Lions vs. Bears score: Cairo Santos hits walk-off FG to give Chicago surprising Thanksgiving win over Detroit

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Joshua Bessex/Getty Images

The Chicago Bears made sure they weren't going to be the first team to lose to the Detroit Lions in 2021. Trailing by a point for all but one second of the fourth quarter, Cairo Santos hit the game-winning 28-yard field goal as time expired to give Chicago a 16-14 victory over Detroit on Thanksgiving. 

The Bears held the ball for the final 8:30, resulting in an 18-play drive that was their longest possession (by number of plays) since 2013. Andy Dalton was 4-for-5 for 46 yards on the final drive, connecting with Cole Kmet for 12 yards to put the Bears in field goal range to take the lead. A series of coaching errors by Dan Campbell and the Lions coaching staff followed as the Bears were set to kick the go-ahead field goal and give Detroit the ball back with under two minutes to play. Misuse of timeouts cost Detroit that opportunity and gave Chicago the walk-off win. 

The Lions took a 14-13 lead on a Jared Goff 17-yard pass to T.J. Hockenson with 1:46 to play in the third quarter. Detroit didn't have D'Andre Swift for the majority of this one due to a shoulder injury, yet were able to move the ball on their final two possessions of the second half. Detroit could have extended its lead in the fourth quarter, but three consecutive penalties in Bears territory forced a third-and-32 (the second one Detroit had in the game) and give Chicago the ball back with 8:30 to play -- which the Bears used the remaining time to pull off the victory. 

As you consume your turkey, here are takeaways from this thriller. A recap of this game can be found in our live blog below! 

Why the Bears won

Chicago was able to take advantage of Detroit mistakes on the final possession in order to snatch victory from the Lions. The Bears held the ball for the final 8:30 on an 18-play drive that was the longest possession by the team in eight years. Andy Dalton deserves a lot of credit for leading Chicago on the final drive, completing 80% of his passes as all four of his completions went for first downs. 

Dalton also had a crucial 9-yard run with 3:58 left that put the Bears in position for a Santos chip shot. Detroit gaffes set up Chicago to kick the winner as time expired, but the damage was already done. 

Why the Lions lost

Penalties and coaching gaffes cost Detroit an opportunity at its first win of the year. The Lions were called for three consecutive penalties on two separate occasions in this game -- both occasions costing them potential points as the Lions were at the Bears' 29 in the first half and their own 47 in the fourth quarter when the consecutive penalties occurred. The Lions could have gotten at least one field goal out of those possessions, forcing the Bears to score a touchdown at the end of the game. Instead, Detroit faced two third-and-32 situations. 

Head coach Dan Campbell also had an opportunity to get the ball back late in the game as the Bears were playing for the field goal and the lead with under two minutes left. The Lions called consecutive timeouts which led to a 5-yard penalty and set up a manageable third-and-4 with 1:54 left at the Lions' 11. Dalton completed a short pass which allowed Chicago to run the remaining time off the clock and kick the winner. 

The coaching staff cost the Lions in this one. 

Turning point

Detroit calling back-to-back timeouts with 1:54 left cost the Lions the opportunity to get the ball back. Dalton threw a short third-and-9 pass to David Montgomery that was omitted due to Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn trying to call another timeout -- which the officials accepted. 

If the timeout wasn't called, the Bears kick the field goal with over 1:30 to play and take a 16-14 lead -- giving the Lions one final chance to have a drive to convert a winning field goal of their own. Campbell's gaffe didn't give Detroit an opportunity to win its first game of the year. 

So, why did the Lions call the timeout in the first place? They weren't lined up right. They almost had too many men on the play after the timeout. Just poor all around. 

Play of the game

There wasn't much to choose from in this one, but the interception by Amani Oruwariye off Andy Dalton in the end zone near the end of the first half was the biggest defensive play for the Lions. 

On third-and-10 with a clean pocket, Dalton forced one into the end zone to Damiere Byrd with Oruwariye in position to snatch the ball and hold the Bears to zero points with a 10-7 lead. Chicago had plenty of opportunities to control the game early, but Oruwariye and the Lions defense held serve in the red zone on several occasions. 

The Bears could have led by two scores at the half. Oruwariye was part of the reason Detroit was able to eventually take the lead late. 

The quote

"What I care about are these players and coaches. They deserve this. When there's distractions, it's how you handle it." -- Bears head coach Matt Nagy after the win. 

Nagy had to answer questions about his job security all week as the Bears head coach is trying to save his coaching gig in Chicago. While the future may already be determined for Nagy, the bears have never fired a coach mid season. here's no indication that will happen at this juncture under the McCaskey family. 

Up next 

The Bears (4-7) will host the Cardinals (9-2) on Sunday, Dec. 5 while the Lions (0-10-1) host the Vikings (5-5) on the same day in Week 13. Both teams have 10 days off. 

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THU 12:30 P
DET +2.5, o41.5
FOX
DET 2.5, O/U 41.5

Season Leaders

passing
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J. Fields 1361 YD, 4 TDS, 8 INTS
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J. Fields 1361 YD, 4 TDS, 8 INTS
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J. Goff 2576 YD, 13 TDS, 7 INTS
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J. Goff 2576 YD, 13 TDS, 7 INTS
rushing
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D. Montgomery 134 ATT, 566 YD, 4 TDS
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D. Montgomery 134 ATT, 566 YD, 4 TDS
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D. Swift 140 ATT, 555 YD, 4 TDS
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D. Swift 140 ATT, 555 YD, 4 TDS
receiving
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D. Mooney 51 REC, 721 YD, 3 TDS
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D. Mooney 51 REC, 721 YD, 3 TDS
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T. Hockenson 61 REC, 583 YD, 4 TDS
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T. Hockenson 61 REC, 583 YD, 4 TDS
Live updates
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@ChicagoBears via Twitter
November 25, 2021, 9:00 PM
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Cairo Santos hits the 28-yard FG and the Bears win it. The Bears have their longest drive in eight years (18 plays) to win the game. 16-14 Bears. Lions remain winless. 

November 25, 2021, 8:43 PM
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The Bears will kick a Fg with a few seconds left here. Only way Detroit is winning is via a block. 

November 25, 2021, 8:38 PM
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Aaron Glenn just burned a timeout on a play which the Bears were just going to dump it off and take the three points on third down. Horrible by the Lions -- who used back-to-back timeouts and now suffer a 5-yard penalty. That makes it a 3rd-and-4. The Bears can run the clock out if they get a first down. 

November 25, 2021, 8:35 PM
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Dan Campbell hasn't used any of his timeouts yet as we're at the two minute warning. Bears set up to kick a winning FG soon. 

November 25, 2021, 8:31 PM
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Andy Dalton's run has the Bears in FG range and set up for the win. Can the Lions hold Chicago to just a FG? 11 play drive as the Bears trail 14-13 with under 3 to play. 

November 25, 2021, 8:28 PM
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@Lions via Twitter
November 25, 2021, 8:27 PM
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Defensive holding on 3rd-and-5 extends the Bears drive, but Dalton got the first down pass to Byrd. Bears at midfield down 1 with 6:10 left. 

November 25, 2021, 8:23 PM
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The Lions have been called for penalties on three consecutive plays twice in this game. 

November 25, 2021, 8:21 PM
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Holding penalties kill another Lions drive. The Lions faced their 2nd 3rd-and-32 on the day and are forced to punt. Bears get the ball with 8:30 left with a chance at the lead. Penalties are destroying Detroit today. 

November 25, 2021, 8:17 PM
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@ChicagoBears via Twitter
November 25, 2021, 8:16 PM
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I just want to see Dan Campbell's emotion if the Lions hang on and win this thing. The lions are driving for another score. 

November 25, 2021, 8:11 PM
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The Lions forced a punt! They'll drive to extend their fourth quarter lead! Could that first win be coming? Detroit needs to go back to the running game here. 

November 25, 2021, 8:08 PM
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@Lions via Twitter
November 25, 2021, 8:07 PM
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As we head into the 4th quarter, the Lions have the lead. Looking for win No. 1 on the year. 

November 25, 2021, 8:01 PM
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T.J. Hockenson matched David Hill and Brandon Pettigrew for the most TD catches (11) through the first 3 seasons by a TE in Lions history. 

November 25, 2021, 8:00 PM
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