Sad-sack Detroit Lions still had a chance for Thanksgiving win in 16-14 loss to Chicago Bears


Associated Press

DETROIT — The Detroit Lions, for all the mistakes they had made Thursday against the Chicago Bears, still had one chance to pick up their first win of the season.

Detroit led 14-13, but the Bears had driven to the Lions 16 with 1:54 to play. It was third-and-9, so coach Dan Campbell called a timeout to give his team its best chance. Get a stop — hopefully on an incomplete pass — and after Chicago’s chip-shot field goal, get the ball back with 1:45 to play and two timeouts.

Given Detroit’s pop-gun offense, it wasn’t an ideal strategy, but it had a chance. Defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn gave linebacker Alex Anzalone the play call, and the Lions lined up for one of their biggest plays of the season.

These Lions don’t make the big plays. Half the defense was in one formation and the other half was in a different one. The call had two options depending on how Chicago lined up, and several players read it the wrong way.

“There were a couple of substitution errors and some miscommunication,” Lions cornerback Amani Oruwariye said. “We can’t have that; especially given the season we’re having. We have to eliminate errors and we have to communicate.”

On the sideline, seeing the chaos unfolding and knowing the Bears were about to score a touchdown against their baffled defense, Campbell and Glenn desperately tried to call a second timeout.

They both knew that was illegal and would result in a 5-yard penalty for defensive delay of game and a lost timeout. But they didn’t think they had a choice.

The players understood the timeout; Anzalone agreed the Bears would have likely scored against the “void” caused by the misunderstanding. But they didn’t know about the penalty.

“I knew in basketball, you get a technical foul, but that’s all I knew,” Anzalone said. “I guess it’s a rule here, too.”