For the second week in a row, the Lions were once again playing for their playoff lives while their opponent had significantly less on the line.
After missing the week prior with a neck injury, and seemingly being benched, Ameer Abdullah was back on the field for Detroit against Chicago... but not where we’re accustomed to seeing him. Abdullah was back deep to return the opening kickoff and was noticeably absent from the field on offense for the team’s first drive, which meant Theo Riddick was once again the team’s starting running back.
Detroit was aided by a 15-yard personal foul penalty to open up their first possession, and was able to work the ball into field goal range for Matt Prater to kick true a 48-yard field goal, giving the Lions an early 3-0 lead.
Chicago’s first two possessions on offense would offer little in terms of production, as Jarrad Davis and the Lions defense played stout against the run to start the game. Quandre Diggs, who is looking to have a serious future at the safety position, made two critical plays to end the Bears’ first two drives, the first of which was this huge hit on Kendall Wright:
Diggs pic.twitter.com/wye8wziH3n— Detroit Videos (@DetroitVideos) December 16, 2017
Diggs would go on to record a sack on the next Bears’ possession and force Chicago to punt for the second time in as many possessions. Detroit would takeover from their own 38-yard line after a nice 12-yard return from the returning return man, Jamal Agnew.
The Lions would put together quite the possession this time, going 49 yards on 11 plays, running the ball effectively and efficiently with Tion Green—four carries for 20 yards on the drive. The possession would stall out deep into Bears’ territory, and the Lions would settle for another Prater field goal from 31 yards out to give themselves a 6-0 lead.
Detroit’s defense would show up once again, this time led by the play of the other safety, Glover Quin. On second-and-10, Quin blew up a play in the backfield, tackling Bears’ running back Tarik Cohen three yards behind the line of scrimmage, and then tackling Benny Cunningham before the line-to-gain.
The Lions next drive, explained in captioned gifs, and brought to you by the Jones’s:
MATTHEW STAFFORD.— NFL (@NFL) December 16, 2017
INCREDIBLE. #CHIvsDET #OnePride pic.twitter.com/UYnR5vAymO
Just as they drew it up on third-and-18, Stafford connected with Marvin Jones Jr. in a big, big way. Stafford would then connect with TJ Jones, who made a nice grab for Detroit’s first touchdown of the day:
Matthew Stafford rolls right and hits @IamTJ_Jones for a @Lions TOUCHDOWN! #OnePride #CHIvsDET pic.twitter.com/ANLPUQao0a— NFL (@NFL) December 16, 2017
That score put the Lions into a dancing mood ahead of the holidays:
How was it, Boogie? @KeeganMKey #NFLCelebrations #OnePride pic.twitter.com/J9alpfRw9g— Detroit Lions (@Lions) December 16, 2017
Chicago would once again need to bring on the punt team for the fourth time in as many possessions, but a Theo Riddick fumble would set up the Bears in good field position with just 10 seconds left in the half. Chicago would cash in on the miscue with a Mike Nugent 41-yard field goal to bring the Bears within two scores at the half.
The Bears would start the second half with the football, but that didn’t last long as Mitchell Trubisky would be initiated by Darius Slay in the rookie quarterback’s first trip to Ford Field:
.@_bigplayslay23!— NFL (@NFL) December 16, 2017
The @Lions start off the second half with a PICK. #OnePride #CHIvsDET
: @NFLNetwork pic.twitter.com/9Ynt3QOUEs
The interception was Slay’s sixth pick of the season, and the Lions’ offense would waste little time capitalizing on the Trubisky blunder. Detroit worked their way to the Chicago 8-yard line, and after two incompletions on first and second down to Abdullah and Marvin Jones respectively, Stafford threw a pass Aaron Donald could never high-point and catch:
Go up and get it, @Ebron85! #OnePride #CHIvsDET— NFL (@NFL) December 16, 2017
: @nflnetwork pic.twitter.com/rquxeejUga
That was the third touchdown reception of the year for Eric Ebron, and the tight end put together yet another impressive performance, catching five passes for 33 yards and the score.
Chicago would benefit from a shanked punt by the punt mortal Sam Martin, and would take over near midfield after the 24-yard punt. Trubisky and the Bears’ offense would work their way deep into Lions’ territory and set up with a third-and-goal from the Lions 5-yard line. Trubisky dropped back to pass and tried to force a ball into the end zone, but Diggs continued his day of big plays, picking off the Bears quarterback in the back of the end zone:
.@qdiggs6 with the clutch end zone interception! #OnePride #CHIvsDET— NFL (@NFL) December 16, 2017
: @nflnetwork pic.twitter.com/DCxYuTOJTE
The Lions offense would get moving after the interception, taking the ball onto the Bears’ side of the field. Golden Tate would snatch Kyle Fuller’s soul from out of his body on this play here, but breakdowns in protection cost Detroit a chance to extend their lead as Stafford was sacked on both second and third down, setting up a fourth-and-29 from the Bears’ 49-yard line.
Trubisky would connect with Cunningham for a late touchdown before the two-minute warning, bringing the Bears within 10 points and keeping them in the game, and Detroit would nearly gift the Bears a touchdown on the next possession until Jeff Triplette and his crew remembered that forward passes are, indeed, not fumbles.
And on the Bears’ final possession, as Trubisky attempted to bring the Bears within a score, Big Play Slay would notch his second interception of the day—his seventh of the season—sealing the victory and the season series sweep of the Bears.
How did I get through this entire recap without reminding everyone of the truest hashtag that ever hashtagged?
December 16, 2017