Dagger Time: Lions Blow Lead, Lose Opener to Chicago Bears, 27-23
The Detroit Lions always seem to find a way to lose.
On this occasion, Detroit blew another lead, and lost its season opener to the Chicago Bears, 27-23.
"We want to win, you know. So, anything less than that, it's going to be disappointing," Lions head coach Matt Patricia said in his postgame press conference Sunday. "But, we understand that with that and trying to finish games out and trying to make sure that we do a good job of coaching in those situations, you know, we've got to just fight through the first game for us. First time we've been out there where, whatever we are right now, four weeks in and the entire season finally being together. So, we've got some work in front of us. We know it takes a long time. It doesn't just kind of happen on its own, and we got to just push forward."
In one of the most unique settings for a sporting event in recent memory, the Lions opened their season in front of no fans inside the confines of Ford Field.
Sheila Ford Hamp and Lions ownership were spotted pregame in the stands observing warmups.
Prior to the game, it was announced that rookie Jeff Okudah and fourth-year wide receiver Kenny Golladay would not participate in the season opener due to hamstring injuries.
Running back Kerryon Johnson saw early carries as the Lions' starting running back, but Detroit started off with a quick three-and-out in its first offensive possession of 2020.
Detroit opened the scoring midway through the first quarter, as Stafford led the team on a seven-play, 56-yard drive prior to kicker Matt Prater giving Detroit a 3-0 lead.
Veteran running back Adrian Peterson saw his first carry as a member of the Lions on Detroit's first scoring drive.
The future Pro Football Hall of Famer displayed the quickness that fans have become accustomed to, as he rushed for a first down on a carry of 19 yards in his first touch as a Lion.
Early in the second quarter, veteran linebacker Jamie Collins was debating a call with an NFL official, and made contact with the official using his helmet.
He subsequently was penalized 15 yards, and ejected from his first game in a Lions uniform since NFL rules clearly dictate that a player shall not make contact with an NFL official -- whether it's on purpose or on accident.
Late in the second quarter, Stafford led Detroit on a four-play, 48-yard drive that was capped off by a 1-yard touchdown scamper from rookie D'Andre Swift that gave Detroit a 13-6 lead heading into halftime.
Swift became the first running back drafted by the Lions to score a touchdown in his NFL debut since running back Dwayne Washington accomplished the feat in Week 1 of the 2016 season.
Stafford led the offense on another scoring drive to start the second half.
Detroit's offense marched down the field for an eight-play, 72-yard drive that resulted in a four-yard touchdown pass to tight end T.J. Hockenson, giving Detroit a 20-6 advantage.
Detroit's already thin secondary lost both of its starting cornerbacks -- Desmond Trufant and Justin Coleman -- to injury against the Bears.
Chicago kept clawing its way back in the second half.
And in the fourth quarter, quarterback Mitchell Trubisky quickly led the Bears on a five-play, 55-yard touchdown drive to draw the Bears within a field goal of Detroit.
Detroit attempted to feed Peterson a heavy dose of carries late in the game to try and seal the victory, but was unsuccessful.
The Bears were able to pick off Stafford, and marched down the field for the go-ahead touchdown.
Stafford & Co. did have one more shot, though.
The 12th-year passer threw what should have been a game-winning touchdown pass to a wide-open Swift with six seconds to go.
However, Swift proceeded to drop the ball as he got ready to enter the end zone.
The rookie mistake cost the Lions the game, and ultimately gave the Bears the 27-23 win.
Stafford & Co. continue to fail to close out opponents late in games.
It's an issue that has gotten the best of the Lions since last season.
Sunday's loss, in fact, marks the eighth time the organization has blown a fourth-quarter lead since the start of the 2019 campaign.
Detroit now sits at 0-1 on the season, and will go on the road next week to face the Green Bay Packers.