With the Lions looking at a six-game winning streak and desperate to get back to .500 to finish the first quarter of the NFL schedule, the Bears seemed like an easy target. They were about as injured as the Lions, Brian Hoyer was starting at quarterback and the run game was missing its two top backs. What could go wrong?
The Lions and Bears traded punts to open the game, but it was the Bears that would end up striking first. With Hoyer in at quarterback, the Bears made several solid completions to Alshon Jeffery and Eddie Royal to march down the field. A ticky-tack pass interference call on Tahir Whitehead gave the Bears first-and-goal, which they would quickly capitalize on as Hoyer rolled out and found Royal near the goal line for the first touchdown on the day.
The Lions struggled to answer, making only one first down in their next two possessions. The Bears started to roll with another short field, but Glove Quinn made a stop on Zach Miller on third down that held Chicago back to kick another punt, although the Lions went three-and-out yet again.
The Bears looked to be charging down the field again, churning out four and a half minutes of time in the second quarter. Within Detroit’s 40-yard line, the Bears suddenly found resistance and opted to go for it on fourth down and short. Hoyer bobbled the snap and A’Shawn Robinson ate up Joique Bell before he could get out of the backfield.
With time winding down for the half, the Lions finally managed to move the ball. Marvin Jones and Anquan Boldin made multiple catches to convert distance. Without Dwayne Washington (who was banged up earlier in the game), the run game was down to Theo Riddick and couldn’t get much going on the ground. However, the receiving game and a couple of neutral zone infractions on the Bears moved the Lions into field goal range, where Matt Prater nailed one from 50 yards out.
The Bears ground out another 100 seconds of play clock as they groaned down the field, the Lions defense finally settling in against them, but not necessarily enough to stop them out of the gate (although Kerry Hyder racked up another sack). The Lions did finally halt Hoyer and brought out new Bears kicker Connor Barth. Barth’s kick sailed wide and the boo’s rang down from Chicago fans, and the boo’s turned into chants of “Robbie,” for recently-released kicker Robbie Gould.
With a chance to answer before the half, the Lions found their gear and Stafford made several completions to move the Lions down the field and set up within Prater’s field goal range. But on one more pass towards the sideline to move the ball closer, Golden Tate got off Stafford’s page and ran the wrong route, letting the Bears pick off Stafford’s pass easily.
Hoyer tried to get the Bears back down for another shot at the end zone, but time expired before he could get a good shot.
The Lions got the ball to start the last 30 minutes and quickly found the gear they had missed in the first half. Stafford worked Ebron and Riddick to convert downs and after ten plays the Lions were set up on the goal line. The Bears defense held tough, and on third down they stuffed Zach Zenner in the backfield before he could get going. The Lions settled on a short Prater field goal to cut the lead to one point.
The Bears answered quickly. On third and 11 to go, Brian Hoyer found Eddie Royal deep, and Royal quickly got downfield before being tackled after 64 yards. Three plays later, Zach Miller caught Hoyer’s pass to give the Bears their second touchdown on the day.
The Lions couldn’t answer and the Bears got the ball back after five plays. Royal and Hoyer continued to punish the Lions defense, and Jordan Howard got rolling on the ground. Two incompletions from Hoyer managed to hold the Bears to a field goal, and the game was still within two scores for the Lions.
GET ‘EM OUT FOR HARAMBE
I just watched a dude in a gorilla costume get bodyslammed by security. Bob Quinn's probably wondering how much it'd take to sign him.— Kyle Meinke (@kmeinke) October 2, 2016
The next Lions possession started with some Jeckyl & Hyde from the best Lions receivers. Jones dropped a surefire pass from Stafford, but then on third-and-long grabbed a second pass to convert. Ebron gave up a block and let Stafford get sacked, but then on the next down caught a pass to make up the distance loss and change. After that, the Bears got hit with two penalties and helped the Lions recover from their own blunders and move down the field. But it would ultimately be the Lions who committed the worst blunder when Stafford, looking for Ebron, threw the ball directly to Bears rookie Deiondre’ Hall. With the rain beginning to fall and only four minutes left, the prospects of a Lions comeback looked about nil.
However, after the last Bears possession before the two minute warning, a punt away saw Andre Roberts shrug defenders and take the ball 85 yards for the touchdown. The Lions quickly converted two points as Stafford found Golden Tate, putting the Lions back within a field goal.
The Lions lined up for the onside kick, and Sam Martin fielded it too short for the legal onside (not that it would have mattered, as the ball squirted through three Lions to find the Bears).
Chicago took a knee, and improved to 1-6 in the last seven games against the Lions.