The former Bears running back’s touchdown capped a fourth-quarter Lions comeback for a 31-26 win. The Lions trailed by 12 before quarterback Jared Goff put together two touchdown drives in the final four minutes.
On a potential tying drive in the final seconds, Bears quarterback Justin Fields fumbled and right tackle Darnell Wright kicked the football out of the back of the end zone for a safety and the final score.
The Bears last won an NFC North game on Nov. 25, 2021, against the Lions at Ford Field and have gone 0-9 in the division to start Eberflus’ Bears career.
In his return from a four-game absence due to a dislocated right thumb, Fields threw for 169 yards and ran for 104. Bears kicker Cairo Santos made four field goals.
Fields’ biggest play came when he hit DJ Moore with a 39-yard touchdown pass to give the Bears a 20-14 lead with 4:41 to play in the third quarter. Fields moved forward in the pocket and launched the pass to Moore, who had gotten behind cornerback Jerry Jacobs and caught it in stride.
The Bears’ three-play, 40-yard scoring drive came after their third takeaway. On the Lions kickoff return, Stevenson forced returner Craig Reynolds to fumble and DeMarquis Gates recovered.
Edmunds intercepted Goff on the Lions’ next drive, and the Bears followed with Santos’ 40-yard field goal for a 23-14 lead. It was Santos’ third field goal of the game and second of the half. He also made a 53-yarder with 6:41 to play in the third quarter to cut the Lions lead to 14-13.
After Santos made a 39-yarder in the fourth quarter for a 26-14 lead, the Lions responded with a quick 75-yard touchdown drive. Goff completed five straight passes, including a 32-yard touchdown to Jameson Williams, to cut the Bears lead to 26-21.
The Bears gained 1 yard on their ensuing drive. Fields threw a catchable deep shot to Tyler Scott on third down, but the rookie wide receiver couldn’t pull it in.
The safety on the final drive came after Aidan Hutchinson got around Wright for the strip-sack.
Here’s how the game unfolded.
Bears linebacker Tremaine Edmunds will return Sunday against the Lions after a two-game absence.
Edmunds is active for the game at Ford Field after recovering from a knee injury.
He is one of three players returning from injuries, including quarterback Justin Fields. The Bears announced Wednesday that Fields would start after a four-game absence due to a thumb injury. Running back Khalil Herbert also is active after missing five games while on injured reserve with a high ankle sprain.
The Bears previously declared linebacker Noah Sewell out with a knee injury.
For the Lions, defensive linemen Isaiah Buggs, Brodric Martin and Levi Onwuzurike, cornerback Steven Gilmore, wide receiver Antoine Green, guard Jonah Jackson and linebacker Trevor Nowaske are inactive.
Halftime: Lions take 14-10 lead with late TD drive
Quarterback Jared Goff led a 75-yard touchdown drive in the final two minutes of the first half to help the Lions to a 14-10 halftime lead against the Bears on Sunday at Ford Field.
Goff completed seven passes on the drive, including a 7-yard touchdown strike to Amon-Ra St. Brown with 11 seconds to play in the second quarter. He threw for 107 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions in the half.
In his return from a four-game absence due to a dislocated right thumb, Bears quarterback Justin Fields threw for 103 yards and rushed for 43.
Fields came out strong on the Bears’ opening 75-yard touchdown drive, completing 3 of 4 passes for 38 yards and running for 28 yards. D’Onta Foreman scored on a 1-yard run to make it 7-0. The Bears didn’t have a third down on the drive.
The Bears had two first-half interceptions against Goff but failed to capitalize on either with scoring drives. Kicker Cairo Santos made a 31-yard field goal with 1 minute, 47 seconds to play in the second quarter to give the Bears a 10-7 lead.
Against a good Lions run defense, Bears running backs managed just 11 yards on 10 carries.
Rookie cornerback Tyrique Stevenson got his first career interception on the Lions’ first drive, picking off an errant Goff pass and returning it to the Bears 37.
The Bears got to the Lions 38, but Foreman lost 6 yards on a first-down carry. Fields overthrew DJ Moore in the end zone, and Fields’ third-down pass was spiked by defensive lineman John Cominsky.
Linebacker T.J. Edwards picked off Goff on the Lions’ second drive. But the Lions got the ball back two plays later when cornerback Cam Sutton forced rookie wide receiver Tyler Scott to fumble and linebacker Alex Anzalone recovered.
The Lions capitalized with a 34-yard touchdown drive, capped by Jahmyr Gibbs’ 2-yard run to tie it 7-7.
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‘Just go out there and win games’
Bears quarterback Justin Fields isn’t focused on proving himself over the final seven games of the season — though it will be necessary to do that as team leadership charts its future.
Fields’ purpose is narrower as he prepares to make his first start in more than a month Sunday. Asked if he still feels pain in his hand, he said it’s not 100%.
“But it feels good,” he said. “There’s still a little bit of healing left. But it’s stable.”
Fields said he doesn’t think ball security will be an issue with the injury, noting he wouldn’t be playing if it was. But protecting the football is a major focus. Read more here.
Shifts to the offensive line
Teven Jenkins said the conversation was short. Bears coaches let the offensive lineman know he was moving from right guard back to left guard with the return of Nate Davis to the lineup. Jenkins said he responded, “All right. No problem.”
Matt Eberflus said Davis is expected to return Sunday after a four-game absence because of a high ankle sprain. The Bears determined that Davis’ experience at right guard and Jenkins’ flexibility to play on both sides made the switch the right move.
“I trust everything upstairs,” Jenkins said. “They’re trying to put the best five out there, and if it comes down to what it is right now, I trust them.” Read more here.
13-4: The Lions record over the last 17 games, solidifying them as one of the best teams in the NFL. Only the Chiefs, Eagles and 49ers — all 14-3 — have been better over their last 17 games.
3-14: The Bears record over the last 17 games. That ranks 31st in the league; only the Cardinals (2-15) have been worse. Compounding the disappointment for the Bears, they have lost their last 11 NFC North games dating to 2021.