Last week, the Detroit Lions got the one defensive stand they needed late in the game to hold off the upset over the Green Bay Packers. On Sunday, they had a similar opportunity against Justin Fields and the Chicago Bears. And even though Fields was giving the Lions trouble all day, the defense stood tall in the fourth quarter. Chicago punted twice, was pick-sixed once, and when the Bears needed a game-winning drive, the defense produced two sacks, spoiling Fields’ otherwise impressive day.
The Lions now have back-to-back wins for the first time in the Dan Campbell era and this was the team’s first road victory in two years. Here’s how it happened.
The Bears offense took the field first, and Justin Fields immediately made his presence known with a 28-yard keeper after Julian Okwara got sucked in by the play-action. Chicago went runs on the first five plays of the drive, moving steadily down into the red zone. A holding penalty, and a nice Jarrad Davis (!!) pass breakup pushed the Bears back into a third-and-14, and Chicago ran a give-up draw up the middle and settled for a field goal. 3-0 Bears.
The Lions offense all went through Amon-Ra St. Brown. The Lions second-year receiver picked up a pair of third downs to start the opening drive. From there, the Lions started pounding Chicago on the ground with a 9-yard run by Justin Jackson followed by a 13-yard run from Jamaal Williams. But like Chicago, the Lions stalled in the red zone and kicked the chip-shot field goal on fourth-and-4. 3-3 ties.
Khalil Herbert kickstarted the Bears next drive with a kick return all the way to their own 49-yard line. However, another Chicago penalty put them behind the sticks, and a sack from Okwara set the Bears up third-and-14 at Detroit’s 44-yard line as the quarter came to an end.
Detroit got the stop with a nice pressure from John Cominsky and Okwara, and the Bears punted away for a touchback.
The Lions offense quickly got themselves into trouble with a batted down pass and a run for loss. However, Jared Goff found Kalif Raymond for a 22-yard gain. Detroit again found themselves behind the chains after an iffy offensive pass interference call on Trinity Benson, but Detroit quickly moved the chains again thanks to St. Brown. Goff then found St. Brown on back-to-back plays for 22 and 20 yards, setting Detroit up first-and-goal from the 10. An end-zone pass interference gave the Lions four shots at the end zone from 1-yard line, but Goff took a sack on first down, pushing them back to the 4. Detroit struggled, but eventually punched it in with a nice play-action fake to Brock Wright on fourth down. 10-3 Lions.
The Bears offense answered thanks to a couple nice plays from Fields. On the first, he escaped pressure on a third-and-5 and found Byron Pringle for the first down. Then, once down into the red zone, Fields somehow escaped pressure again on a broken play after Isaiah Buggs failed to bring him down. Fields scrambled into the end zone to tie the ballgame up with just 12 seconds left in the half. 10-10 tie.
On this play, DeShon Elliott was taken out of the game and put into concussion protocol. He did not return. CJ Moore replaced him at safety.
Detroit opened the second half with three straight runs, but Jamaal Williams was stuffed on third-and-1 after several Bears thrashed into the backfield, giving the back no chance to convert.
Fields moved into Lions territory with a third-and-5 completion to a wide open Darnell Mooney. Chicago was able to pick up their own third-and-1 and a run to Dante Pettis, moving the team into the red zone. A few plays later, Fields found tight end Cole Kmet for the go-ahead touchdown with Kerby Joseph in coverage. 17-10 Bears.
The Lions next drive didn’t go much of anywhere. The complete drive was blown up when the Lions tried an end around to Kalif Raymond, but the Lions receiver didn’t appear to know the handoff exchange was coming, resulting in a fumble and 9-yard loss. They’d punt a play later back to Chicago.
Detroit continued to have no answers for Fields and the Bears offense. On a blown coverage, Fields found a wide open Kmet for a 50-yard touchdown. 24-10 Bears.
The Lions were gifted good field position thanks to kickoff out of bounds, but Detroit couldn’t take advantage. Goff took a bad sack on a second-down play, and followed it up by short-arming a pass to an open Shane Zylstra, who dropped the low pass. A miserable punt from Jack Fox ended a miserable quarter from the Lions.
The Lions defense gave a glimmer of hope to the team with a three-and-out thanks to a nice pass breakup from Alex Anzalone.
Goff scrambled for 10 yards on the first play of the opening drive and was hit while going out of bounds, drawing a penalty and a little skirmish between the two teams. Another penalty on the Bears moved Detroit into the red zone. Goff threw an interception intended for D’Andre Swift, but it was negated by another penalty to Chicago. On the ensuing play, Swift scored a touchdown on a beautifully-blocked play. 24-17 Bears.
The Lions defense came up with a huge play. Aidan Hutchinson was all over a called screen pass, forcing Fields to hesitate, and then overthrow the ball. It landed right in Jeff Okudah’s hands for a pick-six, tying up the ballgame at 24-24.
Fields quickly answered a few plays later. On third-and-1, Fields ran a read option, and scampered 67 yards for a touchdown, though the Bears did miss the extra point. 30-24 Bears.
Detroit couldn’t keep pace in the shootout, though, and quickly went three-and-out and punted back to Chicago with under eight minutes left.
Another bad punt allowed Chicago to return it to the 40-yard line with an opportunity to put the game away. But the Lions defense quickly got the ball back with a three-and-out of their own.
Goff would get the ball back with 5:23 remaining on their own 9-yard line. A nice Jamaal Williams run got the Lions out of the shadow of their own end zone, and then a laser to Raymond for 20 got them to the 40-yard line. Then on a third-and-8, Goff found Tom Kennedy for a huge 44-yard gain, pushing Detroit into the red zone.
After another St. Brown run, Jamaal Williams punched it in from 1-yard to give the Lions a 31-30 Leos lead with 2:21 left.
With plenty of time left and all three timeouts, the Bears had plenty of time to mount a game-winning drive. Last week, the Lions stopped Aaron Rodgers, but could they stop Fields?
Indeed they could. Detroit produced two sacks on the potential go-ahead drive, forcing the Bears into a turnover on downs, essentially ending the game.