The Detroit Lions dropped another game on Thanksgiving, falling 24-20 to the Chicago Bears. The Lions have now been swept by their NFC North rival — and lost four straight to the Bears — a disappointing end to a decade where they dominated Chicago. Here are a few takeaways from a downer Turkey day:
The legend of David Blough
While the Lions lost, Blough was certainly a winner on Thanksgiving. The undrafted rookie out of Purdue got real-time NFL action for the first time in his career and he looked great. While he under-threw a few passes — he really struggles when he tries to throw bullets — he had no glaringly bad passes and did not turn the ball over until a desperation heave on the final drive. His first pass completion was also a bomb to Kenny Golladay for an early touchdown.
A majority of his passes were just shorter checkdowns, but he did show a bit of skill navigating the pocket against a ferocious Bears pass rush.
While Matthew Stafford will have nothing to worry about, Blough may earn himself a shot at the teams long-term back-up. He should start for the rest of the season even if Jeff Driskel returns, and the UDFA has a chance to carve out a role for himself in the NFL.
Being conservative costs the team again
Midway through the fourth quarter, the Lions had the ball near the Bears end zone with the game tied at 17. J.D. McKissic passed up on an easy first down run on third and 2 and decided to bounce the run outside for a touchdown. An incredible open-field play by Kyle Fuller stopped him a yard behind the line of scrimmage. This left Detroit with a fourth and 2 inside Chicago’s ten.
Detroit kicked a field goal, taking a three point lead. They would end up losing after Chicago scored a touchdown on the ensuing possession. The choice to kick a field goal instead of giving the offense a shot to get two yards cost this team. Even if they did not convert on fourth down, the Bears would have been backed up deep in their own territory with a bad quarterback and underachieving offensive line. Kicking the field goal bailed them out of a bad situation.
This has been a problem for the team much of the year, playing too conservatively and not being willing to take a risk in high pressure situations. This is especially disappointing after the team tried a surprise onside kick early on to catch the Bears off-guard, an incredibly more risky move.
Officially a losing season
The Thanksgiving loss marks Detroit’s eighth loss of the season. Because of the tie in Week 1, the best record the team can finish with at this point is 7-8-1, a losing record — and also more than the seven losses Jim Caldwell was fired for. They also were officially eliminated from playoff contention today. This means that the Matt Patricia era will have to wait at least one more year (if he gets another one) to reach a winning mark.
Detroit’s season has been dead for about a month now, but this loss marks this year as officially lost. After signing a few big name free agents, getting their star quarterback back to MVP form and a few other players supposedly being ready to take the next step, the Lions 2019 campaign was a failure. We will go another year without a playoff win, nor a divisional win, and most likely the Lions will pick in the top 10 of the NFL Draft once again.
The Lions rebuild has been going on seemingly forever, and we all have to continue to wonder when we will finally see the fruits of the effort.