Up 14-13 with 8:30 remaining in the game, Lions head coach Dan Campbell needed his defense to make a stop.
At the very least, get the ball back to the offense with enough time to counter what the Bears do. Neither happened, as the Bears controlled the ball the rest of the way, with kicker Cairo Santos nailing a game winning 28-yard field goal as time expired.
Heartbreak for Campbell, jubilation for Bears head coach Matt Nagy.
The Bears (4-7) snapped a five-game losing streak with a 16-14 win over the Lions (0-10-1) on Thursday at Ford Field.
The Thanksgiving matinee wasn’t expected to be an offensive shootout and the game certainly lived up to that. Chicago and its No. 31 ranked offense in the league were without starting rookie quarterback Justin Fields, forcing veteran backup Andy Dalton to make his third start of the season. Dalton threw for a season high 317 yards on 24-of-39 passing with one touchdown and one interception.
Working without receiver Allen Robinson (hamstring) for a second consecutive game, fellow receiver Darnell Mooney shined once again. Coming off a five-catch, 121-yard performance in Week 11, Mooney caught five passes for 123 yards, his third 100-yard plus game of the season.
Down 7-3 late in the second quarter, Dalton completed his second longest pass in a Bears uniform, hitting Mooney on a deep crosser for 52 yards. The play set up Chicago at the 17-yard line with a chance to take the lead.
That they did, as Dalton on the very next play found tight end Jimmy Graham in the soft spot of the Lions’ zone defense for a 17-yard score. It was Graham’s first touchdown of the season, the 83rd of his career, fourth all-time among tight ends. Graham finished with a season high two receptions for 34 yards.
Goff, making his return after a one-week absence, completed 21-of-25 passes for 178 yards and two touchdowns. However, running back D’Andre Swift wasn’t for long in this one. With 8:07 remaining in the second quarter, Swift was tackled out of bounds. Bears linebacker Roquan Smith fell hard on Swift’s shoulder, knocking him out of the game. Now without its top playmaker, the Detroit offense had trouble moving the ball.
Chicago looked poised to hold the lead until the Detroit offense showed some life in the third quarter. After a seven-play, 69-yard touchdown drive on the Lions’ first possession of the game, Detroit punted or turned it over on six straight drives, before Goff found his most reliable target.
Goff connected with tight end T.J. Hockenson for a 17-yard score to give the Lions a 14-13 lead with 1:51 remaining in the third quarter. It was Hockenson’s third touchdown of the season, but the last time the Lions would score on offense.
Coming off a win over the NFL’s worst, Chicago will return home to take on the league’s best. The Bears will host the Cardinals (9-2) on Sunday, Dec. 5 at 1:00 p.m. Meanwhile, the Lions will host the Vikings (5-5) on the same day, still looking for their first win of the Campbell era.
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