The Bears struggled on both sides of the ball Sunday throughout a 41-10 loss to the Lions in Detroit.
After opening the game with back-to-back scoring drives and totaling 140 yards of offense in the first quarter, the Bears were held scoreless the remainder of the game. Through the final three quarters, the Bears offense recorded just 90 yards and five first downs.
The Bears defense gave up five touchdown drives of at least 60 yards and allowed 504 yards of total offense, including 265 yards on the ground, led by running backs Jamaal Williams and D'Andre Swift. Williams recorded 144 yards on 22 carries and a touchdown while Swift rushed for 78 yards and a score on 11 carries.
"It doesn't sit well," coach Matt Eberflus said about the big run plays allowed. "When the ball comes through there – first of all, you've got to be real strong in the middle. So, what we saw on the pictures and all that, we're getting knocked out of our gaps inside and then the ball comes to there and like I've said in the past, when it does come through, the safety's got to get him on the ground. There were a couple situations there where the safety was right there, and he ended up missing the tackle. So, we've got to do a better job of that to minimize those gains."
Quarterback Justin Fields continued to excel in the run game, leading the Bears with 132 rushing yards on 10 carries. On the opening drive, Fields had a 31-yard run, allowing him to pass Michael Vick's 1,039 rushing yards during the 2006 season and sit at No. 2 all-time on the NFL's single-season rushing list among quarterbacks.
Fields completed seven of his 21 pass attempts for 75 yards while throwing a touchdown and an interception. The second-year pro was also sacked seven times.
"We had seven sacks against us," Eberflus said. "That's quarterback, the offensive line, getting rid of the ball, taking care of the football, and that's all 11 of us protecting the quarterback. And also, when it breaks down, him getting rid of the ball. So that's really a function of that. Obviously, it still needs to be better though. The passing game needs to be better, we've got to do a better job of getting chunk plays and giving him time to get him chunk plays and the protection's got to be there too."
Lions quarterback Jared Goff completed 21 of his 29 passes for 255 yards and three touchdowns.
With the Bears' ninth straight loss, they fell to 3-13, while the Lions moved to 8-8 with the victory.
For the 12th time this season, the Bears opened the game with a scoring drive, taking a 7-0 lead, as Fields connected with tight end Cole Kmet for a 13-yard touchdown. After a pair of plays for no gain to start the possession, a defensive holding penalty resulted in a first down. On third-and-1, Kmet took a direct snap and pitched it to Fields, who rushed 31 yards to the Detroit 21. With the run, Fields passed Michael Vick's 1,039 rushing yards during the 2006 season, putting the second-year pro No. 2 all-time on the single-season QB rushing list. Then on third-and-2 from the 13, Fields dropped back and found Kmet wide open on the right side, and the tight end raced into the end zone for the score.
"Yeah, I knew that play was going to be a good play," Fields said on the 31-yard run. "Of course, we ran that QB sneak with Cole a few weeks ago, so we've been practicing that play for about two, three weeks now, and finally got it off the play-call sheet, so it was good play-calling, good execution."
The Lions fired right back with a touchdown drive on their opening possession, tying the score at 7-7 with 6:45 left in the first quarter. Goff connected with receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown for a 28-yard gain to reach Chicago territory, but a couple plays later, an offensive holding penalty set the Lions back to the 50. While the Bears defense got a third-down stop, the Lions went for it on fourth-and-4. Goff's deep ball to receiver D.J. Chark in the end zone was incomplete, but cornerback Kyler Gordon was flagged for a 34-yard pass interference penalty, setting the Lions up with first-and-goal at the 1. Goff then connected with tight end Brock Wright for a two-yard touchdown.
The Bears grabbed a 10-7 lead on the next possession after kicker Cairo Santos made a 23-yard field goal. On third-and-4, Fields flashed his athleticism again by scrambling up the middle and speeding past Lions' defenders for a 60-yard gain to reach the Detroit 9. However, the drive stalled after Fields was sacked for a loss of three yards on third-and-2 from the 2.
A second straight touchdown drive gave the Lions a 14-10 lead at the start of the second quarter. Goff completed another deep ball, this time finding Chark wide open over the middle for a 28-yard gain to the Chicago 29. Three plays later, Goff pitched the ball to Williams, who rushed up the middle untouched for a 17-yard score.
Goff and Wright connected for another score to put the Lions up 21-10 with 4:16 remaining in the first half. Williams carried the ball three times for 21 yards on the drive and caught a 13-yard pass from Goff. On first-and-goal, Goff faked a handoff, dropped back then threw a short pass to Wright, who powered into the end zone.
On the ensuing possession, the Lions got the first takeaway of the game as linebacker James Houston stripped the ball from Fields on a scramble and defensive end Aidan Hutchinson recovered the fumble at midfield. While Goff completed three straight passes of over 10 yards to reach the Chicago 13, the Bears defense held the Lions on third down. Kicker Michael Badgley came out on fourth-and-1 and made a 23-yard field goal, giving the Lions a 24-10 just before halftime.
Receiver Velus Jones Jr. had a 63-yard kick return to set the Bears offense up at the Detroit 45 with seven seconds left in the first half, but Fields' pass intended for receiver Byron Pringle was intercepted by Hutchinson.
"That play right there was a call-and-run-it play," Fields said. "We didn't expect that look, and to be honest with you, I should have just thrown the ball away. I don't know why I did that, but you live and you learn, and just keep getting better."
After receiving the kickoff out of halftime, the Lions scored a fourth touchdown to extend their lead to 31-10. While defensive end Trevis Gipson sacked Goff to bring up third-and-18, Swift rushed up the middle, spun out of a tackle and broke free for 35 yards to reach the Chicago 48. On the next play, Jameson Williams got the handoff and took it 40 yards down to the 8. Swift had a 6-yard carry, then Jamaal Williams punched in the score from two yards out.
A 21-yard touchdown pass from Goff to Swift put the Lions up 38-10 with 6:36 left in the third quarter. Detroit's 7-play, 92-yard scoring drive was fueled by Goff's 28-yard pass to Chark and 16-yard completion to receiver Kalif Raymond. On second-and-9, Goff threw a short pass to Swift, who turned upfield and cut through the defense to reach the end zone.
The Lions tacked on a 41-yard field goal with under three minutes to play in the game to extend the lead to 41-10.
Watch the Bears' Week 17 matchup against the Detroit Lions unfold through the lenses of our sideline photographers at Ford Field.