Bears pick on Lions' Justin Coleman in setting up winning touchdown

Nolan Bianchi
The Detroit News

Detroit — The Detroit Lions lost another Thanksgiving Day heartbreaker to the Chicago Bears for the second time in as many years, 24-20.

It also was their fifth consecutive one-possession loss, meaning that despite a woeful Bears offense needing a 90-yard drive to record the go-ahead score with 6:40 on the clock, anybody who’s paid attention to head coach Matt Patricia’s “bend, don’t break” defense likely expected the dam to burst.

Chicago's Anthony Miller pulls in a long first-down reception to the 2-yard line over Detroit's Justin Coleman to set up the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter Thursday.

At the very least, Bears wide receiver Anthony Miller said, the visiting team did.

“We knew no matter what,” said Miller, “we were going to march down the field.”

They did exactly that, the 2018 second-round selection playing a major part. He picked on veteran Lions cornerback Justin Coleman with third-down catches of 35 and 32 yards, respectively, to keep alive the winning drive.

“He made two good catches,” Coleman said. “He got his hands on the ball, I wasn’t able to get it out.”

The first connection from Bears quarerback Mitch Trubisky to Miller came on third-and-4 at the Chicago 16. Trubisky said following the game that the Lions being in man-coverage opened things up for his receiver.

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“We like Anthony on (cornerbacks),” Trubisky said. “He ran a great route, O-line did a great job of giving me time, and I just put it in a spot where he could make a play.

But some credit goes to Trubisky, who’s received flack this season for an inability to hit open receivers. He dropped that stigma when it mattered most, and four plays later, the pairing was at it again. Trubisky found Miller down the right sideline for a circus catch —again with Coleman in coverage — on third-and-5 from the Detroit 34, a 32-yard completion that would set up David Montgomery’s winning score.

“They were dimes,” Miller said of the two throws. “The ball was where it was supposed to be, and all I had to was make a play.”

Nolan Bianchi is a freelance writer.