Detroit Lions implode, lose opener to Bears

Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford

DETROIT — Coach Matt Patricia said he put his arm around rookie D’Andre Swift as they walked up the tunnel to the locker room after the game

Swift could have been the hero with a touchdown catch in the end zone with just 6 seconds left. He caught the ball with both hands and inexplicably dropped it. On the next play (third-and-7 with 6 seconds left), Matthew Stafford couldn’t complete a pass to Marvin Jones Jr. 

The Lions, who held a 23-6 lead early in the fourth quarter, imploded and lost to the Chicago Bears, 27-23, on Sunday at Ford Field.

Dagger time? Not so much.

“I don’t think there’s a mentality issue at all. I think the whole fourth quarter we’re just talking to each other trying to say let’s go finish this thing and do everything we can to do it,’’ Stafford said. “We just have to execute better.”

It was the home opener at Ford Field, minus the fans and much of the energy they bring.

Still no excuses there.

It was not all Swift’s fault – the list is long of couldas and shouldas. Perhaps some you’ve heard in previous seasons — missed opportunities, key turnovers, inopportune penalties and even an ejection.

“It’s not all on one play, it’s a bunch of plays we didn’t do a good enough job,’’ coach Matt Patricia said.

The Bears cut into the lead with a 2-yard touchdown pass from Mitchell Trubisky to Jimmy Graham on the fourth play of the fourth quarter.

The Lions had a chance to boost their lead with 4:02 left but Matt Prater kicked a 55-yard field goal attempt wide right. Stafford had taken a sack two plays before that for a 9-yard loss.

“Yeah, I probably could have thrown it away. I think that would have made the field goal easier,’’ Stafford said. “We probably could’ve gotten another five yards on the next play and we’re in better range for him. I definitely wish I had thrown that one away.”

When the Bears got the ball back they went 55 yards in 5 plays ending with a 17-yard Trubisky touchdown pass to Javon Wims. Detroit’s lead was cut to 23-20.

The Lions had 2:58 on the clock which is plenty of time for a 75-yard, Stafford-led scoring drive. Instead, he threw his first interception of the day on a pass intended for Marvin Jones Jr. 

Three plays later Trubisky threw the dagger with a 27-yard touchdown pass to Anthony Miller to take a 27-23 lead, the Bears’ first lead of the game.

The Lions had 1:54 left. They got down to Chicago’s 16-yard line before Swift dropped what could’ve been the winning touchdown.

When Stafford was asked if he was disappointed, he said “yes” and did not elaborate.

Patricia took blame for the coaching. He and Stafford were visibly upset in their post-game press conference via Zoom.

It’s a killer start to a season with not only a heart-breaking loss, but one to a division opponent. And next week the Lions are at Green Bay (1-0). The Packers defeated the Vikings 43-34 on Sunday.

(Photo courtesy of Detroit Lions)

Author: Paula Pasche

Paula Pasche, a veteran sports writer, covers the Detroit Lions for her Lions Lowdown blog. She has written two books, "Game of My Life Detroit Lions" and "100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die" which are available at bookstores and on Amazon.com. She won first place for column writing from the Society of Professional Journalists in Detroit (Class B) in 2011, 2012 and 2013 and was The Oakland Press 2010 Staffer of the Year.

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