The Detroit Lions came up short in an NFC North rivalry game against the Chicago Bears on Sunday while playing their first game without quarterback Matthew Stafford since 2011. Stafford was a late scratch for Sunday’s Week 10 game, breaking a streak of 136 consecutive games for the franchise quarterback, the second-longest active streak in the NFL. Without Stafford, Bears escaped with a 20-13 win over the Lions.
Stafford was able to leave Soldier Field on Sunday without answering any questions from the media. The Lions brass also declined to elaborate on Stafford’s injury. However, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Stafford has fractured bones in his back. The only piece of information the Lions would share is that Stafford got hurt in the fourth quarter of last week’s game against the Raiders.
“We were hoping by the time we got to today that we were going to be able to do it and like I said, it just wasn’t safe to put him in that situation,” Lions coach Matt Patricia said after Sunday’s loss. “So the information that we got, talking with the doctors, it wasn’t the right thing to do. Again, I’m more concerned about him more than anything else.”
The only prognosis Patricia gave on Stafford is that he’s going to take things week by week. The quarterback was listed as questionable on Friday, although the Lions decided to play it safe by sitting him out. Schefter’s source on the injury indicated the injury could keep Stafford out between one and three weeks, so his status moving forward remains unclear.
Jeff Driskel started in Stafford’s place against the Bears, connecting on 27 of his 46 passes for 269 yards. But a 47-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Golladay in the fourth quarter was Detroit’s only offensive touchdown of the game and wasn’t enough for the Lions.
At 3-5-1, the Lions are last in the NFC North and barely clinging to playoff hopes. Time is running out if they’re going to make a late-season playoff push, making next week’s game with the Cowboys a virtual must-win for Detroit. With Stafford’s health in question, it makes it all the more difficult to envision the Lions turning their season around.