Skip to main content

FOUR DOWNS: Penalties hurt Lions in loss to Bears


Detroit lost the turnover battle Sunday 3-0. We all know it's hard to win in this league when that's the case. On top of that Detroit was penalized eight times. They entered the game as one of the least penalized teams in the league, especially on offense.

It was the pre-snap penalties in particular that Lions head coach Dan Campbell lamented after a 28-13 loss in Chicago. The false starts and delay of game on offense and offsides on defense really bothered him.

"Honestly, it was the discipline," Campbell said. "The penalties cost us today. That's really the story of the game."

Graham Glasgow had a tripping penalty that put the Lions behind the sticks on their second possession and led to a punt. A delay of game on the third possession put them behind the chains again and that led to an interception. A false start on Penei Sewell midway through the third quarter started a drive 1st & 15 and they ended up punting on 4th & 3 a few plays later. Defensive lineman Aidan Hutchinson jumped offsides on a 4th & 12 that led to a Bears touchdown.

It was a lot of uncharacteristic things that plagued Detroit Sunday.

"Especially those pre-snap penalties you get backed up you get behind the chains especially against a defense like that – I think they are the best against the rush – just can't do that," Lions veteran left tackle Taylor Decker said. "Just shooting ourselves in the foot."

Campbell said the penalties and the discipline will be addressed this week even if that means he has to be 'a little more irritable.'

View photos from the Detroit Lions vs. Chicago Bears Week 14 game at Soldier Field on Sunday, Dec. 10 in Chicago, IL.


For an offense that came in averaging 400.6 yards per game, second only to Miami, Sunday in Chicago was certainly a game to forget.

Remember when Aaron Glenn and the defense buried the defensive film from a terrible performance against the Eagles back in 2021? Ben Johnson and the offense might think about doing the same to this offensive tape from Sunday.

The Lions totaled just 61 yards in the second half and went punt (three and out), punt (three and out), punt (three and out), fumble, turnover on downs, turnover on downs and interception on their seven second-half possessions. They put themselves behind the chains with undisciplined penalties and just overall didn't execute the way we've been used to that unit executing all season.

Quarterback Jared Goff totaled just 161 passing yards with two interceptions and a lost snap exchange with center Graham Glasgow.

Amon-Ra St. Brown and Sam LaPorta combined for five catches for 44 yards on 15 targets.


For whatever reason the third quarter on both sides of the football this year has been a problem for the Lions. Detroit's scoring less than half the points on average they are in the first, second and fourth quarters in the third quarter.

They were held scoreless on Sunday, turning a 13-10 lead at the half into a 20-13 fourth-quarter deficit. Detroit's offensive output in the third quarter consisted of 11 plays and 16 net yards with a turnover.

Detroit's scored just eight points all season on the first possession of the second half, an anomaly for an offense that ranks top five in the league.

"Ultimately it's just going to come down to execution," Decker said of the offense's third quarter woes this season. "I just think across the board we have to be more dialed in like on whatever it may be, the snap count, alignments, certain depth on things whatever it may be. Especially because our defense was getting some huge stops. They were playing really well. That's on us as an offense."


Sunday's 15-point loss was a gut punch for a Lions team that was looking to inch one step closer to their first division title in 30 years. Detroit will still have at least a two-game lead in the division with four to play depending on what happens with the Green Bay Packers and New York Giants on Monday night.

Despite the loss in Chicago, Campbell still likes where they are sitting.

"I'm not in panic mode. I'm not losing confidence," he said. "We're good. We got four to go here and all we have to do is get our discipline back and continue to fight like we fight. Look, it wasn't our day today, man. We didn't handle it. When you do that to yourself against a good team that is what happens."

Goff said he hopes this kind of performance, especially for the players on offense, is a bit of a reality check to play more disciplined and consistent football the final four games and stretch run to the playoffs.

"A ton of confidence that we're going to clean it up," Goff said. "A little adversity isn't the worst thing in the world at this point in the year. That's a good team. They played really well and beat us.

"It's a little reality check. 'Ok, look in the mirror. Fix it.' Get it fixed and gear up for our ultimate goal. It's a good gut punch that typically does our guys well."

Related Content