The Bears rallied for a 24-20 win over the Lions on Thanksgiving Day at Ford Field in Detroit. Here are three things that stood out in the game:
(1) Mitchell Trubisky's performance was probably the best example yet of the quarterback employing coach Matt Nagy's "next-play" mentality.
After throwing his only interception of the game early in the third quarter, Trubisky completed 10 of 11 passes for 165 yards with two touchdowns and a perfect 158.3 passer rating on the Bears' final three possessions.
With the Bears trailing 17-10, Trubisky connected on 6 of 6 passes for 84 yards on a 9-play, 80-yard drive that he capped by lofting an 18-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jesper Horsted, tying the score 17-17.
After the Lions had taken a 20-17 lead on Matt Prater's 24-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter, Trubisky masterfully engineered a game-winning 9-play, 90-yard drive that he concluded with a 3-yard TD pass to running back David Montgomery with 2:17 remaining. Trubisky completed 4 of 5 passes for 81 yards on the drive, including 35- and 32-yarders both to receiver Anthony Miller to convert crucial third-down plays.
"After the interception, he comes back and he's throwing completions," Nagy said Friday. "And then we were behind the chains a little bit, and he never let that rattle him. He made conviction throws. [Thursday] is probably a great example of all yearlong of him coming back with that next-play mentality."
Trubisky finished the game completing 29 of 38 passes for a season-high 338 yards with three touchdowns, one interception and a 118.1 passer rating.
(2) The Bears offensive line played one of its best games of the season, both providing excellent pass protection and creating running lanes.
Trubisky was sacked only once while throwing 38 passes and rookie running back David Montgomery rushed for 75 yards on 16 carries, averaging a robust 4.7 yards per attempt.
"You could just feel our offensive linemen getting to the second level with their blocks," Nagy said. "David was running hard. He was breaking tackles. He had a 14- or 15-yard run that got called back, so his average might have been even higher and he might have gotten close to cracking 100 yards.
"But I felt it as a play-caller. You felt like you were getting to second-and-5, second-and-4 more than second-and-9 and second-and-8, and that's a credit to our offensive line."
Montgomery ran with power and patience Thursday, hesitating for an instant on some runs before bursting through a hole.
"We always talk about, 'It's not speed to the hole, but speed through the hole,'" Nagy said. "There's patience getting there, and then once you get there now you've got to feel, 'OK, where's the defense going,' and you react off of that and he has a nice burst right there. Early on in the game he had one where he ran it in the middle, he froze and then he busted it to the right.
"I think that David has really, really good vision. He had great feel for where defenders are going to be and then when they get there he does a great job of breaking tackles, has good contact balance."
(3) After getting hit with a couple of quick jabs early, a Bears defense led by Roquan Smith kept the Lions out of the end zone the rest of the game.
The Bears defense had allowed only 18 points in the first quarter in the first 11 games of the season before the Lions put up 14 points in the opening period Thursday.
Undrafted rookie quarterback David Blough, who was forced to start due to injuries to Matthew Stafford and Jeff Driskel, entered the game having never taken an NFL regular-season snap. But that didn't prevent the Purdue product from completing 4 of 6 passes for 131 yards and two touchdowns on Detroit's first two drives, giving the Lions a surprising 14-7 lead.
The Bears defense recovered, however, keeping Detroit out of the end zone on its final nine possessions of the game. Fueling the effort was Smith, who recorded a team-leading and career-high 15 tackles and two sacks. His second sack came on a well-timed blitz up the middle when he dropped Blough for a 13-yard loss on third-and-9 with :36 to play.
"That's a huge play in the game right there, to move them back field-position-wise," Nagy said. "You can just see that it really seems like his confidence is there, his instincts are there and he's playing fast."
Smith became the third player in NFL history to compile at least 15 tackles and two sacks in a game, joining linebackers Vinny Rey of the Bengals and Patrick Willis of the 49ers.
See the best photos–as selected by Bears photographers–from Thursday's Week 13 win over the Detroit Lions at Ford Field during Thanksgiving.