By Bryan Dietzler
The Chicago Bears played host to the Detroit Lions this Sunday at Soldier Field in their second divisional game in a row. Chicago played well in the first half but stalled out a bit in the second half. Still, they managed to keep it close. In the end, Chicago couldn’t get a tying field goal through the uprights and they lost 27-24.
Here is how the game unfolded including some of the key plays that happened throughout the game.
The Bears got the ball first and went on a methodical drive using a good mix of running and passing. That drive included a big pass to tight end Adam Shaheen, but the Bears couldn’t capitalize and score a touchdown. Instead, they settled for a 23-yard Connor Barth field goal to make it 3-0. It was their first score on an opening drive of a game all season.
Detroit got the ball after that and Chicago’s defense came through as Akiem Hicks recovered a Matthew Stafford fumble (thanks to a Nick Kwiatkoski sack/strip) to end Detroit’s drive. Chicago got a big run down to the five-yard line by Jordan Howard and capped the drive off with a Mitchell Trubisky to Shaheen touchdown pass.
The Bears went up 10-0 with 3:23 left in the first quarter.
The Bears got the ball back after a stalled Detroit drive. On that drive, the snap was mishandled by Trubisky. Detroit’s D.J. Hayden scooped the ball up and ran it into the end zone. That made it 10-7 with 14:00 left in the second quarter. On their next possession, Chicago capped off a long drive with a Howard touchdown to go up 17-7 with 8:30 left in the first half.
On Detroit’s next possession they scored a touchdown on a pass from Stafford to Marvin Jones for 28 yards. With the extra point, the Lions closed to within three of the Bears, 17-14. Chicago got the ball back with 5:17 left in the second quarter and had to punt after the drive stalled. With 3:43 left, Detroit got the ball back and went up 21-17 on a Stafford to Ameer Abdullah touchdown pass.
That’s how the half would end.
The Lions got the ball first to start the second half and were forced to punt. The Bears couldn’t do anything on their next drive and went three and out. The Lions had to punt on their next possession and the Bears got the ball back inside their own five-yard line. Chicago was unable to get that far on that drive and gave the ball back to Detroit. The Lions fell short in that drive and gave the ball back to Chicago.
The Bears started a drive with 4:18 left in the third quarter and ended it with a punt. On Detroit’s next possession, both Kyle Fuller and Leonard Floyd went out with injuries. There will be more on that later.
Detroit would be held to a field goal on that same possession making it 24-17 with 10:01 left in the game. The Bears would get some big runs and passes, as well as a roughing the passer penalty in their favor and cap a tying drive off with a touchdown by Tarik Cohen.
The game would be tied up at 24 all with 5:02 to go.
The Lions took the ensuing kickoff and drove towards the Bears end of the field but stalled out and had to kick a 52-yard field goal. The field goal was good, and it gave Detroit a 27-24 lead with 1:35 left in the game. The Bears had one shot to tie it up or take the lead.
The Bears managed to get close enough to try a 47-yard field goal attempt, but Connor Barth pushed it right with three seconds left. Chicago lost the game.
Interesting to note is the 4th down run Trubisky had on that drive to keep the drive alive. It was a thing of beauty.
News and Notes
Injuries hit the Bears at bad times during this game. I had mentioned that Fuller and Floyd went out on the same play. Fuller came back in and his injury was noted as a wrist issue. But Floyd’s injury appeared to be much more serious and could keep him out for longer. He sprained some ligaments in his knee after struck by Fuller on the play. Floyd was carted off the field.
Bearsgab will update you on what is happening with Floyd when more information is unveiled.
We also saw Josh Bellamy leave the game and not come back. He suffered a concussion and is going through the NFL’s concussion protocol. There were some minor injuries suffered by a few other players who missed a few plays including Eddie Goldman (wrist), Akiem Hicks (leg), and Bobby Massie (hand).
We will see how they progress as the week goes on.
I touch on this every week. The Bears, once again, had critical penalties at critical times in this game. Possibly the most damaging of all the penalties was Kyle Long’s late hit, which drew an unnecessary roughness penalty for 15 yards wiping out a nice run by Trubisky. That set the Bears back. Long had another penalty, being an illegal man downfield, which cost the Bears five yards and put them behind the chains again.
Overall, the Bears had five penalties for 64 yards. It was a little better this week, but they still need to eliminate those critical penalties at critical times.
This write-up wouldn’t be complete without saying something about tight end Adam Shaheen. Coming from a Division II program, it was thought that Shaheen’s learning curve would be steep. Some felt that he wouldn’t be ready for the big time until 2018. But an injury to Zach Miller and Dion Sims’ illness has forced Shaheen to take a larger role in the offense. He proved Sunday he can be a good pass catching and blocking tight end.
His touchdown catch was a high point in the game.
Shaheen is catching on but still has a lot of learning to do. It’s nice to see him finally start to pan out though and make a difference in his first year in the league.
After missing that critical kick on Sunday, Connor Barth was released, and Cairos Santos was brought in. Santos should help cure what ailed the Bears in the kicking game and give them a weapon that they can use to score points and win close games. It’s sad that it took Chicago so long to conclude that Barth was not a good fit. And Barth cost them some games in the past as well.
Hopefully, the Bears don’t make such a horrible mistake at the kicking position again.
Chicago will travel to Philadelphia to take on the red-hot Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles are coming off a big win against division rival Dallas. We will have a full preview of that game coming up later in the week.