JC's Live Game Blog: Bears at Lions

It's Christmas Eve, Bears fans, and the Monsters of the Midway would like to give themselves an early present and defeat the division-rival Lions in Detroit. Be sure to refresh this page every 10 to 15 minutes for all the goings on from Ford Field. From the field to the sideline to the press box, JC will make you feel like you're there.

(10:52) Happy Holidays, Bears fans. It's going to be quite interesting here at Ford Field today. For the second consecutive season, Lions fans are threatening a walkout midway through the third quarter in protest of an atrocious 23-71 record under general manager Matt Millen. The Bears have nothing left to play for after wrapping up home-field advantage last Sunday, but losing to the 2-12 Lions would still be inexcusable. Whether or not backup quarterback Brian Griese sees significant action in the second half is another story to watch ...

(11:19) The Bears are going with their white-on-white uniforms again today, the second time in as many road games ...

(11:28) I've just found out that Thomas Jones is active today. I'll get the full list of inactives here pretty soon. I'm a little bit surprised and figured that Jones would be given the day off today to rest his myriad injuries ...

(11:32) Kyle Orton, Tyler Everett, Nick Turnbull, Charles Tillman, J.D, Runnels, Leon Joe, John Tait, and newly-signed Delbert Cowsette will be inactive today for the Bears. As for the Lions, QB Dan Orlovsky, WR Corey Bradford, WR Eddie Drummond, OG Rick DeMulling, OG Ross Verba, DB Fernando Bryant, LB Teddy Lehman and DL Langston Moore will sit this one out. The Bears get Nathan Vasher back at corner, but with Tillman not playing today, Ricky Manning Jr. gets the start again ...

(11:53) Needless to say, it's a late-arriving crowd today at Ford Field. If they even show up at all. Just a sad state of affairs for the Lions franchise ...

(12:02) The Bears have won the toss and elected to receive ...

(12:15) Robbie Gould gets the Bears on the board right away with a 36-yard field goal. It's 3-0, and that opening drive took 6:22 off the clock. Rex Grossman hit six of his first eight passes and has already found four different receivers ...

(12:18) Adrian Peterson got a good pop there making the tackle on the ensuing kickoff. He's also finding a role as the third-down back and proving that he can get it done on offense. He's the kind of hard-working player you want to root for and hope succeeds ...

(12:25) The Lions are forced to punt almost right away as frustrating second-year prospect Mike Williams drops a third-down pass from Jon Kitna right between the numbers. That guy looks gigantic. Seriously, he might be playing tight end next season ...

(12:29) Jason McKie might be out for the rest of this game due to an injury, so we'll probably see a bunch of backup tight end Gabe Reid lining up at fullback ...

(12:32) Grossman can't put anything together on his second drive as Brad Maynard comes in for his first punt of the day. Reid got absolutely blasted by Dre' Bly on second down. You'll see that one on Jacked Up! tomorrow night, I guarantee it ...

(12:36) After a 48-yard punt return, it takes Kitna a grand total of two plays to go 49 yards for a Lions touchdown. After hitting Roy Williams on a deep dig for 26 yards, he finds tight end Dan Campbell from 23 yards out down the middle. That was a good-looking catch and an even better throw as Detroit takes the lead 7-3 ...

(12:40) As has been the case lately, Cedric Benson is in the backfield on the Bears' third offensive series ...

(12:43) That's the end of the first quarter as Cedric Benson just picked up a new set of downs with a 4-yard run on 4th-and-2. Not only was it good to see head coach Lovie Smith roll the dice right there, it was even better to see offensive coordinator Ron Turner trust his offensive line and run the ball with his bruising tailback. The Bears are moving the ball very well so far, but they'll start the second quarter trailing ...

(12:47) Touchdown Bears as Grossman finds Bernard Berrian cutting across the field on a shallow drag pattern. No. 8 has completed 10 of 15 passes for 103 yards and a score in the early going. Jones and Benson have 56 yards on 12 carries in only 16 minutes or so of action. Although this defense needs to start resembling the dominant unit it was in the beginning of the season ...

(12:57) Alfonso Boone blasts through the line of scrimmage and sacks Kitna on second down. It's no surprise that Detroit gave up a sack because they lead the league in that dubious category, but Boone is primarliy in there for run support. After the punt, the Bears get the ball back at their own 49-yard line ...

(1:02) Lots of second-teamers are already seeing some time on offense. Mark Bradley was in there that whole series as Berrian watched from the sideline. Another gorgeous punt by Maynard is downed at the Detroit 6-yard line as field position is starting to become a factor ...

(1:07) Roy Williams drops his second pass of the game over the middle, and Danieal Manning almost comes up with this thid interception of the year. The Lions only have 87 yards of total offense, and more than half of that came on back-to-back plays in the first quarter. Jones is back in there at running back ...

(1:13) The Lions try an end-around on 3rd-and-3, but rookie Mark Anderson destroys the play in the backfield for a loss of 9 yards. This kid has been amazing all season. Devin Hester calls for the fair catch at his own 19, and it's about time for Grossman to put something together here ...

(1:17) Jones broke loose for a nice run of 12 yards, but eventually Maynard comes on to punt for the third consecutive series. Grossman has only hit three of his last seven throws, and those have been of the dump-off variety. 4:10 left in the second quarter as the Lions start from deep inside their own territory again ...

(1:21) Hey, another drop for Mike Williams. What a shock. And hey, another sack by Anderson. No shock there. Man, Anderson is just overflowing with quickness and speed ...

(1:30) Great second effort from Peterson as he drives for the goalline and scores from 2 yards out. Gould converts the extra point and pushes the lead to 17-7 with just 26 second left to play before halftime. The key play was a 22-yard strike from Grossman to Desmond Clark down the middle. When Clark is involved, Grossman plays well. The Bears have already run 45 plays on offense in this game ...

(1:36) And that's the half as the Lions exit the field to a chorus of boos. Although there are a ton of Bears fans here today. Grossman looks very good, 16-of-26 for 160 yards and a touchdown. Jones and Benson have combined for 18 carries and 80 yards, and Peterson is becoming more and more valuable as a third-down back. Take away those two long passes from Kitna, and the Lions have done nothing offensively ...

(1:50) The Lions will start the second half on offense ...

(1:58) Detroit drives 71 yards for a touchdown as Kitna hits Mike Furrey from 20 yards out. Furrey was in the Arena League not too long ago and playing safety a year ago. Now he's the leading receiver in Mike Martz's offense. We've got a ballgame here. 17-14 Bears. The Brian Griese watch officially begins ...

(2:05) Grossman is sacked for the first time today and can't pick up a first down on his first possession of the second half. The Bears miss left tackle John Tait, no question about it. He's missing his second consecutive gmae with an ankle injury ...

(2:14) Roy Williams convinces head coach Rod Marinelli to throw the challenge flag after his sideline catch was ruled incomplete, and he's proven right. The Lions are on the move again after that 14-yard play. It will be interesting to see how much of an emphasis Lovie Smith puts on actually winning this game ...

(2:18) Roy Williams beats Vasher, his college teammate on the fade pattern from 2 yards out. All of a sudden, the Lions have scored two touchdowns in the third quarter and now lead this sucker 21-17. Let's see if this has any effect on the proposed walkout ...

(2:25) Another three-and-out for the Bears as they will have to give the ball back to a red-hot Lions offense. Grossman had Berrian open deep down the right side on a double-move, but he overthrew him but a hair. All the momentum is with Detroit right now ...

(2:27) The Bears needed a quick stop there from their defense, and they got it. Maybe Hester can make something happen here. Instead, he calls a late fair catch but is penalized when he tries to return the ball. He's been skakey all day today. Just indecisive for some reason ...

(2:34) And that's the end of the third quarter, Lions still leading 21-17. Grossman has the Bears on the move, although he missed Muhsin Muhammad on a double-move that would have been a gimme touchdown. I'm sure Lovie Smith wanted to get Grossman out of there by now, but he doesn't want to take him out after losing the lead like this ...

(2:40) The Bears were able to keep the drive alive thanks to a roughing-the-passer penalty on third down, but they still have to settle for a field goal. Gould splits the uprights from 36 yards out and trims the Detroit lead down to 21-10. That might be all we see from Grossman today because Griese is already getting loose ...

(2:52) Hester just can't find any wiggle room on returns today, and Detroit punter Nick Harris is having a tremendous day with his right leg ...

(2:55) Griese time, ladies and gentlemen ...

(3:02) Gould comes on from 39 yards and gives the lead back to the Bears. 23-21 Bears leading again. Good to see Griese have some immediate success as Grossman can relax on the sideline the rest of the way ...

(3:07) Anderson blasts through the right side and comes up with his second sack of the day. On top of that, he forces a Kitna fumble and gives the ball back to his offense. How much more can you expect from a fifth-round rookie ...

(3:09) Gould converts again, this time from 44 yards for his third made of the day. 26-21 Bears with just a little more than two minutes to play. Griese has completed 6 of 9 passes for 51 yards so far ...

(3:23) The Lions still have a shot at this thing. 28 seconds left with the ball at the Bears 40-yard line. You know Roy Williams is going to be the target here if they can get the ball in the end zone ...

(3:26) You couldn't dream up a script like this. On the last play of the game, Kitna does a beautiful job of avoiding the rush from Adewale Ogunleye and tosses a floater to the left side of the end zone. Mike Williams is one-on-one with Hester and has about a six-inch height advantage. Williams has dropped so many passes today, so as you'd expect, he lets a potential game-winner fall right out of his hands and harmlesslty to the turf. Game over, and the Bears escape with a 26-21 win as the Motor City is stunned in disbelief ...

Actually, when you consider all that's happened to this pitiful franshise this season, maybe that's exactly what Lions fans expected.

JC

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