Lions at Bears: Notes, Scribbles, and Things Jotted Down

US PRESSWIRE

The Bears beat the Lions 13-7 on Monday Night Football - we're breaking it down with our notes and other minutiae from the game.

  • The stats will say that Charles Tillman had a fantastic game on Calvin Johnson (and three receptions for 34 yards on 11 targets is a fantastic game against one of the league's top receivers) but he didn't do it alone. The Bears took out Johnson by having a safety over the top of him the entire game - whether it was Chris Conte or Major Wright, and both were called into action frequently and effectively. Matthew Stafford had a third and one play all queued up where Tillman jammed Johnson at the line, Conte was over the top, and Stafford still looked in Johnson's direction for a good few seconds before getting taken down.
  • Okay, so the tight ends have a hard time getting targets in this system, and when they do get their chances, Kellen Davis drops one that hits him square, and Matt Spaeth can't get a hold of another one. Well then, I'll be sure to keep that in mind.
  • To be fair to Davis, as a blocker, he's really not bad, as Lester's already told you. He knocked Kyle Vanden Bosch on his backside on Matt Forte's key run in the first quarter to get to Brandon Marshall's touchdown.
  • Two offensive linemen had pretty rough games, and I'm not talking about J'Marcus Webb, who was actually really pretty good - he lost a handfight with Kyle Vanden Bosch, but aside from that did a nice job holding down his side and making left tackle not as much of a panic button position. Gabe Carimi had another bad holding penalty and a couple of times he got obliterated. And Chilo Rachal picked up a personal foul penalty after a Bush run that would have made it 2nd and 2, along with allowing a couple key pressures in the second half.

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  • I had no problem at all with Cutler's facemask grab on Rachal. Rachal was in the Webb position of "I Just Committed a Bad Penalty And Am In Danger Of Screwing This Up More" (and since Bumpgate, Webb's been much more consistent in pass-blocking). Cutler grabbed it to settle him down, gave him a talking-to, and a quick slap upside the helmet almost friendly-like, "Let's go get the next one." I think Cutler knows how to get his teammates to respond better than we do.
  • From the "I had no idea" department, did you know the Bears have had more penalties than every opponent they've faced this year? The Bears had 9 for 49 yards, and the Lions had 5 for 47. That's a thing. A pretty big thing.
  • Okay, Mikel Leshoure. He's actually a pretty good running back when the Lions commit to using him. He ran with some pretty impressive power - the problem was the Lions just continuing to stick with how one-dimensional they want to be.
  • Matt Forte ran for a 4.4 YPC. Michael Bush picked up 6.0 YPC. So why did the Bears not run once during their three-pass-play goal-line sequence that saw three consecutive batted passes from a quarterback that didn't have the same zip on the ball as he had in the first half. Cutler didn't look like the same quarterback after Suh's ankle "went into" Cutler's rib cage, for the entire third quarter. He sent passes uncharacteristically short, normally crisp passes floated a hair longer giving defensive backs time to bat them (or in Justin Durant's case, charge, leap up and bat them down). He recovered a bit by the fourth quarter, but still.
  • The Bears had four drives start within their own 5-yard line. Three of those drives killed a total of 16:10 on the clock, and combined for 149 yards, two punts and a missed field goal. Only one of those four drives started with a pass - the fourth drive, on a screen to Hester to open the quarter.
  • The Bears and Lions each had one drive start in opposing territory. Both of those drives ended in a punt.
  • The Lions had four drives that lasted eight plays or more. Those drives combined for 14:03 and ended in two fumbles, DJ Moore's interception and Ryan Broyles' touchdown with 30 seconds remaining in the game.
  • Speaking of Michael Bush, I'm pretty sure he was a gold medal Olympian hurdler in a past life.
  • Regarding the broadcast, I realize that allowing a field goal to be blocked is a rare rare thing for the Bears, but that shouldn't result in a "Punts Without A Block" graphic. And speaking of the broadcast, clearly lazy production work to use the same models and animations but only rework the jersey skins.
  • The Bears' defense really played clutch when they had to preserve the shutout with the offense struggling throughout the third quarter. Tillman ripped the ball out of Megatron's hands to prevent a touchdown, and Urlacher picked up the key fumble dropped by Joique Bell.
  • The Bears' had some decent pass penetration in the first half, particularly chasing Stafford into sacks by Peppers and Paea/McClellin, but pass protection improved drastically for the Lions in the second half, and on Ryan Broyles' touchdown in the fourth, there was zero penetration - Stafford waited forever for Broyles to come open in the backside of the end zone. But Corey Wootton had himself a pretty good game - he's really come on this year.
  • Situationally, I thought the Bears' playcalling was typically fine with the exception of the above-mentioned goal-line series. They started the fourth quarter with ball-control offense and moving fairly well, and let Cutler regain a rhythm that he sorely needed after the rib-bruising hit he took against Suh.
  • I'll never get tired of seeing Brandon Marshall running a slant against a smaller cornerback.
  • Couple of interesting rotations to take note of - Weems returned a pair of punts and the opening second-half kickoff in place of Hester, Bennett returned a punt - and when Hester was reinserted on punt returns, he immediately called a fair catch with plenty of room. I'm worried about his confidence a little (but not much, yet). Also, DJ Moore and Kelvin Hayden have been flipping time at the nickel, which is good because Moore was getting burned a few times, particularly noticeable against Titus Young, who was overthrown on what would have been a big play.
  • The Lions' offense started moving better against the Bears' defense in the second when they challenged Urlacher to change directions on short plays - Pettigrew, a Stafford scramble, Pettigrew again, Leshoure for 14, Stafford scramble, short middle to Scheffler, short middle to Leshoure, and if not for a Leshoure fumble, it might have been 10-7 at the half.
  • When Moore picked up the interception and the team started at their own four, for a moment I had the thought of an intentional, Belichickian safety on fourth down. It'd be still a two-score game (13-2), you're punting from your 35 instead of your 8 or 10, and you reduce the risk of them breaking a big play to get a touchdown (basically, adding yardage and still asking them to do what they already have to do). Fortunately, that thought passed quickly.
  • They flashed up a graphic of how far back the safeties were playing for the Bears - not going to lie, they were pretty far back - but that's part of the defensive philosophy, give the team enough chances and eventually an opportunity presents itself for a turnover. And as evidenced, the Bears got those turnovers, and plenty of 3 and Outs aside - six three and outs, and eight plays of five plays or fewer.
  • After the blocked field goal, special teams really played tight coverages. Stefan Logan got bottled up really well.
  • Speaking of special teams, leave it to Zackary Freaking Bowman to pick up a fumble recovery on his first game back as a Bear.
  • The first quarter touchdown to Marshall marked both the second first-quarter touchdown of the year and the second first-half passing touchdown of the year. The Bears scored ten points in a quarter they've scored thirteen points in all season.

Bearbros

  • I can't wait until Shea McClellin starts finishing plays. He's got good penetration and outstanding ballcarrier pursuit, but he needs to finish sacks.
  • Other things I love include movies, long walks on the beach, and Jay Cutler pulling down the ball and running for a first down. One such scramble kept the Bears' first drive alive (11 yards on 3rd and 8). The next play was a huge Forte dash. Later on, Marshall scored when he moved his route deeper, behind the defenders, and Jay just lofted it up and over to him.
  • The Bears tried to catch the Lions' defensive line with a hard count deep in their own territory. Lance Louis caught himself instead.
  • Speaking of deep in the Bears' own territory, no problems at all with the Jason Campbell playcalling. No risks needed to be taken, just hand the ball off and get to the half.
  • How many times in prior seasons could we have said "3rd and 11 at your own goal line? Chuck it up to your #1 for 19 yards."
  • The Bears were dialing up some really nice blitz combinations, particularly with their 3DL packages. One such play saw Conte hit an open gap perfectly and get ole'd by Stafford. Another gave Urlacher a clear running lane, which he used to jump and bat down a pass.
  • The Bears had 19 first downs. 3 were from penalties, and the Bears converted 6 of their 17 third down chances (35%). The Lions had 21 first downs, but only one from penalties and were 4-13 on third down (30.7%).
  • The Bears ran 32 times for 171 yards. Let that sink in for a second. Also, Brandon Marshall had 6 receptions for 81 yards, the same as Titus Young, although Marshall had 10 targets to Young's 8.
  • There's a reason turnovers are also called "takeaways." And ball security is a problem for the Lions - two rushing fumbles (more like one fumble and one dropped ball) to go with one fumble on a bad punt catch. I understand why Joique Bell tried to reach for the goal line, but you don't do that in the middle of a pile for a reason.
  • Matthew Stafford backpedaled a 5-yard sack into a 15-yard sack. It was interesting.
  • Time of Possession was in favor of CHI, 34:35 / 25:25.

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    That's all I've got. What'd you notice?
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