DETROIT — From the makers of “Hashmark-gate” and “I’m Not an Idiot” comes the slapstick comedy hit of the holiday season:
Bears 24, Lions 20.
On a day when the Bears could’ve done almost anything and still won, they found the absolute limit of that notion. They rallied from 10 points down, but this was the opposite of an instant classic.
As a disclaimer, coach Matt Nagy in no way considered this an amusing Thanksgiving diversion. He made no promises but believed the victory was a turning point.
“It’s been such a crazy, challenging year in so many ways . . . but now here we are to have a game like this,” he said. “The celebration afterward today, the Club Dub that we had going, brought back a lot of memories.
“It felt very authentic. It felt very real. I know 6-6 and all that, but today we wanted to enjoy this moment and it felt really good.”
Back to the show.
The opening act featured hilarious hijinks, including a squibbed kickoff that ricocheted off the back of Bears safety Deon Bush’s leg for a Lions recovery. Nagy questioned whether the Lions did it intentionally or benefitted from a happy accident.
That was after two touchdown drives by anonymous Lions quarterback David Blough, one coming on a cartoonish mix-up between Prince Amukamara and Eddie Jackson that allowed Kenny Golladay to run free for the 75-yard score.
The Bears began another bizarre sequence by backtracking into a first-and-32 early in the second quarter, and you can guess how that went.
Actually, it was worse than what you’re imagining. After salvaging it to the point that they could try a 50-yard field goal to pull within 14-10, Nagy instead went for it on fourth-and-six. He felt he had momentum and wanted to convey an aggressive mentality to his team.
That idea has merit, but the Bears derailed his plans with another lapse in self-discipline. Not only did the play fail, but the conversion was doomed before Mitch Trubisky took the snap because they were in an illegal formation — coming out of a timeout.
“We were doing what we’ve been doing,” said Nagy, lamenting that the Bears had 10 accepted penalties for 89 yards.
It was the wackiest script since ‘‘Dumb and Dumber.’’
Leonard Floyd had a roughing-the-passer penalty to erase a stop on third-and-15, Buster Skrine and Golladay collaborated on a rare two-way pass-interference call and Trubisky shied away from a first down by running sideways for 20 yards.
The misadventures continued into halftime, when equipment malfunctioned three words into The Brothers Osborne’s performance and the group waited awkwardly to restart.
After all that, Trubisky saved Thanksgiving with a 90-yard touchdown drive late in the fourth quarter and finished with a season-high 338 yards on 29-for-38 passing with three touchdowns and an interception. He won it on a three-yard pass to David Montgomery with 2:17 remaining.
Even that series had touches of absurdity. The Bears started at their own 10 and went back five yards on an ineligible-receiver-downfield penalty, and when they reached first-and-goal at the 2, they committed a delay-of-game penalty.
It still required Jackson’s interception inside the 10-yard line with 29 seconds left to thwart the Lions’ bid for an 83-yard drive to win the game. Blough came that close to upending everything.
So what do you make of an afternoon when the Bears brought their C-game and still won? Not much.
They’re back to .500 for the first time since late October and must find a way to climb over the Vikings (8-3) or Seahawks (9-2) for a wild-card spot.
Whether they’re capable of running the table, or even making it interesting, isn’t certain after squeaking by Blough and one of the NFL’s worst defenses. Their remaining opponents — the Cowboys, Packers, Chiefs and Vikings — are currently in the playoff field.
“We have our hands full, no doubt — very, very good football teams that are all fighting for different reasons,” Nagy said. “We’re hoping games like this today, the celebration postgame, that feeling you have — we became tighter throughout all this, but man, after that today, you can feel it.”
But this level of play only sparkles against the bottom of the league, and it’s no surprise the Bears got right with three wins against the Lions and Giants.
It’ll take more to compete with Dallas on Thursday, and the road gets rougher from there. If it’s more of this, it’ll quickly turn from funny to sad.