Late meltdown hands Bears a painful loss to Lions
David Reginek - USA Today Sports

Late meltdown hands Bears a painful loss to Lions


by - Senior Writer -

DETROIT - That was a gut punch if you are a Chicago Bears (3-8) fan, as one of their best games of the season came to a crashing halt for one of their toughest losses of the year. Facing off against the first-place Detroit Lions (8-2) at Ford Field, Justin Fields returned to the lineup after missing a month with a dislocated finger.

Not knowing what to expect from the third-year quarterback, Fields did what he does best, and for the most part, it worked out in the Bear's favor. Sure, with just 169 yards passing, the passing game could have been better, but with a team-high 104 yards rushing, Fields finally got back to running the football. When he is at his best, that is something he does, and the Bears offense has gotten away from that this season.

Holding a 26-14 lead late in the fourth, the Lions got their offense scoring as they not only scored one, but two touchdowns in the final five minutes to take the lead. The second came from the former Chicago Bears RB David Montgomery and was followed by a late-game safety to seal the comeback as the Lions survived a scare from the Bears 31-26.

The Bears couldn't have asked for a better start as they took the ball to begin the game and used a 10-play, nearly six-minute drive to go 75 yards. Fields legs played a role in that, as did three first-down completions to DJ Moore, Cole Kmet, and Equanimeous St. Brown. After picking up the slack in Khalil Herbert's absence, D'Onta Foreman didn't get many touches in this one, but he did cap off the Bear's opening possession with a short TD run to give Chicago a 7-0 lead.

Not only did the offense get off to a great start, but so did the defense, as the Bears intercepted Jared Goff three times in the game. The first one came on the Lions first possession with the rookie Tyrique Stevenson coming down with the INT. Unfortunately, the Bears were unable to capitalize on the INT and punted it back to the Lions offense a few plays later.

Four plays later, the Bears defense came up with another interception, with this one coming from Tremaine Edmonds. Once again, the Bears were unable to do anything with that turnover and gave the ball right back to the Lions after Tyler Scott coughed up the football to give the Lions excellent field position. Using the running game to get going, the Lions tied things up 7-7, with Jahmyr Gibbs picking up the two-yard TD run.

That awakened the Lions offense as the Bears retook the lead right before the half on a Cairo Santos field goal before the Lions took over with less than two minutes to go in the half. Despite needing 10 plays to go 75 yards, it took the Lions less than two minutes to move the ball as they continued to show how explosive their offense can be. Amon-Ra St. Brown played a part in that drive, as did Jameson Williams. With Gibbs picking up a first down run to set up the offense, St. Brown capped off the drive with a seven-yard TD as the Lions took a 14-10 lead into the half.

Happy to be in the position they were in, the Bears defense continued to make plays in the second half, forcing another punt which led to a 53 yard Santos field goal to make things 14-13. Immediately after that field goal, Stevenson came up with his second turnover of the game as he forced a fumble on the ensuing kickoff to give the ball right back to the offense. Four plays later, it was a 20-14 Bears lead as Fields hooked up with Moore for 39 yards as part of his seven-catch, 96-yard day.

Turnovers continued to plague the Lions on their next possession, with Goff throwing his third interception of the day and the second from Edmunds. Any time you force four turnovers in a game, you have to like your chances, as that interception led to another field goal to extend the lead to 23-14. Following another punt by the Lions, it was the Bears offense that went back to work using a 14-play drive, taking nearly nine minutes off of the clock.

Herbert and Roschon Johnson started things with several nice carries on the ground. The drive's big play came from Fields and his legs as his 31-yard scramble moved the ball inside the Lion's 30 to set things up for another potential score. The Bears did get that score, but it came off the foot of Santos as his 29-yard field goal made things 26-14. At this point in the game, you had to like the Bears chances at a victory especially considering the Lions offense looked lost for three quarters.

However, this is different from the old Lions team as they are not only battled-tested but also have an offense that can score points quickly. Needing two touchdowns and less than five minutes remaining, things were not looking good, but after an eight-play drive that took less than two minutes, the Lions were making noise again. Goff found St. Brown for a big first-down pickup early in the drive, with Gibbs adding one later. However, Williams was coming away with the back breaking play as he hauled in a 32 yard pass from Goff to make things 26-21.

All the Bears needed to do to finish off the Lions was to run out the clock, but instead it was the Lions defense coming up huge forcing the Bears to punt it away after three plays and taking 15 seconds off the clock. With just over two mintues to go, it was up to the Lions offense and the Bears defense to make a play as Detroit had to go 73 yards.

Montgomery started things, picking up a pair of first downs to get things rolling, with Gibbs getting involved later. With St. Brown hauling in a short pass to move the ball inside the 10, Detroit took their final timeout. Knowing what needed to be done, the former Bear broke the hearts of Chicago fans as Montgomery plowed in from one yard out to give the Lions the lead with less than a minute to go. Detroit would add a safety a few plays later, closed out the game with 17 unanswered points, and rallied for the 31-26 win.

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