Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports
The Chicago Bears started fast for a change, but faded down the stretch as the Detroit Lions opened it up in the second quarter. The Bears trail the Lions 24 – 14 in the 75th Thanksgiving Day Classic.
The Bears were bringing their “A” game early as Alshon Jeffery and Jared Allen powered the Bears to a 14-3 lead on the Lions. Alshon Jeffery capped off the Bears’ first drive with a 10-yard TD reception. It was the Bears’ first score in the first quarter since the Carolina game and the first opening drive TD since they faced the Packers at Soldier Field back in Week 4.
The Lions responded with a 46-yard field goal and the Bears offense failed to convert near midfield, but a beautiful 61-yard punt by Pat O’Donnell pinned the Lions deep. A Jared Allen strip-sack-recovery set the Bears offense up on the doorstep and Alshon was able to convert with his second TD of the game.
Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
That’s when Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson started to find their groove. The Lions responded with 21 unanswered points in the second quarter. Stafford and Johnson abused rookie defender Kyle Fuller for two TD’s sandwiched around a 1-yard Joique Bell rushing TD on 4th and goal.
Getting the ball back with about 3:18 to go in the half, the Bears chose to go conservative and after failing to move the ball, the Lions marched right down the field to score. It’s an approach that Marc Trestman has taken when getting the ball to start the second half, but it was a missed opportunity for a 14-point swing. Instead, the Lions were able to open up their lead.
Jay Cutler was solid in the first half, going 14/19 for 107 yards and 2 TD’s. Matt Forte wasn’t able to get anything going on the ground against the Lions’ top-ranked rush D. Ka’Deem Carey was actually able to muster 8 yard on 2 carries.
In the passing game, it was the usual suspects doing work for the Bears. Jeffery had 6 catches for 27 yards and 2 TD’s. Matt Forte added 38 receiving yards. Marshall and Bennett added 2 catches apiece.
For the Lions, it was Stafford getting the monkey off his back. The Lions hadn’t scored a TD for 20-some possessions. Stafford cashed in for a pair of TD’s to go with the 275 yards he put up against the Bears depleted secondary. Chris Conte left the game with what’s believed to be his third concussion of the season. That left rookie safety Brock Vereen to hold down the deep middle with a bunch of inexperienced cornerbacks. It’s no wonder the Lions generated 300 yard of offense in the half.
The Bears second half to do list includes getting more pressure on Stafford and taking some deep shots against the Lions secondary. The Bears let this one slip away from them in the first half, but this is still a very winnable game against a Lions team that is 1-9 in their last 10 Thanksgiving games.