Chase Daniel was solid, and the Bears defense opportunistic in a Thanksgiving Day win over the Lions
DETROIT – What most fans figured would happen indeed took place on Thursday afternoon. It was No. 4 and not No. 10 that came out to lead the offense onto Ford Field.
Chase Daniel was into the lineup for Mitchell Trubisky at quarterback, the move being made official late in the morning on Thanksgiving. It was the first quarterback other than the 2017 first round pick to take the field at that position in 22 games. For Daniel, it was his first start in nearly four years.
Yet in the end it would be the most reliable part of the Bears that would come through in the clutch. Like usual, Vic Fangio’s unit did it with some flair.
Two late interceptions, including one for a touchdown, along with the solid play of Daniel in place of Truibsky helped the Bears to a 23-16 Thanksgiving Day victory over Detroit. The victory improved them to 8-3 on the season as they continue to hold their lead in the NFC North.
Eddie Jackson’s fourth-quarter interception return for a touchdown proved to be the difference as the Bears won their fifth consecutive game.
Daniel finished his first start since December 28, 2014 with two touchdowns and no interceptions, hitting on 27-of-37 passes for 230 yards in an attack that remained pass-heavy despite Trubisky’s absence. The Bears only ran the ball 15 times on the game.
Defense reigned in the first quarter but Detroit got on the board thanks in part to some help from a Bears’ giveaway. Trey Burton’s fumble and subsequent recovery along with a return gave the Lions the ball at the Bears’ 40-yard line. It took nine plays – including a fourth-down conversion that came off a tipped pass – but Detroit reached the endzone on a LeGarrett Blount run to make it 7-0.
The Bears’ controlled the rest of the half as Daniel led a pair of scoring drives following the Detroit score. He nearly got seven points on the first, but a throw to an open Tarik Cohen in the endzone was a bit off the mark, forcing the Bears to settle with a Cody Parkey 40-yard field goal. Daniel finished the job late on the next series, completing quick 5-play, 65-yard drive with a ten-yard touchdown throw to Taquan Mazzell. The two-point try was no good so the Bears led it 9-7 at the break.
Both defenses controlled the pace for much of the third quarter till the Lions broke through on a few big plays from Matt Stafford. He hit Kenny Golladay on a 43-yard pass then found Theo Riddick for a gain of 17. Blount used another punishing run to finish off the drive with a score, but the Lions’ missed two-point conversion kept it 13-9.
Daniel responded with an 82-yard drive of his own, aided by a pair of Detroit penalties. The quarterback redeemed himself after missing Cohen open in the endzone in the first half by finding him on a a similar play for a 14-yard touchdown which made it 16-13. Stafford did his part to respond leading a 73-yard march that stalled inside the Bears’ five-yard line, leading to a Matt Prater field goal to tie it up.
Then the Bears defense came up with another score in 2018 from a familiar face. Eddie Jackson cut in front of Michael Roberts and picked off Stafford’s pass, returning it 41 yards for the touchdown to make it 23-16. It’s the third touchdown of the year for Jackson and the fifth of his career.
Detroit made one last push to tie the game, driving to the Bears’ 11-yard line with just over a minute left. But Kyle Fuller ended the game with an endzone interception on an overthrow by Stafford, as they survived a game without their starting quarterback to continue a memorable season.