Bears-Lions Thanksgiving game sharp contrast from Rams-Chiefs
By: Kyle Madson
Hopefully the Thanksgiving Day opener wasn’t an omen of things to come for the trio of holiday games. The Bears snuck past the Lions 23-16 at Ford Field in Detroit. The game was a sharp contrast from Monday night’s 54-51 shootout in Los Angeles between the Chiefs and Rams. It’s actually hard to fathom the two games were the same sport.
It’s partially the NFL’s fault. They opted to flex the Bears into the Sunday Night Football slot ahead of their early Thursday showdown. Chicago had about 84.5 hours to get prepared for the Lions. They were without starting quarterback Mitchell Trubisky on top of that. The result was a sluggish, ugly game that offered a jarringly different product than what we’ve gotten used to in the NFL.
Some people prefer close, low-scoring games with tough defense and only a handful of key offensive moments that shape the contest. Thursday morning’s Bears-Lions game was not that. It was ugly, and mistakes were the defining factors.
The teams combined for 597 total yards and 10 punts. They were 8-for-24 on third-down conversions and coughed up three turnovers. The game’s first five possessions were punts, including three three-and-outs. The first touchdown of the game came after a Bears fumble gave the Lions great field position.
At halftime the score was 9-7 thanks to a failed two-point conversion attempt by the Bears. It was the first of two failed two-point conversion attempts. Detroit missed one late in the third quarter after they scored to make it 13-9.
Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford’s two interceptions, one a pick-six, in the final six minutes were the nails in Detroit’s coffin. He threw for just 236 yards and no touchdowns with a 67.4 passer rating.
Bears quarterback Chase Daniel acquitted himself well with a 72.9 percent completion rate, 230 yards and two touchdowns. His 106.8 passer rating was a career high in three starts.
This might be referred to as a “throwback,” or a “real” football game because of the lack of scoring. It wasn’t it was a bad football game, and a stern reminder of why high-scoring bouts like the one we saw Monday night hold so much value for the NFL and its future.
Don’t expect any rule changes that may help defenses any time soon. The NFL doesn’t want more games to look like Bears-Lions. They want as few of them as possible. And after spending Thanksgiving morning watching that — it’s hard to blame them.