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

We're going through our notes and other minutiae from yesterday's loss to the Lions.

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  • Jay Cutler looked really good on his first drive. Once he got the ground ball out of his system, he threw the ball like he didn't miss any time at all. But it was pretty apparent that by the second half, after banging his hand on a helmet (seriously, that knot was ugly), and then ultimately being removed with what was clarified to be an ankle injury... That makes three injuries Cutler's currently suffering from, and it's pretty apparent that in the second half they were bothering him - he lost the handle on one series of fake handoffs and wasn't moving in the pocket as effectively.
  • So that naturally begs the question - should Cutler have played yesterday? His second half will probably say no, and his first half will probably say yes. There really isn't a way to reconcile it. If you say no, he wouldn't have thrown that first touchdown, because you wouldn't have had him in. Maybe Josh McCown comes in and throws well like he did on the final drive when the quarterback actually needs to run to the line, and that touchdown is a play Cutler probably wasn't going to make with his hampered mobility. Maybe he doesn't play that well. Who knows. The point is, you just never know, and when healthy, Cutler still gives the Bears the best chance to win. This might have been a case of riding the best chance to win too hard.
  • I'm not going to hang the interception by DeAndre Levy on anything aside from a good play by a defensive lineman getting a hand up and smacking the ball around. Sometimes players make plays. Even players that don't wear your team's uniform.
  • I feel like for one week we can leave Chris Conte alone. He put together a pretty decent game, making a play on an overthrown ball by Matthew Stafford (paying attention, Major Wright?) and making a few pretty good tackles.
  • Call me crazy, but despite not recording an actual tackle, I thought Corey Wootton played pretty well.
  • Matt Forte, not so much. 1.9 yards per carry and four yards per reception just don't get it done, at all.
  • Attention other coaches, when Michael Bush comes in the game, the Bears are going to run it up the middle for a yard. ... What, you were expecting an exception?
  • This game was not one of Marc Trestman's finer outings, but I'm not going to buzz him for the fourth-and-one failing miserably. I don't disagree with the call - Trestman knows as well as anyone his defense hasn't been very good, and while a field goal takes the lead, does it mean the Bears would keep that lead after the Lions' next drive? We know the game ended up closer than a field goal, which makes Trestman's call sketchy, but was there anything in the first couple of drives that had you thinking it was going to be anything less than a shootout?
  • Maybe Alshon Jeffery has moved into de facto number one receiver territory - he was targeted 18 times. Brandon Marshall was targeted 12. Who's whose BFF now? It's a nice problem to have.
  • Jeffery's dropped touchdown in the second half was an incompletion because of the bobble; perfectly legit call.
  • The Lions rushed for 145 yards, their second highest output of the year. Guess who they topped that against earlier this season? Yep.
  • It kind of continues to show the young Bears' linebackers continuing to make mistakes in their pursuits and gaps, it shows a defensive line that's continued to get shoved around all year, and it shows a team that just isn't afraid to run the ball right at them. Reggie Bush has two hundred-yard games this season. Those are both against the Bears - his matchups this year with the Bears have yielded a 7.7 and 7.5 yards-per-carry. That's not a good thing if you're a Bears fan. It's scary the ease with which other teams have run on the Bears - in five of the Bears' last six games now, the Bears have allowed at least 120 yards on the ground.
  • And in other news, the Bears didn't register a single quarterback hit.
  • Charles Tillman can still play some NFL football, folks - his stretch out to bat away a pass intended for Calvin Johnson was excellent. Johnson was held to just 83 yards, but he got away on enough third downs and in the end zone just enough to make enough plays, including the game-winning touchdown.
  • I wasn't too enamored with two run play-calls on the final two-point conversion, especially one that didn't develop right. Yeah, it's hindsight, but maybe the curl-out into the flat would have been open.
  • What happened to Jermon Bushrod this week? He missed quite a few blocks in space that he normally makes. Matt Slauson had a bad holding penalty, Roberto Garza missed a key interior block... It really wasn't that strong of an effort, although even this effort was better than most efforts the last few seasons.
  • It's the return of the Cover-2 Murdering Tight End! Featuring Brandon Pettigrew!
  • Fun stat time - on the Lions' first drive, they were 3-3 on third down. Since that point, they were two for nine. Some of that's probably due to the job the Bears were doing on Johnson generally, blanketing him after he picked up the first-two third-down conversions. Johnson had 17 targets on the day and picked up six of them. Wootton batted a third-down pass, Isaiah Frey stopped Pettigrew short of the first on third down and Stafford missed Johnson on fourth... I've got six third down conversion attempts to Johnson, as well as the fourth-quarter attempt. One of those turned into a touchdown. But it's very emblematic of the continued Lions offense of "Throw to Johnson!".
  • The Bears won both possession battles, by ten plays (71 to 61) and 3:10 in time (31:35 to 28:25)

So what happened yesterday? The Bears found a way to hold the Detroit Lions to tie their second-lowest scoring output of the season. Unfortunately, they only scored their own second-lowest points of the season and just couldn't get enough going despite the Lions giving them plenty of chances to. And as such, the Lions put together a sweep of the Bears on the season. Kinda sucks, with the division being so wide open, and especially with the Packers' loss to the Eagles. The Lions take the lead with six wins, as well as that extra division game tiebreaker as well as the conference win tiebreaker. The Bears have to pick it up again starting next week against the Ravens.