It wasn’t Jim Schwartz throwing an illegal challenge flag, but the Detroit Lions found another boneheaded way to lose on Thanksgiving.
Santos’ kick came five plays after the Lions were penalized 5 yards on third-and-9 for taking consecutive timeouts before the Bears ran a play.
The Lions took a 14-13 lead late in the third quarter, but could not come up with a defensive stop on the final series of the game, when the Bears drove 69 yards in 18 plays and ran 8 minutes, 30 seconds off the clock.
The Lions stopped David Montgomery on a 1-yard run on the first play after the two-minute warning. They took a timeout to stop the clock, then with their defense scrambling at the line scrimmage to match up on third-and-9, first-year Lions head coach Dan Campbell and defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn signaled for another timeout from the sideline before the Bears snapped the ball.
Andy Dalton threw complete to Damiere Byrd on third-and-4, and Dalton took three knees before Santos came on for his third field goal of the game.
The Lions, 0-10-1 and the only winless team in the NFL, have lost on last-second field goals three times this season. Justin Tucker hit an NFL-record 66-yarder to give the Baltimore Ravens a 19-17 win over the Lions at Ford Field in Week 3, and Greg Joseph made a career-long 54-yarder to give the Minnesota Vikings a 19-17 win over the Lions two weeks later.
The Lions have not won a game since Dec. 6, 2020, when they beat the Bears in Darrell Bevell’s first game as interim head coach. They play their next game Dec. 5, against the Vikings at Ford Field.
Jared Goff, making his return from a strained oblique, completed 12 straight passes to start the game for the Lions and finished 21 of 25 for 171 yards with two touchdowns.
He opened the scoring with a 39-yard touchdown pass to Josh Reynolds, his former teammate with the Los Angeles Rams, on the Lions’ first possession, and gave the Lions a 14-13 lead in the third quarter with a 17-yard touchdown pass to T.J. Hockenson.
D’Andre Swift, coming off back-to-back 130-yard rushing games, left with a shoulder injury in the first half and finished with three carries for zero yards.
The Lions committed penalties on three consecutive plays twice Thursday, including once in the first half, when two false starts and a holding penalty knocked them out of field goal range and left them in an unmanageable first-and-30 from midfield.
The Bears took a 10-7 lead on the next possession, when Darnell Mooney beat fill-in nickel back Will Harris for a 52-yard gain on first down and Dalton followed with a 17-yard touchdown pass to Jimmy Graham.
Dalton, starting in place of injured Bears rookie Justin Fields, completed 24 of 39 passes for 317 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Mooney added five catches for 123 yards for the Bears, who entered Thursday last in the NFL in passing offense at 155.8 yards per game.
Contact Dave Birkett at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Lions lose to Bears on final play of Thanksgiving game, remain winless