The Detroit Lions, for once, became the team to mount the comeback after being down two scores. An offensive explosion from Matthew Stafford and the Lions offense under interim head coach Darrell Bevell helped the Lions overcome some shaky defense.
The Lions had lost nine straight divisional game and didn’t beat the Bears a single time under Matt Patricia. Bevell did it in his first career game as head coach.
Detroit ended up winning the game 34-30. Here’s how it happened.
The Bears got off to a hot start with a big kickoff return from Cordarrelle Patterson, who took a kickoff from Matt Prater, oddly enough, and returned it for 45 yards. One first down pass to Allen Robinson III got Chicago in field goal range, but they stalled from there and settled for three. 3-0 Bears.
Detroit’s offense took the field and had a nice tempo to it, connecting first with a 20-yard pass to Mohamed Sanu. Bevell faced his first difficult decision as Lions head coach when Detroit faced a fourth-and-1 from the Bears 29-yard line. He chose to go for it, but an end around to Jamal Agnew was stuffed when the Lions receiver could beat a one-on-one tackle from Buster Skrine.
Imagine not getting a first down here.— Isaac (@WorldofIsaac) December 6, 2020
The Bears responded by running all over the Lions’ short-handed defense. Without Danny Shelton plugging up the middle, the Bears had little trouble running it up the gut of the Lions defense. Chicago tallied up 49 rushing yards on the drive, capping the drive with a 13-yard scamper from David Montgomery. The extra point was blocked. 9-0 Bears.
The Lions offense was able to retaliate with a nice 12-play, 72-yard drive of their own. Adrian Peterson punched it in from three yards out for the touchdown, but Matt Prater doinked the extra point off the right upright. 9-6 Bears.
However, the Lions defense continued to look as bad as it was all season. All it took was five minutes for the Bears to go 75 yards for another touchdown. Trubisky had little problem finding Allen Robinson for 21 yards on an early third-and-6. After that, the Bears didn’t face a single third down on the drive. Cordarrelle Patterson capped the drive with a 5-yard run, pushing the score to 16-6 Bears.
The Lions defense finally got a stop thanks to safety Jayron Kearse, who stepped in front of a Mitchell Trubisky pass and nearly picked it off on third down.
Detroit’s offense took advantage of the Bears’ first punt of the game. Matthew Stafford, who had missed on a couple of earlier deep balls, found rookie Quintez Cephus for a 49-yard dime and the wide receivers first touchdown of his career. 16-13 Bears.
With just over two minutes left, the Bears offense got back to work. Detroit had little answers defensively as Montgomery eventually punched it in from 4 yards out to push it back to a 10-point lead. 23-13 Bears.
The Lions offense had 30 seconds to score before the half, but they could only get to midfield. Two hail marys fell incomplete and the score would hold going into the third quarter.
Matthew Stafford kicked off the second half with a nice 15-yard pass to Mohamed Sanu, but from there Detroit ran-ran-passed their way into a punt, ceding an important opportunity to score and keep this game close.
But Detroit’s defense got a stop thanks to a couple solid tackles from Justin Coleman, including a tackle for loss on a wide receiver screen play. After a solid punt return from Jamal Agnew, the Lions offense took over with a chance to bring it to a one-score game.
The Lions took the opportunity to get back into the game. A 10-play, 66-yard drive was capped with this nice touchdown pass to Jesse James, Stafford’s second score of the game. 23-20 Bears.
Chicago was able to move the ball to midfield before the game turned over to the fourth quarter.
A pair of third down conversions kept Chicago’s drive alive. Then, from the Lions’ 11-yard line, the Bears broke the huddle quick and caught Will Harris over pursuing on a play-action fake, leaving Cole Kmet wide open for a touchdown. 30-20 Bears.
Just as it looked like the Lions were going to quickly respond, Matthew Stafford made another late-game mistake that has unfortunately plagued his 2020 season. A side armed throw was picked off by defensive tackle Bilal Nichols and that pretty much sealed the game.
The Lions and Bears traded punts for a bit from there, but the Lions drew the score back to a three-point deficit with an impressive 95-yard drive, leaving 2:18 left to get the ball back and tie or score. Marvin Jones hauled in the score to bring the game to 30-27 Bears.
Detroit opted to pass on the onside kick from there, needing a three-and-out to get the ball back. That controversial decision turned out to be worth it, as Mitchell Trubisky fumbled on a critical third-and-4 and it was recovered by John Penisin. That gave the Lions the ball on the Bears 7-yard line with an unlikely opportunity to win the game.
Two plays later Adrian Peterson punched it in from 5 yards out and the Lions had their first lead in the game with 1:37 left. 34-30 Lions.
The Bears came darn close to scoring and winning the game, but Detroit got a clutch fourth-down stop and came away with an improbable victory.