages: Lions vs Bears
By Alexis Mercer
We invited ourselves to the game, really. It was supposed to be a Father’s Day game where my father-in-law took my husband and brother-in-law while his childhood friend Jack Manciu took his son. But as all well-intentioned plans go, that didn’t exactly work out.
So earlier this week I got on Stubhub and bought three additional tickets to the Lions and Bears game at Ford Field so that I could go and we would bring our boys. Mike, my father-in-law, Adam, my husband, Jack and his wife Sue would come with us.
Of the seven of us, two are Bears fans. Diehard Bears fans.
The rest of us? Lifelong Lions fans.
I remember sitting around a miniature television with my cousins at my Great Aunt Grace’s house on Thanksgiving Day watching Barry Sanders destroy defenses single-handedly with lateral movements like I still haven’t seen to this day. And that is the last time we even had a glimmer of hope.
Yet I still believed.
I’m not even that old (my oldest son read this as I was typing and used the phrase “that’s cap” in reference to this sentence, so I guess there’s that…). Some Lions fans were around in 1962: the last time Detroit went 8-2 to start a season. The last NFL Championship games they won were between 1953-1957. That would be prior to the Super Bowl Era. It’s been a long haul.
The Bears have fared much better in the Super Bowl Era, having appeared in two Super Bowls, and winning one but not since 1985. Their last playoff appearance was in 2020.
We all sported our gear, got in our bus RV, and headed for the game. Having paid more than a monthly mortgage payment for the tickets I was hoping to be entertained.
Boy was I ever.
It was not Jared Goff’s day. Nor did the defense seem to be particularly on fire. The first quarter, despite an incredibly loud crowd trying our hardest to interfere with Chicago’s ability to complete 3rd down conversions, the Lions were down 0-7.
Adam and Jack were high fiving each other. No one else was interested in looking at them.
Second quarter came around and things started looking up. We found our way into the endzone twice, once right before the half, which left the Lions fans happy and relieved. Goff might be throwing interceptions, but we were still finding a way.
The third quarter? Maybe Dan Campbell told his team the odd quarters wouldn’t count. Because we certainly didn’t look like we were playing in either one of them. With no points to show for the home team, and 10 additional points for the visitors, some of the fans were getting restless.
In particular, the “fan” in front of me, who apparently missed the phone call to join in on the Lions coaching staff with all he knew about what they were doing wrong. When he got up to leave in the 4th quarter with 6 minutes left, I actually stood and cheered for his departure (of course with a “go defense” excuse…but I knew).
The faithful fans stayed, even if it was bleak. If we were going to pay that much for a ticket, we at least could see it through until the end.
Plus Adam and Jack were in their glory. Fields was back, running the ball like a track star, and their defense was shoving everything down our throats. What wasn’t to love for them.
The interceptions went away. In their place came perfectly thrown balls to the outside routes, allowing the Lions to keep their timeouts and march down the field. With 3:06 left on the clock, Goff launched a beauty deep in the corner of the endzone (right in front of us) to Williams and the place exploded.
Could it be?
Defense found their groove. Three and out.
With every single person in the stadium on their feet, the place was hushed for the home offense. In fact, one Bears fan down our row screamed 'Go Defense' and I was quite sure he was going to get pummeled by the rest of the Honolulu Blue around him.
Montgomery waltzed his way into the endzone for the touchdown and the place shook. Add in the successful 2 point conversion to LaPorta and it was indescribable how loud the place was.
With 29 seconds left to ruin the comeback of the century (can I say that? It’s not proven…but seriously…had to be in contention), we were on our toes.
Hutchinson knocked the ball out of Fields’s hand, their lineman kicked it out the endzone for a safety, and it was over. Bears fans wept. Lions fans wept, too, but out of pure bliss.
We Lions fans might not see a Super Bowl this year, but after witnessing the team in person today, seeing them refuse to give up, to play with genuine grit until the last seconds ticked off the clock? That was enough to keep me going another 42 years as a true Lions fan.
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