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Recap: Lions offense disappears in 2nd half as Detroit loses to Bears

The Detroit Lions had a pretty awful game on both sides of the ball, as the Chicago Bears upset them in Week 14.

Detroit Lions v Chicago Bears Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The Detroit Lions have flirted with losses to underwhelming teams for the past month, but it finally caught up with the against the Chicago Bears.

Outside of a good second quarter from Detroit, it was all Bears on Sunday. Chicago jumped to a quick 10-0 lead, but the Lions worked their way back with 13 straight points by halftime.

Unfortunately, it was all Chicago in the second half. The Lions offense failed to pick up a single first down on their initial five drives in the second half, while the defense gave up the critical game in the play.

With the score still 13-13 in the second half, the Bears were faced with a fourth-and-13. Not only did Chicago draw the Lions offsides, but they used the free play to go deep and Justin Fields found DJ Moore for a long touchdown and a lead they wouldn’t let slip away this time.

With the loss, the Lions drop to 9-4. Hopes for the No. 1 seed in the NFC are all but gone, and now things may tighten up in the division, too.

Here’s how the game played out.

First quarter

The Bears won the toss and wanted the ball. Interestingly, the Lions opted to start Ifeatu Melifonwu at safety over Tracy Walker. Isaiah Buggs got the start for the injured Alim McNeill. That combo didn’t seem to make much of any difference early in the game, as Chicago quickly scored another opening drive touchdown against the Lions.

Justin Fields made his mobility obvious early, as he picked up a 13-yard gain on a third-and-3, moving Chicago to midfield early. Another 12 yards from the legs of Fields put them in the red zone. A couple plays later, a direct snap to DJ Moore went for a 16-yard touchdown and an early 7-0 Bears lead.

The Lions attempted to rebuttal. Sam LaPorta made an impressive third-and-3 grab for 13 yards to get Detroit near midfield early. But a tripping penalty on Graham Glasgow cost Detroit 15 yards, and it essentially ended the drive. Goff was sacked on third-and-10.

A nice punt from Jack Fox and a great special teams tackle from Khalil Dorsey pinned the Bears at their own 9-yard line.

Once again, the Lions had an opportunity to get off the field quickly—facing a third-and-8. Once again, Fields escaped several tackles and scrambled for a back-breaking 19 yards.

After another third-down conversion, Fields found Darnell Mooney for a 28-yard gain, and a roughness penalty on Alex Anzalone pushed the Bears right back into the red zone. But Detroit finally got a stop there, as Jalen Reeves-Maybin picked up a sack on third down.

Cairo Santos booted through a 46-yard field goal to make it 10-0 Bears.

The Lions offense found some life with a 36-yard rush from Jahmy Gibbs that moved Detroit into Bears territory for the first time.

Second quarter

The second quarter started with a success of mistakes from Detroit. After an odd delay of game to end the first quarter, the Lions found themselves third-and-10. Detroit dialed up the perfect play, but running back Jahmyr Gibbs dropped a swing pass that could have gone for a touchdown. Trapped in no-man’s land on fourth-and-10, the Lions opted to go for it, and Jared Goff threw an interception right at Bears cornerback Jaylon Johnson.

Detroit’s defense immediately gave up an explosive play after tight end Cole Kmet got wide open for a 41-yard gain. Chicago faced a fourth-and-1 at the Lions’ 39-yard line and opted to go for it, and the Lions were all over it. Ifeatu Melifonwu read the pitch immediately and got the tackle for loss for a turnover on downs.

A 13-yard run from Montgomery got Detroit right back into Bears territory. Detroit would face a fourth-and-3 from the 39 and go for it again. This time, Goff threw a laser to Donovan Peoples-Jones for a clutch 19-yard gain down to the 21-yard line. A few plays later, a pitch to Gibbs went for a 12-yard touchdown. Riley Patterson missed the extra point, though. 10-6 Bears.

The Lions defense came alive with a big three-and-out. John Cominsky had a nice open field tackle on Field, and then Aidan Hutchinson took over with a sack and then a QB hit on third down.

LaPorta picked up a quick third-down conversion again for 10 yards, as Detroit moved into Chicago territory. On the next series of downs, the Lions faced a critical third-and-3 out of the two-minute warning, and a draw play to Gibbs picked up just enough. Another third down conversion—an excellent catch and run from Gibbs—kept the drive alive. Two plays later, Goff found Josh Reynolds for an 8-yard touchdown and a 13-10 Lions lead with 26 seconds left.

With no timeouts left for Chicago, they would still attempt to get back on the scoreboard. Jerry Jacobs had a nice breakup on a deep shot, and a John Cominsky sack would end the half.

Third quarter

The Lions offense unfortunately fell victim to yet another three-and-out to start the second half. Goff couldn’t find Jameson Williams on third and long, as the ball was underthrown, and Jamo couldn’t find it.

The Bears responded by scoring and tieing. Facing a third-and-8 at the Lions’ 36-yard line, Fields found Moore for a leaping grab down to Detroit’s 21-yard line. The Lions would stiffen up in the red zone, forcing two straight incompletions—including a nice breakup from Kerby Joseph. But Santos would tack on three for a 13-13 tie.

Goff and the offense continued their slow start out of the second half. After a false start, then a near interception from Goff, the Lions would eventually go three-and-out,

On the punt, Jack Fox made a touchdown-saving tackle, but the Bears would take over at their own 48-yard line with a chance to retake the lead. A holding call set the Bears back quickly, and on third-and-9, Reeves-Maybin deflected the pass, ending the drive.

But Detroit’s offense was absolutely stuck in neutral with a third-straight three-and-out following two unsuccessful runs and an incomplete pass.

The Lions defense couldn’t hold up any longer. Kmet made a nice contested catch on a third-and-4 down to Detroit’s 35-yard line. Detroit challenged the catch, but there was no camera angle to overturn the call. Detroit then got themselves into a very favorable fourth-and-13 situation. But then all hell broke loose. Aidan Hutchinson jumped offsides, giving Fields a free play. Moore broke wide open for a 38-yard touchdown. Though Detroit did block the extra point. 19-13 Bears.

Goff had his second turnover of the game on the next drive, as there was a botched snap, and the Bears recovered deep in Lions territory.

Chicago earned a first-and-goal situation as we turned into the fourth quarter.

Fourth quarter

Again, the Lions got into a fortuitous down, again they blew on third-and-long. Detroit lost contain, and Field rushed for an 11-yard touchdown and a 25-13 Bears with 14 minutes left (missed two-point conversion).

The Lions failed to get a first down for their fourth consecutive drive, and this one essentially ended the game. Detroit went for it on fourth-and-1 from their own 34-yard line and Jahmyr Gibbs was stopped for a 4-yard loss. With the good field position, the Bears tacked on a field goal to make it 28-13 Bears with 9:20 left.

The Lions would toy with scoring a couple more ties, but there was nothing doing on offense for the majority of this game.

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