The Chicago Bears (8-3) overcame a slow start on short rest and came roaring back to beat the Detroit Lions (4-7) for the second time in three weeks. Here's what we learned from the Bears' 23-16 victory on Thanksgiving Day:
- No Mitchell Trubisky proved no problem for the Bears in the second matchup against the Lions in 11 days. Backup quarterback Chase Daniel stepped in for his third career start and completed an efficient 27 of 37 passes for 230 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions.
Daniel's familiarity with head coach Matt Nagy's offensive scheme allowed the signal-caller to quickly settle in and connect with eight different receivers. And for the most part, Daniel made good decisions and managed the game well by taking what the defense gave him and picking his spots to throw it deep. His best pass came on a 14-yard touchdown to running back Tarik Cohen out of the backfield. Cohen easily beat cornerback Nevin Lawson and Daniel dropped the ball inside with touch where Cohen could haul it in as he crossed the goal line. Daniel even caught an 8-yard pass.
Should Trubisky's right shoulder injury keep him out of Week 13's game against the New York Giants, the Bears are in a good place if Daniel needs to start again.
Thursday's victory extended the Bears' winning streak to five games and the team improved to 8-3 on the season following the two-game sweep against their divisional foe.
- With Daniel playing clean football, the Bears defense complemented him well by holding the Lions offense in check for most of the game. The Lions actually outgained the Bears in total net yards of offense (333-264), but Detroit couldn't overcome costly mistakes against one of the league's best defensive units.
As a team, the Bears totaled two sacks and four quarterback hits. The Bears then flexed their muscles by securing two game-changing turnovers in a 4:53 span late in the fourth quarter. The first came with the game tied at 16 and the Lions lining up for a first-down play. At the snap, safety Eddie Jackson read the play perfectly and jumped Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford's pass to pick it off and return it 41 yards for a touchdown. The second interception occurred late in the fourth quarter with the Lions driving for a potential game-tying scenario. Bears cornerback Kyle Fuller, however, picked off Stafford in the end zone.
- The Lions were without two big weapons on offense in rookie running back Kerryon Johnson (knee) and wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr. (knee), and it appeared to affect the play calling. The Lions played conservatively through the first half, and Stafford completed 17 of 23 passes for 92 yards, averaging a paltry 4 yards per pass, through the team's first seven possessions of the game.
With the Lions trailing 9-7 midway through the third quarter, Stafford began to push down the field and connected with wide receiver Kenny Golladay for 43 yards to set up running back LeGarrette Blount's second touchdown run.
Stafford finished the game completing 28 of 38 passes for 236 yards, but made mistakes at the worst times with the pick-six and the game-sealing interception. The loss dropped the Lions to 4-7 on the season and entrenched in last place in the NFC North.
- On a unit where so much focus falls on All-Pro outside linebacker Khalil Mack, safety Eddie Jackson, whom the Bears selected in the fourth-round of the 2017 draft, might very well be the MVP of the defense. Jackson's 41-yard pick-six against the Lions marked his fifth career defensive touchdown, the most in the league since 2015.
Jackson has four interceptions on the season and Thursday marked the second straight game he had a pick-six. Jackson also scored a defensive touchdown in Week 9 on a 65-yard fumble recovery. His knack for making game-changing plays on defense has greatly contributed to the Bears' winning season.
- Despite the loss, Blount did his best to fill the void of Johnson's absence. And Blount's physical style of running was needed against the league's No. 1 run defense. Blount's power was on full display on two touchdown runs. The first score from 4 yards occurred after Blount bounced off Bears safety Adrian Amos at the line of scrimmage and kept his balance to stretch into the end zone. Blount's second touchdown run, which also came from 4 yards, came as he was met by the Bears defense at the 3-yard line. He kept his legs moving and drove the pile into the end zone.
Blount finished the game with 88 yards rushing and two scores on 19 carries, all season-high totals. Whenever Johnson returns, the Lions should have a backfield possessing a blend of speed and power to close out the season.