Three and out: Breaking down the Bears 24-20 Thanksgiving victory in Detroit

Three and out: Breaking down the Bears 24-20 Thanksgiving victory in Detroit

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Mitchell Trubisky
© Tim Fuller | 2019 Nov 28

Mitchell Trubisky © Tim Fuller | 2019 Nov 28

DETROIT — Here's how the Bears overcame a 17-7 second-quarter deficit to beat the Lions, 24-20, on Thanksgiving and return to .500 for the first time since Week 7:

Moments that mattered:

Mitch’s rebound: After making a business decision on a third-down scramble on the final drive before halftime and potentially taking four points off the board, then throwing an awful late interception over the middle on his first series of the second half, Trubisky was dialed in on the game-tying 80-yard TD drive, completing 6-of-6 passes for 84 yards, including a beautiful 18-yard pitch and catch to undrafted rookie TE Jesper Horsted. Then, following a three-and-out, he was even better on the game-winning drive, completing 5-of-6 for 92 yards and the go-ahead three-yard TD to David Montgomery.

Fuller to rescue: Though the Lions immediately responded with a go-ahead TD drive spanning 78 yards on 15 plays, Kyle Fuller’s shoestring tackle of J.D. McKissic in the open field on third-and-1 kept four points off the board (Chicago’s margin of victory). Fuller, who has followed up his first-team All Pro campaign with another stellar season, bailed out Ha Ha Clinton-Dix who lined up offsides on the previous play, gifting Detroit five yards.

Miller time: Anthony Miller made the two biggest third-down receptions of the game, immediately following a rare mistake by Allen Robinson. On third-and-4 at his own 16 in the final five minutes of a tie game, Trubisky delivered a beauty to Miller, who tracked it perfectly for the clutch catch. Only three plays later, he found Miller for 32 yards down the opposite sideline. Miller went over 100 yards for the first time this season and has stacked easily his two finest games of Year 2 back to back.

Three things that worked:

Downfield success: Trubisky, who entered Week 13 ranked last among qualifying QBs with a 5.8 yard-per-attempt average, averaged 8.9 yards Thursday, rarely missing on shot plays to Miller, Robinson and Wims. He now has three touchdowns in three consecutive games against Matt Patricia’s Lions.

Robinson-Miller duo: Stop us if you’ve heard this one before, but their offensive MVP this season, Robinson, was once again terrific with eight catches for 86 yards, including the game-opening touchdown. This you probably haven’t heard before: Miller was even better, picking up his Pro Bowl-caliber teammate in crunch time and overcoming his own early miscue. This is what Ryan Pace envisioned when he signed Robinson and traded up for Miller last year, and they’ve now been great simultaneously in a game in consecutive weeks.

Sudden-change ‘D:’ The Bears forced a three-and-out right after Trubisky’s interception, aided by an outstanding open-field tackle by Prince Amukamara. The ‘D,’ on hardly its best day, also held the Lions to a field goal after Matt Nagy eschewed a 48-yard field goal attempt on fourth-and-6 and the offense turned it over on downs. Finally, they also forced a three-and-out to begin the second half thanks to a nice pass breakup by Buster Skrine after getting stunned by Blough for the better part of the first 30 minutes.

Three things that didn’t:

Playing disciplined: From Leonard Floyd’s inexplicable roughing penalty on a third-and-15 throwaway to Anthony Miller failing to line up properly coming out of a timeout to Clinton-Dix’s miscue, the bone-headed penalties that have haunted Matt Nagy’s Bears and directly reflect poorly on the coaches all season were again prevalent.

Making the rookie uncomfortable: In his first career start, undrafted rookie David Blough tossed 2 touchdowns — both in the first half — and racked up 280 yards on the vaunted Chicago ‘D.’ He was hit only twice and rarely pressured before Chuck Pagano’s timely zero blitz call on the final third down, yielding a Roquan Smith sack.

Balance on offense: Despite Detroit missing its top run defender Damon Harrison and Chicago’s top pick David Montgomery perhaps looking as good as we’ve seen all season, the rookie only garnered 16 carries for 75 yards (4.7 YPC) while Trubisky dropped back 42 times.

What’s next: The Bears will play again in front of a national Thursday audience, welcoming the Dallas Cowboys, who hosted the Buffalo Bills on Thanksgiving.

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