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Week 12 Game Recap: Chicago Bears 23, Detroit Lions 16


What you need to know

Chicago Bears

It took a little bit of time as the Bears got off to a slow start, but at the end of the day, the passing game seemingly did not miss a beat with Chase Daniel filling in for Mitchell Trubisky this week. The Bears game plan was simple in that they ran short routes to utilize their speed to beat the Lions underneath with Taylor Gabriel and Tarik Cohen. The Bears also abandoned the running game this week after struggling at the start as it was bottled up as the Lions defensive line prevented any holes from opening up.

Detroit Lions

Detroit’s offense struggled against the Chicago Bears defense on Thanksgiving. Missing both Marvin Jones and Kerryon Johnson to injury, Detroit’s offense struggled to create much separation in the passing game. Kenny Golladay was unable to create vertical opportunities consistently, while Bruce Ellington and Theo Riddick were used extensively in the short passing game. LeGarrette Blount capitalized on the absence of Kerryon Johnson, turning in his best game of the season, with two touchdowns.

Chicago Bears

QB Chase Daniel, 58 offensive snaps, Pass: 27 - 37 - 230 - 2 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 4 - 4 - 0, Rec: 1 - 8 - 0 (1 targets)
The game plan was simple for the Bears this week and Chase Daniel. Simplify the game plan, give him one to two reads and then get rid of the ball. According to NFL Next Gen Stats, Daniel released the ball on an average of 2.55 seconds which would be the fastest average in the NFL this season. Daniel looked poised outside of a missed overthrow to Anthony Miller as he was willing to take the easiest routes which were short speed routes to Taylor Gabriel and Tarik Cohen and did throw a perfect deep pass to Allen Robinson for a 29-yard gain on his longest throw of the day.

RB Tarik Cohen, 22 offensive snaps, Rush: 3 - 14 - 0, Rec: 7 - 45 - 1 (8 targets)
The Bears all but abandoned the running game in this game and primarily used Tarik Cohen as a receiver out of both the backfield and the slot. All but one of Cohen's catches were within three yards of the line of scrimmage as the team tried to get him the ball quickly and have him run after the catch. Cohen made the most of his one reception longer than three yards downfield as he was able to use his speed on a wheel route to run past the defender for an easy touchdown.

RB Jordan Howard, 35 offensive snaps, Rush: 7 - 13 - 0, Rec: 1 - 2 - 0 (2 targets)
Jordan Howard continues to struggle for the Bears and it is seemingly getting worse. Howard struggled to get anything going in this game and as a result, the Bears abandoned going back to the running back on the ground as he saw just seven carries in this game with his long being for four yards. While Howard continues to look exceptionally slow this season the struggles are not entirely his fault. The loss of Kyle Long continues to have a massive impact on the interior of this offensive line.

WR Taylor Gabriel, 47 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 49 - 0 (8 targets)
Taylor Gabriel continues to play a possession receiver role with Allen Robinson's return and Anthony Miller's continued development. This week was no different as the Bears used Gabriel using him primarily on quick out routes to get the ball out of Chase Daniel's hands quickly. The Bears also tried to get him in space on two plays throwing to Gabriel behind the backfield and while he was unable to do much it is still a great sign that the Bears are making a concerted effort to get Gabriel the ball even with a healthy receiving group back.

WR Anthony Miller, 33 offensive snaps, Pass: 1 - 1 - 8 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rec: 3 - 41 - 0 (4 targets)
Miller was largely a non-factor in this game but did catch a 26-yard reception in which he simply outran Nevin Lawson on a deep in route over the middle. Miller is playing more of a deep threat role in this offense along with Allen Robinson as Taylor Gabriel and Tarik Cohen play more of the underneath roles.

WR Allen Robinson, 51 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 37 - 0 (4 targets)
Allen Robinson was in for a bit of a challenge in this game as he was frequently covered by Darius Slay and is asked to run deeper routes than Chase Daniel was comfortable throwing. Robinson did make an incredible play on a fly route in which he ran past Darius Slay and Chase Daniel threw a tremendous pass that only Robinson could catch the ball. Robinson also made a tremendous catch on a hitch route in which the ball was dangerously thrown inside and Robinson broke up what could have been an interception by making a diving play to cutoff Darius Slay who was closing quickly.

TE Trey Burton, 55 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 28 - 0 (7 targets)
Burton did see an uptick in targets this week as the Bears tried to use him in the underneath role giving Chase Daniel another option to check the ball down to. Burton has yet to show the speed that we saw against the Patriots more than a month ago.


Detroit Lions

QB Matthew Stafford, 66 offensive snaps, Pass: 28 - 38 - 236 - 0 TD / 2 INT
Matthew Stafford struggled to stretch the field against Chicago while missing Marvin Jones and still adjusting to losing Golden Tate to a trade. On the positive side, Stafford benefitted from improved offensive line play that protected him from Chicago’s strong pass rush and was only sacked twice. On the bad side, Stafford threw two interceptions that were both intended for Michael Roberts. The first was clearly on Stafford as he threw the ball inside Roberts on a short flat route that was an easy pick-6. The second was less clear as Roberts looked to run an out in the end zone while Stafford threw the pass as if he anticipated a corner route. Stafford also threw a pass behind Riddick on a wheel route that should have been a touchdown. Stafford’s throw took Riddick out of stride and he was tackled short of the goal line setting up a LeGarrette Blount rushing touchdown. Stafford will look to rebound against the Rams next week.

RB LeGarrette Blount, 33 offensive snaps, Rush: 19 - 88 - 2, Rec: 1 - 15 - 0 (1 targets)
LeGarrette Blount started in the absence of Kerryon Johnson on Thanksgiving against the Bears. Blount was involved early in the game and managed multiple big plays throughout the game after spending recent weeks struggling to develop positive runs. Blount had success behind the left side of the offensive line breaking off carries of 9 and 27 yards and had a wide-open reception for 15 yards. Blount tried to cut back to the middle of the field on the reception instead of heading toward the sideline where there were no defenders. Blount scored twice at the goal line on after struggling to punch his opportunities in for scores in recent weeks. Blount will face the Los Angeles Rams next week, but Johnson’s health is a key to monitor leading up to the game.

RB Theo Riddick, 29 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 12 - 0, Rec: 7 - 48 - 0 (7 targets)
Theo Riddick tied with Bruce Ellington for the second most targets behind Kenny Golladay. Riddick has benefitted from the absence of both Kerry Johnson and Marvin Jones with heavy use in the short passing game. Riddick was targeted on multiple screens and angle routes but had the opportunity for a long touchdown on a wheel route. Riddick caught the ball on the play, but the throw was behind him and forced him to break stride. Riddick was forced out of bounds in the red zone and it set up a LeGarrette Blount touchdown. Riddick should benefit from negative game script against the Rams next weekend, but Johnson’s injury status is important to monitor.

WR Bruce Ellington, 54 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 2 - 0, Rec: 6 - 28 - 0 (7 targets)
Bruce Ellington was featured in the short passing game against Chicago on Thanksgiving Day. He benefitted from increased volume with Marvin Jones and Kerryon Johnson both missing the game with injury. Ellington ran most of his routes within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage, including crossing routes, slants and screens. Ellington appeared to be open on a deep over route late in the fourth quarter for what would have been a touchdown, but Stafford threw the ball underneath to Kenny Golladay. Ellington’s yardage output is limited by his short depth of target, but he would likely continue to see target volume if Jones or Johnson continue to miss time.

WR Kenny Golladay, 65 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 90 - 0 (8 targets)
Kenny Golladay had another game to showcase as a WR1 for Detroit and underwhelmed. With Marvin Jones missing the game with an injury, Golladay had an early third down conversion and a drop before going missing throughout the remainder of the first half. He later was schemed up for two crossing routes, including a 43-yard reception, but struggled to separate when he was not schemed into coverage from a linebacker. Golladay also had two drops, including a post that should have been a touchdown. Golladay makes flashy plays and has a good highlight reel but is still developing the necessary skills to be a consistent professional receiver. He should have a good opportunity against the Rams next Sunday.

WR T.J. Jones, 45 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 15 - 0 (1 targets)
T.J. Jones figured to have a larger role with Marvin Jones injured, but was only targeted once for a 15-yard inbreaking route. He will face the Rams in week 13 but will be of little value if Marvin Jones returns to the lineup.

TE Michael Roberts, 23 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 16 - 0 (6 targets)
Michael Roberts saw more usage in the offense against Chicago but did not have a productive game. Roberts was targeted on both of Matthew Stafford’s interceptions. The first interception was a pick-6 where Stafford threw the ball inside of Roberts on an out to the flat, while the second appeared to be a miscommunication on routes in the end zone. Roberts was also targeted up the seam in the end zone, but a Chicago defender made a good deflection on the pass. Roberts has been more involved in the offense throughout this season but struggles to accelerate and move in space.