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The Early Lead
Posted at 10:17 AM ET, 10/11/2011

Detroit Lions beat Chicago Bears, 24-13, with help from Ford Field faithful


The Lions are making believers out of fans in Detroit and teams around the NFL. (Mike Segar - Reuters)
I’ve heard Ford Field jam-packed and at fever pitch (when Michigan State was trouncing Connecticut at the 2009 NCAA Final Four).

I’ve also heard Ford Field jam-packed and deathly silent (when North Carolina was trouncing Michigan State at the 2009 Final Four).

Inside a dome, noise or a lack thereof can make a tremendous difference. Just ask the Chicago Bears.

Despite taking an early lead, the Bears buckled under the deafening noise from the 67,861 raucous fans — a Ford Field record for a Lions game — on hand for Detroit’s first home “Monday Night Football” game since 2001.

Chicago committed nine (yes, nine) false start penalties as the offensive line tried in vain to keep Detroit’s pass rushers from feasting on Jay Cutler. Matthew Stafford threw a pair of touchdown passes and Jahvid Best broke off an 88-yard scoring run as the Lions outscored the Bears 17-3 in the second half to claim a 24-13 victory and improve to 5-0 for the first time since 1956.

The fans’ efforts didn’t go unnoticed, either.

Nine false start penalties by the Bears last night. Well done, #Lions fans. Need to carry that over next week for San Fran.Tue Oct 11 15:23:07 via web

Detroit is fired up, and rightfully so.

Our fans came out and did an unbelievable job. We need that kind of support every week,” Stafford said. “That’s just the potential of this city. We know that they can get behind us like that and come out and really wreck a game for another team.”

Calvin Johnson (5 rec., 130 yards, TD) may be the best wide receiver in the NFL right now. Matthew Stafford is healthy. Ndamukong Suh and Kyle Vanden Bosch are wreaking havoc on opposing quarterbacks.

It’s safe to say these Lions are no fluke.

It’s also safe to say this year’s Packers-Lions Thanksgiving Day game will be the marquee matchup on the schedule for the first time in a long time — especially if the last two unbeatens can remain perfect between now and then.

Next up for Detroit, another home game against the red-hot San Francisco 49ers (4-1).

The Lions and Niners will meet on Oct. 16 with both teams leading their respective divisions. Who would have predicted that before the season?

Related content:

Lions are making history and winning hearts in Detroit

By  |  10:17 AM ET, 10/11/2011

 
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