DETROIT - Adrian Peterson saw how he could help the Lions’ offense and also how the team can lose a big lead. Peterson rushed for 93 yards in 23-27 loss against the Chicago Bears in the season opener at Ford Field. He also caught three passes for 21 yards. The Lions signed Peterson just eight days ago after the veteran running back was released by Washington.
The 35-year-old Peterson did not look old or rusty, running for 10 yards or more four times. Peterson’s 21-yard dash in the third quarter helped set up a Matt Prater field goal. The Lions then led 23-6 with 3:18 left in the third quarter.
“I thought he (Peterson) gave great effort and I thought he gave great energy,” said coach Matt Patricia. “The guys really liked to be out there with him.”
In the fourth quarter, Peterson helped the Lions move down the field with a catch and a pair of 14-yard runs. The Lions were at the Bears’ 34-yard line when Stafford was sacked for a 9-yard loss. The drive stalled and Prater missed a 55-yard field goal when his kick bounced off the right post.
“I really thought he (Peterson) made some tough runs,” said Patricia. “I thought he brought a physical style to the run game and that’s encouraging."
With less than three minutes left in the game, the Lions turned to Peterson for more help. But the Bears’ defense, which ranked ninth in rushing defense last season, anticipated a run. Peterson ran twice setting up a third and six for the Lions on their 27-yard line. On the next play quarterback Matthew Stafford’s pass was tipped by a Bears’ defender, then intercepted by Kyle Fuller at the Lions’ 38. Three plays later the Bears took the lead when quarterback Mitchell Trubisky connected wth rookie Darnell Mooney for a 27-yard touchdown pass.
Trailing 27-23, a Lions comeback was very possible when Stafford drove the offense down to the Bears 16. But Stafford last pass of the game went not to Peterson but rather rookie running back D’Andre Swift. But Swift dropped the ball in the end zone. Peterson then experienced what Lions players did last year in the team’s season opener: an improbable fourth-quarter comeback by the opposition.