News flash: The Detroit Lions are not as good of a team without Matthew Stafford. With their franchise quarterback out with back fractures, the Lions offense couldn’t muster any sort of rhythm with backup quarterback Jeff Driskel. Combine that with a three possession stretch in which the Detroit Lions made Mitchell Trubisky look like Peyton Manning, and the Lions fell to 3-5-1 after a bad loss to the Chicago Bears.
Here’s how it happened.
The Bears won the toss and forced Lions backup Jeff Driskel to take the field first, and the early results were promising. Driskel was a perfect 6-for-6 as the Lions got deep into Bears territory. On third-and-goal from the 4-yard line, however, Driskel couldn’t find a double-covered Kenny Golladay, and the Lions settled for three. 3-0 Lions.
Detroit defense made quick work of the Bears offense, forcing a three-and-out after a third-down Mitchell Trubisky pass was overthrown but eventually hauled in short of the sticks.
Driskel was able to get the Lions into Bears territory, but a third-and-2 conversion was erased by an illegal shift penalty. Detroit wouldn’t convert on the next play and punted it away, pinning Chicago at the 10-yard line.
Thanks to a sack by Devon Kennard and a pressure from Trey Flowers, the Lions quickly got the ball back after a single first down from the Bears. Driskel would take over from the 39-yard line, but Detroit would quickly give the ball back after a third-down pass to J.D. McKissic got the Lions a half-yard short of a conversion. Rather than going for it at their own 48-yard line, they opted, again, to pin the Bears deep. This time Sam Martin dropped it inside their 5-yard line.
The gamble paid off for Detroit. After another three-and-out for Chicago, Jamal Agnew returned the ensuing punt to the Bears’ 44-yard line. Unfortunately, the Lions offense couldn’t do anything with the good field position. An early block-in-the-back penalty set the Lions behind the downs and a holding penalty drove them even further back. Again, the Lions punt coverage team did their job, pinning the Bears at the 11.
Mike Daniels ensured that the Bears offense would continue to struggle, picking up his first career Lions sack.
We see you, @Mike_Daniels76!@budlight #BudLightCelly pic.twitter.com/sMJf5Y0zg7— Detroit Lions (@Lions) November 10, 2019
Detroit would finally cash in, though. Driskell didn’t get much out of this offense, but he got close enough for Matt Prater to nail a 54-yard field goal and move Detroit’s lead to six. 6-0 Lions.
Chicago’s offense finally got some movement before the end of the half. Thanks to a risky fourth-and-inches conversion from their own 30-yard line, the Bears eventually move the ball past midfield. Trubisky suddenly looked alive, and he capped off the drive with a beautiful 18-yard pass to Ben Braunecker for the go-ahead score. 7-6 Bears.
.@Mtrubisky10 puts this ball right on the money. #Bears100 @HarvardFootball’s @Ben_Braunecker makes an incredible catch for his first career touchdown! @ChicagoBears #DETvsCHI— NFL (@NFL) November 10, 2019
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Detroit didn’t have enough time to rebuttal, so the two teams would head to the locker room at that score.
The Bears would pick up the first big play of the game, as Trubisky connected with Allen Robinson for a huge 33-yard gain. A few plays later, Darius Slay was called for a questionable pass interference play on third-and-1. On the next play, Tarik Cohen was wide open in the flats and had an easy stroll into the end zone. The Bears, however, missed the extra point. 13-6 Bears.
Driskell would make a grave error on the next play, throwing it right at Bears linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski for the interception deep in his own territory.
The Jeff Driskel #Lions offense is melting down.pic.twitter.com/OcgdlgohEV— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) November 10, 2019
A couple plays later, Trubisky dropped a dime over Mike Ford’s head to Taylor Gabriel for the 24-yard touchdown. 20-6 Bears.
hey so 3 of Mitchell Trubisky's last 5 passes have been touchdowns pic.twitter.com/ihwbHUHrzX— Christian D'Andrea (@TrainIsland) November 10, 2019
Driskel rebounded by getting Detroit to midfield, but a sack and a holding penalty stalled the drive. Instead of trying for a 60-yard field goal or going for it on fourth-and-12 from the Bears’ 42-yard line, the Lions punted—yet again playing the field position battle.
Detroit did get the three-and-out on defense they needed, but a nice Bears punt put Detroit back on their 32-yard line. But Driskel turned into a checkdown machine and with no fire to the team’s downfield attack, the Lions went three-and-out.
The two teams would continue to trade punts for the majority of the final period, echoing the offensive ineptitude from the first half.
But about halfway through the fourth quarter, Driskel started to make a few plays. Scrambling to his right to buy time, Driskel heaved a bomb in Kenny Golladay’s direction. The Lions top receiver created some last-second separation and pulled in the 48-yard pass for the score and brought it to a one-possession game. 20-13 Bears.
.@jeffdriskel lets it fly. #OnePride— NFL (@NFL) November 10, 2019
Kenny Golladay is in the end zone for a 48-yard @Lions TD! @kgxix #DETvsCHI
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With a quick defensive stop, Driskel has 3:31 to mount a comeback drive starting from near midfield. However, a few drops by Kenny Golladay and an offensive pass interference penalty ended the drive on downs.
With three timeouts and the two-minute warning still ahead, Detroit could get the ball back. Indeed, the defense did get three straight stops. Driskel would have 1:41 and 90 yards to go for the game-tying score.
Driskel made a heck of an effort, getting Detroit well into Bears territory. But Detroit simply ran out of time. A heaved ball from 25 yards away fell incomplete in the end zone and wouldn’t have counted anyways, because Diskell was past the line of scrimmage when he threw it.
The Lions are 3-5-1 and their season is basically over.
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Neith the Detroit Lions nor the Chicago Bears wanted to be where they’re at heading into Week. Both teams have just three wins and find themselves three or four games behind the division-leading Green Bay Packers.
Realistically speaking, these two teams are out of the playoff race before Thanksgiving, and that has to be a huge disappointment to both fanbases.
That being said, Bears-Lions is a pretty heated rivalry and no matter the stakes, each fan base hates losing this game. Though the Lions have had a stranglehold on the rivalry over the past five years, the Bears swept Detroit last year, and that has only made both sides more irate at the other.
So why not just enjoy this game as a standalone rivalry game, and forget about the bigger picture for a week. Here’s how to watch.
How to watch Lions-Bears
Date: Sunday, November 10, 2019
Time: 1 p.m. ET
Location: Soldier Field — Chicago, IL
Week 10 TV Map: Courtesy of 506 Sports here
Announcers: Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts, Evan Washburn
Online streaming: Yahoo Sports app
Local radio: WJR-AM NEWS TALK 760
Radio announcers: Dan Miller, Lomas Brown
Odds: Bears by 2.5