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Bears Matchup Flashback: Bears Roar, Lions Whimper in Week 1

Chicago and Detroit last faced off in Week 1 of this season when an epic Lions choke job helped the Bears notched their first win.

Bears Lions
Photo: Paul Sancya/Associated Press

This Sunday, the Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions square off for the second and final time in 2020. Both teams are spiraling into irrelevance, although some may say the Lions have always been there. The 5-6 Bears, losers of five straight, will host the 4-7 Lions at Soldier Field.

This upcoming matchup will be much different for Detroit. The Lions fired general manager Bob Quinn and head coach Matt Patricia last Saturday. They will be led by interim head coach and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell.

History

The Monsters of the Midway have had the Lions’ number of late. In the Matt Nagy era, Chicago is 5-0 against Detroit — a nice chance of pace from recent history. Between 2013-2017, the Bears logged a pitiful 1-9 record against the Lions. Before 2013, however, the Bears enjoyed a favorable 9-1 dating back to 2008. These two teams have locked horns 181 times and the Bears own a 102-74-5 head-to-head advantage against the bottom-dwellers of the NFC North.

As is customary in the Bears Matchup Flashback series, let’s take a look back at the most recent meeting before a new chapter of the rivalry commences.

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Previous Meeting

Prelude

The day was September 13th, 2020. It was Week 1 of the NFL season, one which came with a great deal of skepticism given the COVID-19 pandemic. There was a limited training camp and no preseason. A Chicago Bears quarterback controversy had drawn to a close, or so we thought. Mitchell Trubisky was named the starter just days prior to the season opener.

Nevertheless, the time had come. The Bears and Lions kicked off the 2020 season and fans were just happy to have football, albeit without fans in the stands.

First Half

It’s a tradition like any other: a Bears/Lions game always gets off to a sloppy start. In typical Bears fashion, the offense struggled to find a groove. Trubisky looked much like 2019 Trubisky. The defense was bending but not breaking and Danny Trevathan looked old and slow. The defense looked a step behind and noticeably missed Eddie Goldman.

It was only fitting that Adrian Peterson, who had just signed with the Lions six days prior, experienced a rebirth. He looked like AP of old. After the teams traded a pair of field goals, the Lions broke a 6-6 tie to carry a 13-6 lead at halftime.

Second Half

Immediately out of the locker room, the Lions marched down the field to the tune of 72 yards on eight plays and scored a touchdown. Following a Bears punt, the Lions added a field goal to extend their lead to 23-6. Down 17, Mitchell Trubisky and the Bears responded with a touchdown of their own on the ensuing drive. They marched 59 yards on 11 plays when Jimmy Graham found pay dirt for his first TD as a Chicago Bear.

Eventually, both teams would trade punts before Matt Prater shanked a 55-yard field goal attempt wide right. Behind Trubisky, the Bears would swiftly move 55 yards on five plays and score a touchdown on a one-yard pass to Javon Wims. Chicago had cut Detroit’s 17-point lead down to just three.

With just under three minutes left in the game, the Lions had a chance to secure their first win. However, the Lions are gonna Lions; Detroit sucks. Matthew Stafford’s pass intended to Marvin Jones was picked off by Kyle Fuller and returned to the Detroit 37. This couldn’t have been possible without rookie Jaylon Johnson’s perfectly-timed hit on Jones.

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The Finish

Consequently, the Bears would strike quickly with a go-ahead touchdown when Trubisky found Anthony Miller for a 27-yard pass down the sideline. A scoring drive that went 37 yards on two plays only took 0:41 off the clock, however.

As a result, it left plenty of time for the Lions to respond. Did they ever. Detroit took over at their own 25 with 1:54 left in the game. They meticulously drove the length of the field with the Bears defense on their heels. Hence, Matthew Stafford’s late-game magic was in full force. Now the Lions were at the Bears’ 16 with all four downs to work with, but the caveat was that the clock was running.

Stafford had to burn first down to spike the ball and stop the clock. Next up was second and ten. Stafford took the snap, dropped back, and let it rip to find a wide-open D’Andre Swift in the end zone! OFF HIS HANDS. The rookie running back out of Georgia had the game-winning TD in his hands and just flat-out dropped it. OUCH.

Of course this one came down to the very last play. Stafford took the snap and dropped back, but a lack of open options caused him to roll out to the right. He heaved it across the field to the left side of the end zone to Marvin Jones… ultimately the pass was broken up by, who else, Jaylon Johnson. BEARS WIN, 27-23!

In conclusion, the Lions are gonna Lions.

How will the next meeting between these NFC North foes unfold? Find out on Sunday when the Lions and Bears face off at Soldier Field. Kickoff is scheduled for 12 PM CT and the game will be televised on FOX.


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