Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff bounced back from three interceptions to lead his team on a late fourth quarter rally past Chicago

Los Angeles (AFP) - Jared Goff overcame a shaky start to spark a late rally as the Detroit Lions overturned a double-digit deficit to defeat the Chicago Bears in early NFL action on Sunday.

Lions quarterback Goff tossed three interceptions to help the Bears take a commanding 26-14 lead with just over four minutes left in the fourth quarter at Detroit’s Ford Field.

But the NFC North leading-Lions roared back in the closing minutes to rattle off 17 unanswered points, clinching a 31-26 victory that sees them improve to 8-2.

Goff sparked the rally with a bullet 32-yard touchdown pass to Jameson Williams to cut the deficit to 26-21 with 2min 59sec remaining.

The Lions defense then stepped up to force a punt, and from there Goff marched Detroit back up field to allow David Montgomery to rumble over from one yard out to give his team one-point lead.

A successful two-point conversion put the Lions three clear at 29-26, leaving Chicago less than 30 seconds to get into position for a possible game-tying field goal.

That proved beyond them, however, as Detroit defensive end Aidan Hutchinson strip sacked Bears quarterback Justin Fields to concede a safety.

Goff threw for 236 passing yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions.

- ‘Dumb mistakes’ -

“I gotta be at my best for my team when it matters,” Goff said afterwards. “Made some dumb mistakes early on and had to figure out a way to overcome them. Today I was able to do it.”

Lions coach Dan Campbell praised Goff’s mental resilience.

“It speaks volumes that at the end of the game, down two scores, he’s at his best – in a game where he’s not been at his best,” Campbell said.

“Here’s what we know about Goff: at the very least he’s going to be mentally tough, and physically tough. You can always bank on that, and today he showed up.”

In other early games on Sunday, the Dallas Cowboys maintained their pursuit of the NFC East-leading Philadelphia Eagles with a 33-10 rout of the hapless Carolina Panthers (1-9).

Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott finished with two touchdowns and no interceptions with 189 yards as Dallas improved to 7-3. The Cowboys remain second in the NFC East behind Philadelphia (8-1), who face the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday.

In Cleveland, the Browns shrugged off the absence of injured quarterback Deshaun Watson to claim a crucial 13-10 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

A tense battle between the AFC North divisional rivals was settled with a last-gasp Dustin Hopkins field goal from 34 yards with two seconds remaining.

The win allowed Cleveland to move one game clear of Pittsburgh. The Browns stand at 7-3, with the Steelers falling to 6-4.

In Houston, rookie quarterback sensation C.J. Stroud had a mixed day but still did enough to help the Texans to a 21-16 win over the Arizona Cardinals.

Stroud threw two touchdowns and finished with 336 passing yards, but was also intercepted three times and sacked on three occasions en route to the win.

In Miami, the Dolphins edged to a nervy 20-13 win over the Las Vegas Raiders, but were given a scare when star receiver Tyreek Hill left the game with a hand injury in the second quarter.

Hill, who had earlier scorched to a blistering 38-yard touchdown, later played down the injury as “nothing serious.”