O’HARA’S BURNING QUESTIONS: What were the key plays in Lions' loss to Bears?

Lions-Bears Burning Questions: A fast start by the Detroit Lions and rookie quarterback David Blough overcome by key plays by the Chicago Bears and a late touchdown for a 24-20 win over the Lions in on Thanksgiving Day at Ford Field.

Question: It was the fifth straight loss for the Lions, but what made it different than some of the others?

Answer: There was a fresh storyline and a new lead character in Blough, who made the first start of his career, but the end was familiar.

The Lions had a late lead again, but the defense couldn’t hold it, and the Lions’ last possession ended on an interception on a fourth-down pass deep in Chicago’s territory.

Q. Blough: How would you rate his performance?

A. Better than anyone could have expected, given that he’d never thrown a pass in a regular-season game before Thursday. He threw two TD passes in the first quarter and led some long drives after that, but the offense couldn’t get the ball in the end zone.

He showed some promise.

Q. Key plays: What were they on the Bears’ drive to the go-ahead touchdown with 2:17 left?

A. The Bears converted a third and seven on a 35-yard pass to wide receiver Anthony Miller and a third and two on a 32-yard pass to Miller. Miller was covered by cornerback Justin Coleman on both plays. They were big-time throws by Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky and big-time catches by Miller.

Wide receiver Kenny Golladay also got a big penalty for an illegal block in the back that wiped out a 21-yard gain by running back Bo Scarbrough that would have given the Lions possession in the Bears’ territory on the possession before their game-winning drive.

Q. Bottom line: It was another loss for the Lions, but what was the overall feeling about the game?

A. It was a loss, no doubt, and the Lions were in it to win. But all things considered, it was an entertaining game, and the fans seemed into it. They were cheering until the end.

Q. TDs, Blough: He threw TD passes on the first two possessions. Which one was more impressive?

A. Both.

Q. Is that a trick answer?

A. No. They were equally impressive, for different reasons.

Q. First TD: What was impressive about the 75-yard TD pass to Golladay?

A. The Lions needed a lift, and that TD gave it to them. The Bears had the Lions on their heels with their first possession. It started with Cordarrelle Patterson’s 57-yard return of the opening kickoff to the 50. That gave the Bears good field position to drive to the first touchdown and a 7-0 lead.

The way the Bears marched through the Lions' defense made it look like it could be a long day. The Lions needed to rebound, and the long TD – on the second pass of Blough’s career – gave it to them.

Q. Second TD: What was impressive about that. Isn’t a touchdown pass a touchdown pass? What’s the big difference?

A. The first TD was on a three-play possession. It was a quick hit – all or nothing, basically -- on the third play.

Blough engineered a 10-play, 78-yard drive for the second score. The Lions converted twice on third down – on a run by Scarbrough and a catch by Golladay.

The second drive took up more than five minutes. It was a solid, professional job by Blough and his teammates on offense.

Q. Fourth and kick, Bears: They had fourth and three at the Lions’ 12-yard line and kicked a field goal with 22 seconds left. Right call by the Bears to go for the field goal instead of a first down?

A. The field goal was the right call. That put them a touchdown behind at 17-10 going into the second half. They went for it and failed on fourth and six from the Lions’ 32 earlier in the second quarter, but they’d have had to kick a 50-yard field goal.

View photos from the Detroit Lions vs. Chicago Bears Week 13 game at Ford Field on Thursday, Nov. 28, 2019 in Detroit.

Q. Halftime lead, Lions: The Lions had the lead in every game, and it was no different on Thanksgiving Day. They had a 17-10 lead at halftime. What did they have to do in the second half?

A. Protect the lead any way they could. That meant sustaining drives on offense, getting stops on defense, and winning the turnover battle.

They won in one of those departments – getting an interception from cornerback Darius Slay – but the offense stalled with two three and outs on the first two possessions of the third quarter.

The Bears’ offense had awakened, and they tied it at 17-17 with 4:44 left in the third quarter on Trubisky’s 18-yard pass to tight end Jesper Horsted.

That’s how it remained going into the fourth quarter, with the Lions in possession at the Bears’ 39.

It was game on with 15 minutes left.

Q. Fourth and kick: Right call for the Lions to go for the go-ahead field goal on fourth and one at the five-yard line?

A. Yes – I think. Emotion says go for the first down to try to get a touchdown. Strategy says take the lead.

The Lions chose the lead, with a 24-yard field goal and a 20-17 lead with 10:47 left.

It was up to the defense to protect it, and they didn’t do that.

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