The Detroit Lions hung around the Chicago Bears all game, but two late mistakes cost them the entire game. Matthew Stafford’s two fourth-quarter interceptions gave the Bears the lead then sealed the game. Here’s how it happened.
The Detroit Lions lost the toss, meaning they’d be up first with the ball. However, they wouldn’t hold it for long. The Lions gained 2, 4 and 2 yards on three plays, coming up just short on a third-and-4. But they would quickly get the ball back as Bears quarterback Chase Daniel went 1-for-3 on the opening drive, giving the ball back after a three-and-out of their own.
The Lions were able to string together a couple of first downs on the next drive, but refusing to throw the ball deep downfield caught up with them. LeGarrette Blount could run the ball, and the Bears successfully limited the Lions’ YAC, forcing the third punt of the day.
The Bears would almost exactly mirror the Lions, gaining a couple first downs before a Damon Harrison/Romeo Okwara sack set the Bears behind the sticks and they punted back. The PUNT WAR was on!
After another quick three-and-out possession, the Bears were right on track to punt back to Detroit, but Glover Quin hit a sliding Chase Daniel in the head, giving the Bears 15 free yards.
The first big play of the game happened on the first play of the second quarter, and it was thanks to Lions cornerback DeShawn Shead, who punched the ball out of Trey Burton’s hand.
Jarrad Davis scooped up the fumble and put the Lions in good field position at the Bears’ 40-yard line.
A good 7-yard pickup by Zach Zenner and a 15-yard catch from TJ Jones got the Lions into the red zone. However, after a Blount run came up a half-yard short, the Lions faced a fourth-and-inches. Detroit opted to go for it, and Nick Bellore bailed out a busted play by making a diving catch on a tipped ball.
Two plays later, the Lions scored a touchdown an impressive 4-yard run from LeGarrette Blount, who had his initial progress stopped, but regained his footing and scored.
The Bears would respond. Facing a third-and-13 Daniel connected with Allen Robinson on a big 29-yard gain, putting the Bears in field goal position. Two plays later, Daniel failed to connect with Tarik Cohen on what would’ve been a touchdown, and the Bears had to settle for a field goal. 7-3 Lions.
The Lions would counter with their third three-and-out of the game, giving the Bears one last chance to put up points before the half, and they would convert. Daniel worked his way down the field quickly as he consistently found open receivers. Eventually, Daniel for Taquan Mizzell for a 10-yard score a pick play. Initially, it looked like the refs were going to call offensive pass interference, but they picked up the flag and the score was good. The Bears went for two, but did not convert. 9-7 Bears.
With 40 seconds left, the Lions would have one more chance to take the lead before halftime. However, they couldn’t get beyond the 45-yard line and the half was over.
The Bears came out of the second half with the ball, and it looked like they were positioning themselves to extend their lead. But one dropped pass and Ezekiel Ansah sack later, and Bears were punting yet again—their third of the day.
The teams traded more punts before the Lions offense finally woke up. A couple of brilliantly designed plays—a 43-yard pass to Kenny Golladay and a 17-yard strike to Theo Riddick—got the Lions into the red zone.
For the second time on the day, LeGarrette Blount mauled his way into the endzone, giving the Lions the lead back. The Lions, too, would fail the two point conversion. 13-9 Lions
The Bears were able to move the ball to midfield before the clocked turned over to the final quarter.
A couple of nifty plays got the Bears into the red zone, and Daniel cashed in this time. A play-action pass caused Nevin Lawson to bite, leaving Tarik Cohen wide open on the wheel route. This time Daniel connected for the 14-yard touchdown. 16-13 Bears.
The Lions offense still had something left in them. Golladay picked up catches of 23 and 11 yards as Detroit worked their way deep into the red zone. However, Detroit couldn’t convert on a third-and-1 from Chicago’s 2-yard line, and opted to kick the field goal instead of going for it. 16-16.
The Lions defense responded with a big three-and-out, and all the momentum seemed to be swinging their way.
Then it happened. Matthew Stafford dropped back on the first play of the ensuing drive, and Eddie Jackson jumped the route for an easy pick-six. 23-16 Bears.
Stafford tried to shake it off and lead the Lions on a game-tying drive. Thanks to a 27-yard run from Blount (not a typo), and a couple more connections to Golladay, the Lions worked their way into the red zone as they hit the two-minute warning.
But on a third-and-9, Stafford looked for Michael Roberts, but the tight end gave up on his route after contact, and Kyle Fuller notched the game-sealing interception. There looked to be potential pass interference or illegal contact but the flag stayed in the pocket.
The Lions had one more chance to get the ball back, but the defense could stop Chicago on a third-and-8, and the game was over. FINAL: 23-16 Bears.
The Lions drop to 4-7 on the year, and any realistic playoff chances are gone now.
It’s Thanksgiving Day, which means it’s time for the most honored tradition in football: watching the Detroit Lions as you await to stuff your face with food.
For the past few years, the Lions game has actually been one of the bigger highlights of the holiday. Detroit has won four of their past five Thanksgiving Day games, and three of those games were blowouts. The fourth was a thrilling come-from-behind victory against their division rival Minnesota Vikings.
Interestingly enough, the Lions have faced a backup quarterback in three of their last five Thanksgiving Day games, with varying results:
Oddly enough, the #Lions have played a backup QB 3 times in their past 5 Thanksgiving Day games.— Pride of Detroit (@PrideOfDetroit) November 22, 2018
2017: Case Keenum (L, 23-30)
2015: Mark Sanchez (W, 45-14)
2013: Matt Flynn (W, 40-10)
I say this, of course, because this week it looks like they’re going to make it four out of the past six. Chicago Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky is doubtful with a shoulder injury, meaning Detroit is likely to face backup Chase Daniel, who has only two career starts to his name, despite being in the league for over nine seasons.
Unfortunately for Detroit, their pass defense has been terrible this year, and they’ll be without two key starters on offense: rookie running back Kerryon Johnson and veteran receiver Marvin Jones Jr.
To complicate things even further, the two teams are coming off extremely short weeks and played each other less than two weeks ago.
In other words, who knows what to expect on this Holiday matchup.
Here’s how you can catch Thursday’s Thanksgiving Day classic, which is nationally televised for your viewing pleasure.
How to watch Lions-Bears
Date: Thursday, November 22, 2018
Time: 12:30 p.m. ET
Location: Ford Field—Detroit, MI
TV: CBS (nationally)
Announcers: Jim Nantz, Tony Romo, Tracy Wolfson
Online streaming: Yahoo Sports app
National radio: Westwood One
National radio announcers: Ryan Radtke, Tony Boselli, Laura Okmin
Local radio: WJR-AM NEWS TALK 760
Radio announcers: Dan Miller, Lomas Brown
Odds: Bears by 3