Dalton completed 24 of 39 passes for 317 yards with one touchdown, one interception and an 85.1 passer rating helping the Bears (4-7) record their first win since a 20-9 victory over the Raiders on October 10 in Las Vegas.
“It’s like a breath of fresh air,” Santos said. “We’ve had opportunities to clear games over the past few weeks, but there’s no pointing fingers. That’s what I love about the room. It’s kind of just, ‘Just put your head down and keep working.'”
Coach Matt Nagy praised players and coaches for staying focused on the task ahead of them during a tumultuous few days that began Tuesday when a completely false message that Nagy would be relieved of his duties after the Lions game was reported.
“All I can do is express full appreciation and thank the players and coaches,” Nagy said. “I can’t ask for anything more. This is a special group across the board. Obviously we’ve been through some stuff in the last few days, the distractions. But it just proves who they are; what kind of fighters they are, what kind of kind of winners they are, I just can’t tell you how much this win means to me today because of what they’ve done.”
The Bears defense allowed a total of 239 yards and only 14 first downs, but the unit allowed an efficient Jared Goff to complete 21 of 25 passes for 171 yards with two touchdowns and a 121.8 passer rating.
Goff’s 39-yard TD pass to receiver Josh Reynolds on the Lions’ first possession of the game gave Detroit an early 7-0 lead.
The Bears scored 13 unanswered runs in the second quarter and took a 13-7 lead at halftime on Dalton’s 17-yard TD pass to Jimmy Graham and Santos field goals from 28 and 43 yards. But Goff put the Lions back on top 14-13 with a 17-yard TD pass to make TJ Hockenson tight with 1:46 left in the third quarter.
But then the Bears rallied and put together their impressive game-winning drive.
“There was a lot going on this week,” said Cole Kmet, who caught a game-high eight passes for 65 yards. “So for us to come together and get that win there, it just feels good to break that streak. We had fun there, which is good. At the end of the day we executed when it mattered and finally got that win.”
Here’s an overview of what happened in the game:
After the Lions took a 7-0 lead, the Bears narrowed the deficit to 7-3 on Santos’ 28-yard field goal early in the second quarter. The kick capped off a 10-play, 74-yard drive highlighted by Dalton’s completions of 33 yards to Darnell Mooney and 17 yards to Graham.
The kick came all at once after Jesse James alertly broke a possible interception by Lions cornerback Amani Oruwariye in the end zone.
The Bears later took a 10-7 lead, covering 69 yards in just two games and :52. Dalton rained down a 52-yard completion to Mooney and followed with a 17-yard touchdown strike to Graham with 4:29 left in the second quarter.
The Bears defense then generated a takeaway when Trevis Gipson knocked the ball away from Goff and recovered the fumble at the Lions’ 39. Goff lost the ball while being fired by Robert Quinn. It wasn’t a fumble originally, but coach Matt Nagy challenged the call and it was reversed via replay review.
On the third and 10th of the Detroit 23, the Bears were in a prime position to extend their lead with at least a field goal. But Dalton’s discarded pass, intended for Byrd in the end zone, was intercepted by Oruwariye.
After the defense forced a three-and-out, Dalton set up a 7-play, 29-yard drive to set up Santos’ 43-yard field goal as time went on in the top half, extending the Bears’ lead to 13-7.
In the first half, Dalton completed 16 of 26 passes for 220 yards with one touchdown, one interception and a score of 85.4 pass. Mooney caught three passes for 96 yards. And David Montgomery rushed for just 12 yards on five carries.
For the Lions, Goff tied on 12 of 13 passes for 97 yards with one TD and a score of 123.4. Reynolds caught two passes for 55 yards and one TD. And D’Andre Swift was held ten feet away before he left with a shoulder injury.
Early in the second half, the Bears had the opportunity to extend their lead. But a holding penalty on Cody Whitehair overturned Dalton’s 7-yard scramble to the Lions’ 18 at third-and-6, and Santos briefly missed a 53-yard field goal attempt.
The Lions then took a 14-13 lead on Goff’s 17-yard TD pass to Hockenson with 1:46 left in the third quarter, capping off a 7-play, 79-yard drive.
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