FIRST DOWN: UNTIMELY TURNOVERS
There were times this season when the Lions have needed more plays from quarterback Matthew Stafford to make the difference between a win or a loss, and for whatever reason they haven't received enough of them.
The fourth quarter of Thursday's game was another one of those moments.
Detroit needed their 10-year veteran to make a play with the game tied 16-16 in the fourth quarter and the season essentially in the balance.
Instead, Detroit got the opposite. A 41-yard pick six by Bears safety Eddie Jackson, who stepped in front of a Stafford pass ended up being the game-winning score. A potential comeback was thwarted when Stafford threw his second interception in the Bears end zone with a little more than a minute left and a chance to tie the game.
"Obviously can't have them," Stafford said after the game of the turnovers. "Jackson made a really good play on the first one. I still have to see him a little better than I did. And then second one I know we have four chances there, put it where I thought was going to be a good spot and it just wasn't."
Stafford did not throw a touchdown in the contest. His 17 touchdowns on the year were behind 16 other quarterbacks at the conclusion of the Lions game. His 10 interceptions match his entire total from last season with five games remaining. His interception percentage is a full point up this season over the last two years.
For whatever reason, the Lions haven't gotten enough from Stafford and the offense this season, and their record reflects that.
"Well, I think we need more out of everybody, to be honest with you," Lions head coach Matt Patricia said. "There were a lot of plays in there where all of us have to do more, whether it's preparation or coaching or playing, whatever it is. There are a lot of plays that we can all point to."
SECOND DOWN: SHORTHANDED ON OFFENSE
To be completely fair to Stafford, the Lions were working with a lot of spare parts on offense Thursday.
Kenny Golladay entered the season as Detroit's No. 3 receiver. Because of injury and roster moves, he's been promoted to the No. 1 option for Stafford the last two weeks. He's taken advantage of it, recording five catches for 90 yards Thursday after catching eight passes for 113 yards Sunday, but it wasn't the expectation for this receiving corps in Week 12.
No other receiver had more than 28 yards receiving Thursday. Running back Theo Riddick was the second leading receiver with 48 yards on seven catches.
Ten different players caught passes for the Lions, but there weren't enough of the explosive plays that ultimate help a team win. The Lions lacked playmakers Thursday.
THIRD DOWN: MANAGING THE GAME
Bears quarterback Chase Daniel looked like a seasoned vet throwing for 230 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions, leading the Bears to victory.
The vet part is accurate, but Daniel certainly isn't seasoned, having started just two games over a nine-year career coming in. But credit Bears head coach Matt Nagy for calling a great game and putting Daniel in a position to be successful.
Daniel got the ball out of his hands quickly to his weapons, and took advantage of a couple opportunities to hit open receivers.
"He knows that offense really well," Patricia said of Daniel. "He has a good arm, he's accurate, there's a reason he's there. He's very familiar with and very comfortable with that system and he did a great job.
"They did a good job of keeping him in situations where I don't think he really had to stretch – from a standpoint of they didn't really put too much on him to have to go make a play and put him in bad situations. I think he did a great job of managing the game."
View in-game photos from the Detroit Lions Week 12 game against the Chicago Bears.
FOURTH DOWN: UNMET EXPECTATIONS
By dropping their seventh game of the season Thursday, the Lions have no chance to better their 9-7 record from last season, a record general manager Bob Quinn said wasn't good enough.
Detroit's played well at times this season in wins over New England, Green Bay, Miami and Carolina. Those are good football teams. But the bad has outweighed the good this season, as we continue to see the inconsistency from week to week that's plagued this team for years.
"Again, we have a lot of improving to do," Patricia said. "There are multiple reasons through the course of the year and the games that we've played why we've either done well or not done well, and won or lost. The NFL season, it's tough.
"There were probably about a play here or there in each game that really could've swung it the other way. Right now, we have to win more of those than we are so we can give ourselves a chance to win. That's really what it is.
"So, we just have to keep grinding through it and fighting and trying to get better. We're trying to just establish that every single week, the consistency of going out and playing well. So, we have to do that."