Today’s Matchup Between The Detroit Lions And Chicago Bears Marks The 79th Thanksgiving Day Game Played By The Detroit Lions.
There was a conservative vibe to both offenses to open up the game and neither team managed a first down on their opening drive. Defensive end Romeo Okwara and defensive tackle Damon Harrison combined for a crucial sack on the Bears second drive. Detroit and Chicago failed to reach to red zone throughout the first quarter but Chicago was on the move after a very uncharacteristic personal foul on veteran safety Glover Quin.
The first play of the second quarter was a wild one. Cornerback DeShawn Shead punched the ball out from Bears tight end Trey Burton on what would have been a first down catch and linebacker Jarrad Davis scooped up the ball and took it to the Chicago 40-yard line. A very gutsy play call ensued when the Lions had a fourth & inches try inside the Bears 20-yard line. The Lions went with a pass and after it was tipped up into the air by a Chicago defender, fullback Nick Bellore made a great catch to save the drive for the Lions. Two plays later, running back LeGarrette Blount powered his way into the end zone from four yards out giving the Lions a 7-0 lead with 9:03 to go in the opening half.
Chicago responded with a 48-yard drive that was highlighted by a long pass from backup quarterback Chase Daniel to wide receiver Allen Robinson. The Detroit Lions defense stood tall and held them to a 40-yard Cody Parkey field goal which made it 7-3 Lions with about four minutes left in the half.
After a quick three and out for Detroit following the field goal, Chicago marched down and Daniel hit wide receiver Taquan Mizzell for a 10-yard touchdown. Chicago went for two and it wasn’t successful so the Bears lead remained 9-7 headed into the halftime locker room.
Defensive end Ziggy Ansah manufactured a big sack on the opening drive of the half stopping Chicago after they had driven down to the Lions 40-yard line. The punt was only 22-yards and Detroit would take over for their first possession of the third quarter down 2 at their own 18-yard line. Detroit was only able to muster one first down before the Bears forced the fifth Sam Martin punt of the afternoon.
Another stop by the Lions defense led to another chance for quarterback Matthew Stafford and the offense. The Lions got the ball back and Stafford connected with wide receiver Kenny Golladay for a 43-yard pass that put the Lions in position to potentially take the lead. Three plays later, Blount pounded in a touchdown from five yards out and after a failed two-point try, the Lions held a 13-9 lead late in the third quarter.
The Bears started driving late in the third and the momentum carried into the start of the fourth quarter. Two personal fouls on the Lions defense aided a Bears drive that ended in a touchdown pass to running back Tarik Cohen from Daniel. Parkey’s PAT put the Bears up 16-13 with 13:40 to go in regulation.
Stafford and the Lions offense continued their solid second half with an excellent drive in response to the Bears score. Multiple connections to Golladay and couple of nice plays by Blount put the Lions inside the five in a matter of minutes. Unfortunately, center Graham Glasgow left with an injury once Detroit got down in the red zone and Matt Prater had to come on for a 20-yard field goal that made it 16-16 with 7:44 to go.
Lions head coach Matt Patricia and defensive coordinator Paul Pasqualoni dialed up the pressure forcing a sack on the next Bears drive. Quin and a couple of Lion defensive backs got to Daniel forcing a pivotal three and out late in the game. Wide receiver TJ Jones took the punt back to 43-yard line giving the Lions a chance to take the lead with any score. That didn’t last long…
The first play after the punt was a pick-six by Bears safety Eddie Jackson. Jackson snagged an out route and went untouched for 43-yards, leaving the Lions just six minutes to tie the game now trailing 23-16.
The Lions offense did respond. More solid plays by Golladay, who had a tremendous second half, and Blount took the Lions down inside the Chicago 15 with two minutes to go. The Lions got a couple of shots at the end zone before another interception in the Chicago end zone. Cohen got a first down and the Bears ran out the clock.
Blount actually looked like something useful today. Nothing that he did was extraordinary, but he more than carried his fill with Kerryon Johnson out of the lineup.