PHILADELPHIA – Desperate to save a season, Matthew Stafford rallied the Lions in the fourth quarter.
With a chance to cap an unlikely comeback, Jason Hanson finished the job in OT.
Down 10 points in the fourth quarter, Stafford put a miserable start behind him, scrambling into the end zone and completing big-gain passes. Hanson delivered in the clutch just like he has so many times through the seasons, kicking a 45-yard field goal in overtime to lift the Lions to a 26-23 overtime win over the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday.
Playing 20-plus years in the league, you go out there and know it’s more than a just a kick for that game, said Hanson, at 42 the oldest player in the league and in his 21st pro season. We needed it. We needed it bad. We had been close a couple of times this year and hadn’t come through. We needed it for that reason and to get our season on track.
The rally prevented the Lions (2-3) from a 1-4 start a year after opening 5-0 en route to their first playoff appearance since 1999
Stafford ran and threw for a TD in the fourth quarter and Hanson kicked two field goals to accelerate the comeback. Stafford finished with 311 yards passing, one TD and one interception.
These guys in that locker room, they fight. They fight until the end, Stafford said. Whether it’s a game or season, it doesn’t matter.
Down 23-13 after Michael Vick’s 70-yard TD pass to Jeremy Maclin with 5:18 left, the Lions answered.
Detroit had two shots from the Eagles 1, but Stafford misfired on both passes and Hanson kicked a 19-yard field goal.
The Lions then sacked Vick on the first two plays of the extra quarter, forced a punt out of the end zone and started at midfield.
Stafford hit Calvin Johnson for a 17-yard gain to the Eagles 27. A few plays later, Hanson nailed the winner.
That’s scary when you’re out there and you know what it’s for, Hanson said.
The Lions overcame a sluggish first three quarters by Stafford. He threw for only 91 yards in the first half and the Lions didn’t score in the second or third quarters.
That all went out the window in the fourth when Stafford led them on three consecutive scoring drives.
He has confidence in his teammates, defense and himself, coach Jim Schwartz said.
When you have all three of those, you are going to make plays in the game. We’re never out of any game. This was probably our best team victory.
The Eagles (3-3) head into their bye with two straight losses.