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Bears defense struggles in lopsided loss to Lions


DETROIT – The Bears defense provided little resistance in a 41-10 loss to the Lions Sunday at Ford Field, allowing touchdown drives of 75, 75, 63, 75 and 92 yards on Detroit's first seven possessions.

The Bears permitted season highs of 504 total yards and 265 rushing yards—including runs of 58, 40 and 35 yards. Jamaal Williams rushed for 144 yards on 22 carries, including his NFL-leading 15th rushing TD of the year, while D'Andre Swift added 78 yards on 11 attempts.

"We misfit the run, that's probably the biggest thing," said linebacker Nicholas Morrow. "They did a good job of finding certain holes in the zone. And if we were in pressures, they found a good way to fit them up, and we just didn't execute in the end. Without looking at the film, I can't say exactly what happened. But we've got to fit the run better."

Jared Goff completed 21 of 29 passes for 255 yards with three touchdowns and a 133.5 passer rating while not throwing an interception in his eighth straight start. In four games with the Lions against the Bears, Goff has connected on 88 of 118 passes for 961 yards with eight TDs and no interceptions.

"We've got to do a good job in the run game, being in our gaps," said coach Matt Eberflus. "In-game we've got to do a good job of pressuring the quarterback, staying in our coverage. If it's match coverage or zone coverage, we've got to do a better job there."

In suffering their most lopsided loss of the year, the Bears have now permitted at least 25 points in nine straight games for the first time in franchise history.

"It can be discouraging, but I think it's really about us not giving up," said defensive end Trevis Gipson. "I think it will all start to get discouraging when you see guys give up on their brothers, and we haven't done that. If you look at the tape, we fight until the end."

"I'll never use the word discouraged, but very disappointing obviously," said safety DeAndre Houston-Carson. "Put a lot of work into it, and when you have days like this, it's just disappointing … Unfortunately, sometimes you get punched in the face. That's what happened to us today. We've just got to learn from it."

What was the main issue with the defense?

"I speak for myself," Houston-Carson said. "You've got to be introspective and look at yourself and see what you can do, how can you learn from it. I feel like I didn't have a good enough day tackling. There were a couple where I let them get out. There was one at the end where I missed a tackle and [Jamaal Williams] went up the sideline. I feel like everybody's got to do that."

Watch the Bears' Week 17 matchup against the Detroit Lions unfold through the lenses of our sideline photographers at Ford Field.

Turn of events

On the second play of the second half, Gipson and Dominique Robinson teamed up to sack Goff. It was the first sack by the Bears defensive line since Nov. 27 by tackle Armon Watts in a road loss to the Jets.

The sack put the defense in position to get off the field. But on third-and-18, Swift gained 35 yards on a draw play up the middle and speedy receiver Jameson Williams followed on the next play with a 40-yard burst on a jet sweep. Two plays later, Jamaal Williams' 2-yard TD run gave the Lions a 31-10 lead.

"For a second it was relief, we finally got to him," Gipson said. "Me and Dom talk all the time; we've been hunting down the quarterback for three months now, and it's been tough. It didn't matter who got the sack. The quarterback was down, so I was happy. I celebrated, dapped him up, hugged him. Lining up for the next play, [I thought], 'we broke the ice, let's get it going,' and then they hit us with a draw. That's when they got that big gain."

Gipson was philosophical about the dramatic turn of events.

"You can never take a deep breath because when you take a deep breath, that's when you swallow water, and it can be tough," he said. "You can never get too high and never get too low because as soon as you turn away, you might get punched."

Double whammy

The Bears (3-13) have now lost nine straight games for the first time in franchise history.

"Any time you lose that many games in a row, that bothers me," Morrow said. "Whether it's a blowout or one possession, you don't want to lose and you don't want to play bad either, so it's kind of a double whammy."

"It's frustrating," said tight end Cole Kmet. "It's hard not to be frustrated. Every level I've been at I've been a winner, and I want to win. That doesn't go away, despite the record, despite where we're at and all those things.

"It's just about coming to work every day. We're coming in tomorrow. We have one more week here in the season and I plan on giving it my all this last game and then going into the offseason putting in a lot of work to turn this thing around."

The Bears will look to snap their skid next weekend when they host the NFC North champion Vikings in the regular season finale at Soldier Field.

"We've got one game [left]," Morrow said. "We can go out how we want to go out at this point. We can either lay down or we can go out and fight. That's where we are."