6 reasons the Detroit Lions lost to the Chicago Bears

The Detroit Lions are 0-10-1 this season and are coming off their third field goal loss of the season. Make no mistake, the Lions have been in late games a number of times this season, but their lack of ability to close a game has kept them from winning a game all year.

While the effort from the players is present, there are still several instances where the Lions shoot themselves in the foot and cost them opportunities. So that brings us to the question of the day:

Who is most responsible for the Lions’ defeat on Thanksgiving?

Let’s take a look at the Lions’ most egregious missteps on Thursday.

Violation – Lack of execution, failed to complete first tries

While Jared Goff was effective (21 of 25 for 171 yards and two touchdowns), he averages only 6.8 yards per pass and his check-downs have often resulted in games that have fallen short of sticks . The Lions only had 13 first downs during the day, and there was a stretch from the middle of the second quarter to the end of the third, where they ran without any first downs.

Offensive line – Hold and false start penalties

The Lions had 10 penalties that day, but it looked more like 100. It was the doubling and tripling of penalties in back-to-back games that were mind-boggling. Twice, the Lions have found themselves in third and 32nd. Twice.

Dan Campbell – Lack of creativity in attack, debacle of time out at the end

Much of the offensive stagnation was due to Goff checking his passes, but there’s a lot of blame that can be attributed to Dan Campbell and his offensive play choices.

Then there’s the late-game double time-out debacle. The Lions were facing the clock as much as they were facing the Chicago Bears late in the game and Campbell tried to save a touchdown by calling a time out. The problem was, you can’t do this in the NFL after calling a time out on the previous game. This put the Bears in third and manageable position, allowing for an easy first down, and an eventual clock draining two minutes of kneeling, followed by the winning basket.

It obviously would have served the Lions better if he hadn’t called the time out. But even if they allowed a touchdown it still wouldn’t have been the end of the world as they would have recovered the ball with just under two minutes and two timeouts in their pockets. Not ideal, mind you, but better than the result.

Aaron Glenn – Off Coverage on Third and Short Delay

Speaking of the late game third and manageable. Even after Campbell’s time-out bungle put them in a rough spot, Glenn’s play appeal was the nail in the coffin. With a third and a 4 critical, again the Lions kept the end zone instead of the first down with ridiculously wide coverage, giving the Bears an easy first down and ultimately the game.

Glenn has been fantastic lately, but it was an opportunity to help the team overcome a mistake, and instead he compiled it.

Defense – Allow 8 and a half minutes to drive to close the match

The Lions were up one point with eight and a half minutes to go and Chicago was 79 yards from the end zone. The Bears worked their way methodically onto the field, making seven first downs on their last down. Yes, they were gassed, but no one stepped in to make a necessary play.

Front-seven – Lack of pressure

Levi Onwuzurike recorded his first career sack, impressively shooting and mastering his way to the quarterback. Other than that, Bears quarterback Andy Dalton has had far too much time to pace the field and finish his shots. The Lions got creative in deploying three edge rushers to the field at the same time, but the end result was the same. The lack of pressure led to extensive training and an eventual victory for the Bears.

My answer: Campbell

Since taking over, Campbell’s focus on the rest of the elements of a head coach has suffered. If the offense was significantly better since the change and there was something to show I would understand the movement, but the offense is only slightly better and other aspects of his job have declined. It’s tough enough to be a head coach in this league, but taking on a whole new job of play appeal also seems like too much. Campbell is expected to review his role over the extended week to see if there is a way to lighten his load.

Your turn. Vote in the poll below and sound off in the comments.


Who is most responsible for the Lions’ defeat on Thanksgiving?

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