The Thanksgiving Day game between the Detroit Lions and the Chicago Bears was challenging to watch. From the terrible playing calling to the boneheaded penalties, it wasn’t a game that fans of either team would give “thanks” for being able to witness. In the end, the Bears defeated the Lions 16-14, with the Lions losing their third game of the season on a game-winning field goal in the closing moments.
Several Lions’ players, such as Alex Anzalone, dropped to their knees, seemingly stunned that they lost their 10th game of the season.
Throughout the entire game, the Lions’ offense showcased a lack of discipline. And it starts with the penalties. The Lions’ offense managed to receive three consecutive flags twice in the game, hindering their offense. The first trio of penalties came in the second quarter. Officials flagged them for two false starts (on Jamaal Williams and T.J. Hockenson) while center Evan Brown received a flag for holding. The set of flags took the Lions out of field goal range, forcing them to punt.
The next trio happened in the fourth quarter.
Again, Brown found himself getting another flag. This time, however, it was for a false start. Taylor Decker and Tommy Kraemer chipped in on this set with two holding penalties, forcing another Lions punt.
The Lions finished the game with ten penalties for 67 yards.
It was an unfortunate turn of events, especially after how the game started. After missing Sunday’s game vs. the Browns, Jared Goff returned under center for the Lions. He showed no signs of the rib injury, arguably playing his best game in a Lions uniform.
Goff finished went 21-for-25 for 171 yards and two touchdowns. Goff hooked up with Josh Reynold on a beautiful 39-yard pass on his first touchdown of the afternoon. The second one came on a 17-yard pass to T.J. Hockenson.
Unfortunately for the Lions, that was it as far as scoring. And a large part of the blame falls on Dan Campbell.
Earlier this season, Campbell began to earn a reputation for being risky, a daredevil, some might say. However, since taking over play-calling duties from Anthony Lynn, Campbell has proved he’s no Matt Murdock. From calling halfback draws to several screens in a row, the Lions’ offense has stalled.
Despite all of this, the Lions still had chances to win this game. Their defense made enough plays. In Dan Campbell’s own words, when you can hold an opposing team to 16 points, that’s a good job. In this case apparently, it’s not good enough.
After Thursday’s loss, the Lions now sit at 0-10-1. And with six weeks left in the season, it’s a mystery when the Lions will win their first game this season if they do. There were expectations they’d pull it out against against the Eagles before the bye week. Then the 44-6 avalanche happened. The Steelers and Browns games also appeared to be potential wins for the Lions. And they tied the Steelers then laid down to the Browns.
As the Lions go regroup for their next game, which is at home against the Vikings, they’ll have to answer a ton of questions. One of the biggest ones that’s now starting to surface is if Dan Campbell is the right man to lead this team. Granted, the Lions have tons of injuries and are devoid of true playmakers. However, they’re losing games due to a clear lack of focus and discipline. Along with that, also in Campbell’s own words, they’ve lost games due to their preparation.
The responsibility for that alone falls squarely on the shoulders of the head coach.
Other Tidbits on today’s Lions-Bears game
- Amani Oruwariye notched his fifth interception of the season, the eighth of his career. Additionally, he’s the first Lions defensive back to have at least five interceptions in a season since 2017. In 2017, Darius Slay had eight interceptions, which tied Titans’ Kevin Byard for the most in the league.
- Andy Dalton improved to 3-0 all-time vs. the Lions with his second 300+ passing yard game against them. Dalton finished with 317 yards, one touchdown, and one interception.
- Bears head coach Matt Nagy, whose job reportedly was on the line, improved to 7-1 all-time coaching against the Lions.
- After the game, Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell stated that D’Andre Swift’s shoulder injury is “wait and see” at the moment.
- After losing to the Bears, the Detroit Lions are now 37-43-2 all-time on Thanksgiving Day games.
Follow Kory Woods on Twitter at KoryEWoods.