The NFC North has once again brought the heat this week with two divisional rivalries. First up, with the Bears facing the Lions, continuing the tradition of Thanksgiving Football at Ford Field which first began in 1970. A win for Chicago would’ve seen them increase their stronghold on the North, whilst a win for Detroit could’ve rejuvenated their season. Unfortunately, the result could only have one victor, thus the Chicago Bears claimed the victory, 16-23.
Backup Brilliance – Chase Daniel
Mitchell Trubisky’s shoulder injury kept him sidelined for the rivalry, therefore backup Chase Daniel got the call. Confidence was high entering the clash as both Matt Nagy and Daniel felt they were in safe hands. And that they were.
In the game, Daniel completed 27 of 37 passes for 230 yards and 2 touchdowns. What’s more impressive is that he made smart decisions and steered clear of forcing the ball into danger. Additionally, he demonstrated a desire to win as he rushed 4 times in several attempts to gain a first down, despite limited success.
Head Coach Matt Nagy commended Daniel for his efforts: “I just want to say what a great job Chase Daniel did, coming in here, that’s why you have a guy like that.”
Surprisingly, the Bears were also bereft of a run game, with Jordan Howard’s 7 carries providing just 13 yards. Regardless, Daniel was effective in the pass game after multiple defensive stops kept the score in their favour.
Speaking of defence, the Chicago Bears, as ever, were absolutely immense. Namely, Roquan Smith who had 11 tackles and 1 sack in another standout performance in his rookie year. Furthermore, Eddie Jackson grabbed his fifth pick-six of his career which put the Bears ahead by eight with less than half of the fourth to play. Finally, Kyle Fuller put an end to the bout after creating an interception in the end zone.
— NFL (@NFL) November 22, 2018
Smith addressed the media after the win, stating: “We have to continue going in the right direction and never get complacent, and just keep the wheels turning.”
Lions Left Wounded in Detroit
The Lions led twice in the game, including taking a 9-13 lead into the fourth quarter. However, somewhat shoddy quarterbacking and losing the turnover battle halted any chance of capturing the win.
Matthew Stafford was similarly accurate to Chase Daniel however, as he completed 28 of 38 for 236 yards. He also setup two end zone opportunities for LeGarette Blount who scored two touchdowns. The aforementioned Blount had his most successful game in a Lion jersey with 19 carries for 88 yards and the two TD’s.
— NFL Research (@NFLResearch) November 22, 2018
On the other hand, the interceptions were outright careless. Stafford was at fault for the pick-six in particular which handed the Bears the lead, as he misread the open field. After the game, many fans took to social media to vent their negativity from the game. With many questioning the longevity of Staffords career in the Motor City.
Not All Doom and Gloom
It certainly wasn’t all doom and gloom at Ford Field. Defensively, the Lions performed well. For example, Glover Quinn notched 8 tackles and 1 sack, whilst Damon Harrison was disruptive at the line of scrimmage with 3 tackles and 1.5 sacks of his own. Moreover, Ezekiel Ansah (1) and Romeo Okwara (0.5) etched their names on the sack list too. In addition, DeShawn Shead was able to force a fumble early on in the game, but alas it was to no avail in the end.
All things considered, the loss really mirrored everything this season has represented for Detroit. By that I mean, they’ve always contended, especially in the bigger occasions and have even defeated top teams, yet they cannot produce the final product when it counts. In all likelihood their season is over, yet there’s a lot riding on this season, especially for Matthew Stafford.
Prepare Yourself – The Bears Are Coming
After another vital divisional W the Bears improve to 8-3. They’re now unbeaten in five games and travel to New York to take on the Giants next. As for the Lions, they falter to 4-7 and are subsequently rewarded with a visit from none other than the Los Angeles Rams.
Image Credit – @chicagobears on Twitter