Without Stafford, Lions' Season Ends with 20-13 Loss in Windy City
On Saturday, nearly everyone dismissed the reports that Matthew Stafford could miss the most important game of the season.
There were reports that said Stafford was being advised to not play Sunday against the Bears.
Because Stafford has been an iron man, many believed he would just suit up and tough it out against Chicago.
But he didn't, and the Lions dropped the Week 10 matchup with the rival Bears, 20-13.
He had started 136 consecutive games, and even played with broken bones in his back last season.
Then came the shocking news Sunday that Stafford had fractured bones in his back and would not be playing.
Prior to the game, Detroit general manager Bob Quinn commented, "Had the back injury last week, near the end of the Oakland game. Practiced on limited all week. Listed him as questionable. Got to the stadium this morning, met with the doctors and he wasn't medically cleared to play today. So, he's deactivated."
Enter backup Jeff Driskel.
To start the game, Driskel led the Lions on a 13-play, 73-yard drive that resulted in a Matt Prater field goal. Driskel went 5-of-6 on the drive for 56 yards.
After the first quarter, the Lions led 3-0.
Then the cascade of injuries for the Lions ensued and everything went south.
First, rookie running back Ty Johnson left the game.
He was evaluated for a concussion, followed by right tackle Rick Wagner.
Wagner also was evaluated for a concussion.
A'Shawn Robinson also left the game with an apparent thumb injury.
Prior to the half, Mitchell Trubisky connected with tight end Ben Braunecker for an 18-yard touchdown that gave the Bears a 7-6 lead.
The Lions had possession prior to the half ending, but elected to call a draw play instead of attempting the Hail Mary.
The second half saw the Bears take over the game with two third-quarter touchdowns.
First, Trubisky found Tarik Cohen for a nine-yard score.
Then, later in the quarter, he connected with Taylor Gabriel for a 24-yard score that gave the Bears a 20-6 advantage.
After the hot start to his first game with the Lions, Driskel wasn't able to move the ball down the field with much efficiency again until late in the fourth quarter.
He connected with Golladay on a 47-yard bomb with 5:53 to play, cutting the deficit to 20-13.
It marked the culmination of a four-play, 81-yard drive spearheaded by Driskel.
It was also the final score of the game for the Stafford-less Lions which fell to 3-5-1 with the loss.
It all but eliminates the chance of postseason play for Matt Patricia & Co. this season.
The most important question now will be how the Lions handle Stafford the rest of the way in 2019.
Sad to say, Detroit fans, but it's already time to look ahead to the 2020 campaign.