(670 The Score) Boy, the Lions are BAD. It feels like that should've been obvious – they're winless, after all – heading into Thursday, but watching them for 60 minutes really reminded everyone outside of Detroit just how bad you have to be to go 0-10-1. Thanks in no small part – and I really can’t stress this enough – to the Lions' total inability to play good football, the Bears’ five-game losing streak is over and coach Matt Nagy is probably safe to start game planning for the Cardinals. Here are the grades from a statement win (what exactly it’s stating is tbd) for Nagy and the 4-7 (in the hunt?!) Bears.
At halftime, Andy Dalton already had 16 completions (and 27 attempts!) for 220 yards with a touchdown – he probably should've had two, but a poorly thrown ball to Damiere Byrd ended up in the hands of Lions cornerback Amani Oruwariye. Dalton went 24-of-39 for 317 yards, which was the first 300-yard passing performance for the Bears this season. Of all the unimpressive passing performances that the Bears have had, this one was generally more tolerable. Darnell Mooney definitely has a case of the drops, but he also has a case of being the only good receiver on the team (although Byrd had a couple big third-down catches), so his numbers (five catches, 123 yards) looked pretty good again – it was the second straight game that Mooney has gone over 100 receiving yards, the first time he has had back-to-back games like that all year. The tight ends even contributed! Jimmy Graham had a touchdown, because of course he did, and Cole Kmet’s game (eight catches, 65 yards) was pretty good by Kmet’s standards. The offensive line held up too – the Bears had a rough day running the ball (68 net rushing yards) but only allowed one sack, so that’ll do.
It … could've been worse? Outside of a few egregious plays, cornerback Artie Burns – who got the start in place of a struggling Kindle Vildor – played fine. Losing Roquan Smith midway through the second quarter was a huge blow, and Christian Jones (team-high six tackles) played an up-and-down game in Smith’s place. Robert Quinn had another sack and was unsurprisingly involved in most of the defense’s biggest plays. Trevis Gipson and Jaylon Johnson both had Peanut Punches, so that’s cool too. Allowing 14 points on 239 net yards is an objectively good performance for the Bears defense, even if it didn’t necessarily pass the eye test the whole time. It’s also easy to play defense when the other team is getting flagged for holding a half-dozen times per game, but beggars can’t be choosers. Eddie Goldman flashed, Eddie Jackson returned and there wasn’t a late-game collapse – that’s a win in 2021.
Special teams: A
It’s probably a little concerning that Cairo Santos is no longer automatic, but at least he can still hit game-winning chip shots! His 28-yard field goal (after an 18-play drive!) sealed the Bears’ win, so that gets him an A automatically. Leaving a 53-yard attempt noticeably short in a dome isn’t a great look, but that’s a problem for another day. He scored 10 of the Bears’ 16 points, which we’ll pretend is a good thing. Meanwhile, Pat O’Donnell continued to punt so hard, all over the place. His four punts averaged 46 yards, and he placed half of them inside the Lions’ 20-yard line. Pat O’Donnell, man. Jakeem Grant runs every single punt and kick return back, which I love for him.
Cam Ellis is a writer for 670 The Score and Audacy Sports. Follow him on Twitter @KingsleyEllis.