Lions vs. Bears: Detroit falls on Thanksgiving in must-win
The collective eyes of the football world were upon the Motor City as the Detroit Lions hosted their annual Thanksgiving game against the Chicago Bears.
The Detroit Lions received a reprieve from the football gods earlier this week as they learned that their star rookie running back, Kerryon Johnson, only suffered a knee sprain and not a more serious injury. Instead of being in danger of missing the rest of his inaugural season, Johnson is now considered week-to-week and he was officially listed as OUT for this game.
The Lions were missing a few key starters offensively but the Chicago Bears were short-handed themselves. Their second-year signal caller, Mitchell Trubisky, sat this game out due to a banged up shoulder. Backup quarterback Chase Daniel got the nod at starter on an extremely quick turnaround for this Bears team who last played on the most recent edition of Sunday Night Football.
Clad in the best throwback unis in the NFL, the Detroit Lions opened up the early game with the first offensive possession. LeGarrette Blount got the first carry and he grabbed up a quick two yards. On the next play, running back Theo Riddick came down with Matthew Stafford‘s first pass attempt and gained four yards but wideout Bruce Ellington wasn’t able to do enough on third down to move the chains as the Lions went three-and-out.
Chase Daniel opened up his first possession by completing a six-yard pass to his receiver Anthony Miller. He missed his next attempt on second down and on 3rd & 4, Daniel missed again which prompted a Bear punt after their own three-and-out.
Detroit next began with the ball from their 18-yard line. Blount again got the first carry of the drive but he was held for a gain of only one yard. Riddick then picked up 18-yards on a quick screen pass as the short passing game worked as an extension of Detroit’s running game. Another quick pass from Stafford to fullback Nick Bellore gained six yards and Blount was held in check again for only a gain of one yard immediately afterward. On the next play, star receiver Kenny Golladay caught his first pass, a three-yard gainer, to convert the Lion first down.
On 3rd & 11, Stafford found his tight end Michael Roberts but he was unable to gain the first down and Sam Martin cam in for his second punt of the game.
Chicago moved the chains early during their next series with a pass to Taylor Gabriel. Later in the drive, Romeo Okwara and Damon “Snacks” Harrison got to Daniel for the game’s first sack. A penalty pushed Chicago into 2nd & 21 and on the subsequent 3rd & 17 play, Quandre Diggs tackled the Chicago receiver to stop the Bears from gaining what they needed and the Bears had to punt again.
Bruce Ellington took a slant pass for five yards as Detroit opened their third possession and tight end Luke Willson picked up another four yards through the air but after a play fake to Blount, the Bear defense expertly defended on the play as Stafford misfired on 3rd &1. As a result, Sam Martin came in and continued his early work with his third consecutive punt.
On the first play of Chicago’s next series, Detroit cornerback Mike Ford tackled Taylor Gabriel for a loss of three yards but a bad unnecessary roughness penalty on Glover Quin kept the Bears moving forward. A seven-yard run from Bear RB Taquan Mizzell ended the first quarter as the Bears drove their way down the field.