Lions QB David Blough impressive in NFL debut despite loss to Bears

DETROIT — David Blough said Thanksgiving was what he dreamed about as a kid.

The Lions third-string quarterback started against the Bears in the nationally televised Thanksgiving game.

Although perhaps in his dreams, Blough was able to pull out the win. Instead on Thursday, the Lions lost 24-20 to Chicago.

Still, Blough — a rookie who had never played in an NFL regular season game — was impressive.

Ini his first drive, after throwing a short incompletion to T.J. Hockenson, he aired it out and connected with Kenny Golladay on a 75-yard touchdown pass play. It was his first of four passes for 158 yards to Golladay.

Welcome to Detroit, David Blough.

On his second drive he took the offense 75 yards down the field, wrapping it up with an 8-yard touchdown pass to Marvin Jones Jr. 

“Even though it was a short week, we all had a lot of confidence in him. He had a chip on his shoulder during the week. He was very confident,’’ Golladay said. “He even told (Matt Patricia) Matty P, ‘I’m ready to rip it.’ He definitely stepped-up to the challenge. I’m proud of him.”

Blough, who was undrafted out of Purdue, signed as a free agent in June with Cleveland and came to Detroit in a trade following training camp. 

He finished the game 22 of 38 for 280 yards, two touchdowns, one interception and a 87.6 rating. 

“Going into it I felt comfortable and prepared. In the short week we had a great plan to go into the game and take our shots. We were hoping a guy like me could come in, throw some checkdowns. We were going to throw it around a little bit, credit that to (offensive coordinator Darrell) Bevell you saw how open Kenny was and made great plays, I think that’s where a lot of the credit belongs in the quick start for us.’’

Driskel, who started the previous three games, was bothered by a hamstring since the loss to the Redskins on Sunday. Bough found out on Wednesday night before team meetings that he would be the starter. 

“I had been getting a lot of the reps in the walk-throughs and practices leading up to this week I was ready to go,’’ Blough said. “I prepare every week to play on the field it just so happened it was done on a short week, Matthew has been out, a couple different twists and turns. They told me last night and I was pretty excited.’’

He said one of the best things about his day was all the support he received from the coaches and teammates.

“I just wanted to give everything that I had and the guys lifted me up. It was incredible to have the veterans, to have (Danny) Amendola, the guys just come around me and, ‘Hey, we have your back.’ That was encouraging to me as a guy who’s just been here 10 or 11 weeks or whatever it is, to know that I had those guys in my corner,’’ Blough said. “That was special.”

Detroit Lions defense falters again in Thanksgiving loss to Bears

DETROIT — David Blough, the Detroit Lions’ third-string quarterback played beyond most expectations but once again Detroit’s defense came up short.

Blough, in for the injured Jeff Driskel, threw touchdown passes on his first two drives to give the Lions a one-touchdown lead.

Still the Bears came back and beat the Lions, 24-20, on Thanksgiving at Ford Field.

Coach Matt Patricia said he loves the fight he sees in his bunch and their toughness, but it is not enough.

“This is one of the toughest teams I’ve probably ever been around, this team fights like no other team I’ve ever seen we have to find a way to win, we have to find a way to break through that thing that’s stopping us right now and smash that and get going,’’ Patricia said. “… Obviously the goal is to win and that’s what we have to get done and we will, we’re building toward that and working toward that every single day.’’

The Lions have lost five straight, eight of their last nine, are 3-8-1 and are officially out of playoff contention.

“I think a lot of it is obviously the tangible thing is the mistakes in the game that we have to eliminate, we have to push through and make a couple more plays or coach a couple things better, get that cleaned up,’’ Patricia said.

Safety Tracy Walker said Patricia’s message to the team was that they can’t settle for losses. “So we are just going to continue to try to improve and continue to correct the mistakes we made,’’ Walker said.

The Lions were up 17-10 at the half, but the Bears scored touchdowns in the third and fourth quarters. On the first Mitchell Trubisky passed 18 yards  to tight end Jesper Horsted for the score. It was just Horsted’s second catch all season and his first touchdown. Will Harris was on the coverage.

With 6:40 left in the game, and the Lions leading 20-17, the Bears’ 90-yard touchdown drive included passses of 35 and 32 yards to Anthony Miller, it was capped with a 3-yard touchdown pass to David Montgomery. 

That gave the Bears a 24-20 lead. 

Blough and the Lions’ offense had 2:12 left but couldn’t get the ball in the end zone.

Trubisky has struggled much of the season except in the two wins against the Lions. He’s thrown 13 touchdown passes all season, six of them against the Detroit defense including three on Thanksgiving.

He wasn’t pressure much all day.

“He was throwing the ball fairly fast, got rid of the ball. They out-executed (us) on a lot of different things like that. We just weren’t able to bring him down a lot of times,’’ defensive end Trey Flowers said. “He’s definitely a guy that’s dynamic with his feet, so he’s able to make a few plays, escape the pocket and continue to scramble.”

Flowers sacked Trubisky on a third-and-7 early in the fourth for a loss of 7 yards forcing the Bears to punt.

Chicago had a better second half which has been the case most of the season with Lions’ opponents. Detroit has been outscored 105-70 in the fourth quarter. 

“The quarterback kind of extended a lot of plays and made a lot of plays on the run. We have to do better in the back end, extending plays, finding our guys, plastering around,’’ said cornerback Darius Slay who intercepted Trubisky. “What they did was extend plays, and they overall just were controlling the game almost.”

Lions backup David Blough will start against Bears on Thanksgiving

ALLEN PARK — Lions backup quarterback Jeff Driskel seemed optimistic on Tuesday that he would start against the Chicago Bears on Thanksgiving. However, his hamstring will keep him out of the starting role.

David Blough, a rookie who has never played in an NFL regular season game, will get the start for the Lions at Ford Field.

Blough, who played at Purdue, was signed as an undrafted free agent last June by the Cleveland Browns and then was traded to Detroit. Driskel is expected to serve as the backup. Matthew Stafford (back) will miss his fourth straight game.

Thanksgiving spirits might not be so bright since the Lions (3-7-1) have lost four straight and seven of their last eight. They’ll face the Chicago Bears (5-6) for the second straight year 

Ready or not, they’ll be the only NFL game on national TV at 12:30 p.m.

For us, we’re going to obviously try and go out and play as hard as we can. We know how important this game is, we know how important it is to our organization, our ownership and obviously the fans,’’ coach Matt Patricia said. “It’s a great privilege to be in this game. For us, we understand that, we’re very blessed to be here, I think Thanksgiving is a great time, a great week to reflect.’’

Five things to watch:

1. Certainly don’t know what to expect from Blough, although seems likely the run game will need to carry the offense. 

2. Running back Bo Scarbrough has been the highlight of the past two weeks. From the practice squad two weeks ago he has had games of 55 and 98 rushing yards. Although now defenses know to prepare for him. “It’s kind of why you just hesitate to have too many conversations about those guys and not help opponents figure out who they are ahead of time. You try to let the opponents figure it out on their own. Certainly, I think you watch Bo run and some of the things that he did last week, he’s running really hard,’’ Patricia said. The big back (6-foot-1, 235 pounds) has five more games to prove himself. He could be the answer to the question of who will back up Kerryon Johnson next season. 

3. Lions linebacker Devon Kennard thinks the defense is showing signs of improvement in recent weeks (despite four straight losses), especially against the run. But overall the defense has been ineffective and is a big reason the Lions have lost seven of the last eight. If they are close to turning it around, Thanksgiving would be a good start especially with Blough starting at quarterback.

4. Chicago’s Mitchell Trubisky leads the NFL’s 29th best offense averaging just 269.3 yards per game. The quarterback has thrown just 10 touchdown passes in 10 games and three of them were in the first matchup with the Lions — one each to Ben Braunecker, Tarik Cohen and Taylor Gabriel. He was sacked five times by the Lions in that game — perhaps a little more of that type of pressure could be applied.

5. Patricia and the players have talked a good game this week. They say they’re focused solely on the Bears and they take the season one game at a time. There’s been a lot of talk in Detroit from fans who are beyond frustrated at the lack of wins. Some of them want Patricia and/or GM Bob Quinn fired. Fans didn’t seem to expect that the Lions, who were 9-7 in 2017, would fall so low in an effort to rebuild. On Thursday at Ford Field, the team has to show the focus they discuss and they need to do it in all four quarters.

PREDICTION: Bears 23, Lions 10. Not sure the Lions can pull it together.

(Photo courtesy of the Detroit Lions)