It may be a new season and a new Detroit Lions, but the end result looked awfully familiar. The Lions jumped out to a big 23-6 lead, but blew it all in the fourth quarter, dropping the season opener to the Bears 27-23. The Lions made a lot of familiar mistakes and it resulted in another rough start to the season.
Here’s how it happened.
Both teams got off to a slow start on offense as the Lions and Bears both went three-and-out to start the season. Chicago threatened to score on their next drive, but Mitchell Trubisky failed to convert on a fourth-and-9 after under throwing his receiver.
The Lions were the first to strike. Adrian Peterson gave the offense a jump start by taking the ball 19 yards on his very first carry as a Detroit Lion.
.@AdrianPeterson looking good in that Honolulu blue.#CHIvsDET | #OnePride— Detroit Lions (@Lions) September 13, 2020
Quintez Cephus got the Lions into the red zone, but the Lions offense stalled there, and they settled for a short field goal from Matt Prater. 3-0 Lions.
The Bears answered with a sustained drive thanks to run from Cordarrelle Patterson. However, they, too struggled on the Lions’ side of the field and settled for three. 3-3 tie.
Detroit’s offense remained in neutral after Adrian Peterson failed to pick up a third-and-1. But then things got a little wacky. On the ensuing possession, Lions linebacker Jamie Collins Sr. headbutted the ref in the shoulder, drawing an obvious personal foul penalty, along with an ejection.
FIRST EJECTION OF THE YEAR pic.twitter.com/OPhyPBO9Da— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) September 13, 2020
The Lions defense managed to hold and prevent a score from Chicago, but Collins was out for the rest of the game.
Detroit retook the lead after big plays from Marvin Jones Jr. and an 18-yard pickup from Danny Amendola on third-and-17. Check out this truck from Jones:
Oh my, Marvin Jones! Look at @MarvinJonesJr just run through a dude on 3rd down. Big play to keep the #Lions drive alive. pic.twitter.com/E0VIJl7rhB— Jonathan Deutsch (@JonathanD_TV) September 13, 2020
But the Lions moved to 0-and-2 in the red zone, having to settle for another chip-shot field goal from Prater. 6-3 Lions.
In what became a common theme in the first half, the Bears managed to drive down the field quite easily, but stalled in the red zone. Cairo Santos tied it up with 2:02 left in the half. 6-6 tie.
Each team had an opportunity at a two-minute drill to take the lead into the half, but both teams failed. However, the Lions had a chance at a one-minute drill and thanks to two big catches by T.J. Hockenson they made it look easy. After getting into the red zone, rookie D’Andre Swift punched it in from 2 yards out giving the Lions the first touchdown of the season.
Welcome to the endzone, @DAndreSwift. #CHIvsDET | #OnePride— Detroit Lions (@Lions) September 13, 2020
The Lions offense started with an opportunity to extend their lead, and Matthew Stafford did not squander the opportunity. Stafford went 4-for-4 on the drive, capping it with a 2-yard touchdown pass Hockenson.
Matthew Stafford ➡️ @TheeHOCK8 #OnePride— NFL (@NFL) September 13, 2020
The @Lions make it a two-score game in Detroit!
: #CHIvsDET on FOX
: NFL app // Yahoo Sports app: https://t.co/DTlgEUZamw pic.twitter.com/8WkS9vGznv
The Bears were able to drive to midfield, but a huge third-down stop from Desmond Trufant forced a punt, giving the Lions an opportunity to extend their lead. And extend the lead they did. Though they couldn’t get in the end zone, Peterson had a couple runs that led Detroit on an eight-play drive spanning 64 yards and ending in a Prater field goal, pushing the Lions’ lead to three possessions. 23-6 Lions.
After a big return from Patterson putting the Bears on their own 41-yard line, Trubisky led Chicago back into the red zone, as the game turned to the fourth quarter.
The Bears converted on a fourth-and-1 to give themselves a fresh first-and-goal situation. On third down, Jimmy Graham outmuscled Tracy Walker for a fade route touchdown, bringing the Bears within 10. 23-13 Lions.
The Lions—clinging to another fourth-quarter lead—had the opportunity to extend the lead or at least bleed the clock a little. But the failed to do either, earning just one first down before punting the ball back to Chicago.
It looked like the wheels were coming off when Trubisky picked up a huge chunk of yards combined with a 15-yard facemask penalty. However, Trey Flowers picked up a huge strip sack a few plays later to end the Bears’ threat.
The Lions drove their way into Bears territory, but Stafford took a rough sack that pushed the Lions out of field goal range. A short pass to Swift got Detroit in position to try a 55-yard field goal. However, Prater pushed it wide right, giving the Bears good field position.
It took almost no time for the Bears to score, with Trubisky connecting with Javon Wims for the touchdown. 23-20 Lions.
With about three minutes remaining, the Lions had an opportunity to assume their “Dagger Time” identity. Spoiler alert: They didn’t. After two short runs, Stafford tried to split the Bears defense to Marvin Jones, but the ball deflected up in the air and into the waiting hands of Kyle Fuller. The Bears had the ball already in field goal range near the two-minute warning.
Three plays in Trubisky hit Anthony Miller for a 27-yard go-ahead touchdown.
.@AnthonyMiller_3 FOR DA LEAD!!!— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) September 13, 2020
: FOX #CHIvsDET | #DaBears pic.twitter.com/S0dLCQLNL9
Stafford had 1:54 to pull another fourth-quarter comeback to avoid another blown fourth-quarter lead. The Lions got all the way down to the Bears’ 11-yard line. Then, with the game on the line, Stafford found a wide open D’Andre Swift, but Swift straight up dropped it.
D'Andre Swift will have nightmares the rest of his life pic.twitter.com/PPJGrs7UeE— HeavensFX (@HeavensFX) September 13, 2020
The Lions failed to convert on the final play of the game, ending with another disheartening loss.