Jimmy Graham

Bears Survive Thanksgiving Slopfest at Lions, Break Losing Streak

Bears observations: Lions make more mistakes in slopfest originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Reading coverage leading up to the Bears-Lions game on Thanksgiving, you may have believed you were tuning into a soap opera, not a football game. Turns out it was really a comedy of errors. Kidding aside, when you make it past all the penalties and defensive breakdowns, there were some fun plays made by both teams. Fortunately for the Bears, the Lions made more mistakes in the end, and they were able to pull out a much-needed win on the road.

BEARS STILL CARE

Given all the drama surrounding the Bears in the days leading up to Thursday’s game, it wouldn’t have been surprising if they came out completely flat and laid an egg in Detroit. But they didn’t. That’s not to say the Bears played great, because they didn’t, but they played with energy and did not appear to be phoning it in. One of Matt Nagy’s best qualities as a head coach has been keeping his team together, even through serious adversity. By the looks of it, Nagy hasn’t lost the locker room yet, despite reports indicating otherwise.

YOU GET A FLAG, AND YOU GET A FLAG!

The Bears finally met their match… in the penalty department. While they have put themselves behind the sticks, or given their opponents a fresh set of downs, due to silly penalties all season long, on Thursday it was the Lions who shot themselves in the foot more than the Bears. One of their more impressive moments was committing a false start, holding and then another false start in succession to set up a dreaded 1st-and-30. In the fourth quarter, the Lions had another drive where they committed three penalties in a row. Truly incredible. That’s not to say the Bears were perfect by any means. On one drive, they had two first downs taken away by holding calls. The second one also knocked them back far enough that Cairo Santos missed a 53-yard field goal attempt. In all there were 15 penalties for 117 yards called against both teams combined. Blegh.

SECONDARY HELP NEEDED

The Bears opted to start Artie Burns as the second cornerback beside Jaylon Johnson, but the results were the same on the Lions’ very first drive of the game. Josh Reynolds was able to shake Burns for an easy score. Burns played better after that initial moment, but the defense as a whole still allowed Jared Goff to pick them apart all day long. He finished 21-25 for 171 yards and two touchdowns. There may have been another communication breakdown as well. On T.J. Hockenson’s touchdown, Johnson appeared to be late to rotate over after Caleb Johnson passed him off. Johnson was in the game because Christian Jones had committed an unnecessary roughness penalty earlier in the drive, so you could argue it was another instance of bad penalties making a big impact for the team, too. Regardless, cornerback is a position the Bears will need to pursue aggressively this coming offseason.

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