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

We'd like to toss out the game film from yesterday, but we're going through our notes of the Bears' defeat at the hands of the Lions anyway.

Gregory Shamus
  • I was all set to jump in and launch a Niners-Week-esque tirade like last year, but it's way too early in the year for that. The Bears lost a horrific game (in that it was far more dominated than the score would reflect), but let's keep in mind what happened. The Lions were 2-1 entering the game and now lead the NFC North via a head-to-head tiebreaker which the Bears can negate by beating them later in the season. It was in Ford Field, where the rematch will be at Soldier Field - the Lions won at home. Yes, it's alarming how the Lions walked up to the Bears, punched them in the face with their own medicine (the takeaway) and walked away. But fortunately, games like this are worth the same as every other game - one win, or one loss. And the Bears lost on the road in stunning fashion to the Lions. That's scary, but the Bears are still 3-1 too with twelve games left. There's time to panic, and this isn't it.
  • That being said, it felt like a lot of offensive progress was halted. Jay Cutler's three interceptions, fumble and three sacks taken underscored a Lions defense that played really, really well. Ndamukong Suh, for all his reputation (including a possible leg-twist on a sack on Cutler), is really a damn good defensive tackle, and Nick Fairley alongside him is a pretty good player too.
  • Let's not cover up though, Jay had a very rough game. He was errant in his delivery - some throws weren't properly stepped into, some throws just lacked the zip to make it to the receiver. And some of that was trying to put the ball in places only the receiver could get to it, but he was making bad throws all game; a couple of times when he was able to step up and try to make a run for it, he was sacked or rushed into a bad throw.
  • Matthew Stafford didn't have himself the greatest game either, but he did just well enough - he wasn't intercepted until Major Wright got him, and was the victim of a few drops himself, as Tony Scheffler dropped a first-down toss that hit him right in the hands.
  • In random offensive line notes, Eben Britton made an appearance, both as an eligible tackle/extra blocker and as a fullback.
  • Jordan Mills surrendered the offensive line's first false start of the season.
  • If Stephen Paea's "mild turf toe" bothers him enough to push him out a game or two, that's a huge blow to a line that already struggled to get pressure and penetration. That being said, Julius Peppers' sack and forced fumble finally put the defensive line back in the sack column - that's now three defensive line sacks on the year, in four games - and five sacks in four games overall. That just doesn't get it done.
  • I'm not going to say Shea McClellin's earned a bust tag. But as long as they keep running in his direction and shoving him away like cheap plywood to open a hole big enough to drive farm equipment through, he shouldn't be seeing the field on run situations or first down. He was run at quite frequently, which isn't a good look for the Bears' defense.
  • This may have been the defensive line's best game of the season. Which isn't saying much.
  • Matt Forte had 14 carries on the game and nearly had 100 rushing yards. If the game hadn't gotten out of control, things might have been better had Forte kept getting the ball.
  • Speaking of out of control, here's the special teams coverage and offensive interception coverage! Woof. I don't think I need to say if you're the first guy to get to the returner, you kinda have to either take him out immediately or set up in front of him to make sure he doesn't slip the tackle. Michael Spurlock made Michael Ford look silly. And Glover Quin's interception of Jay Cutler in the second quarter set up first and goal at the two, promptly scored by a touchdown toss to Calvin Johnson.
  • Reggie Bush got to combine explosive running in space with plenty of blocked-open space. And the results were huge for the Lions and everything the Bears didn't want to see. He's a really good fit for that offense; were I not witnessing that running ripping apart the Bears, I might have enjoyed watching it a little more. And it reminds me of Jahvid Best when he was healthy; he did some of the similar things that Bush did/does. And some of those plays gashed the Bears up too.
  • If Louis Delmas could play 16 games a season, I'd clone him and get him a spot on my team. His first interception of Cutler, some people want to pin on a "bad throw," others want to pin on Alshon Jeffery giving up on the route, but I just want to mark that as a great read and great ball play by Delmas. Sometimes defenders can make great plays without them being gifts - if Delmas doesn't force that interception, Jeffery's got that ball in his hands with no problem. Now, the second Delmas pick on Cutler, that was just a high throw - and by high... yeah.
  • When Lance Briggs forces a goal line fumble and Matthew Stafford catches his own fumble in the air to score the touchdown, you get that sinking feeling things just aren't going to go your way. Now, why a quarterback sneak jumping over the line was the call on first down, I'll never know.
  • Devin Hester had a nice return where he just found the lane and hit it hard. Then on most of the others he danced his way into the arms of a tackler.
  • I think Reggie Bush just dodged another tackle and made Chris Conte whiff again.
  • Zackary Bowman rotated with Charles Tillman for a few series covering Calvin Johnson. Which is better than the alternative of Tim Jennings trying to cover Calvin Johnson. The defense did a pretty good job on Johnson
  • Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery and Martellus Bennett combined for 37 of the Bears' 47 passing targets on the day. Jeffery had 11 of those and led the entire game in receiving. Bennett was second and Marshall was third. Coincidentally, they were the top three in receiving in the game. No coincidence when the Bears were trailing and passing most of the second half.
  • I'm okay with the offensive minds (Marc Trestman and Jay Cutler) taking the blame for the loss, not because it was them directly, but because the offensive and special teams miscues put the defense in bad spots to begin with - and the defense made a few plays, but largely got gashed itself. It just wasn't a good team game all around.
  • Time of possession was in the Lions' favor, 31:49 to 28:11. However, nine of the Lions' 14 drives were under three minutes. In fact, six of those were under two minutes. The Bears' offense wasn't faring any better, with seven drives under two minutes in length. Only two drives went double digits in plays the entire day. The Lions had three drives of at least eight plays. The Bears didn't break the eight play mark until their second to last drive.
  • The Bears had four penalties for 30 yards. The Lions had three for 25.
  • So what happened? It was a bad game for the Bears where the Lions got huge defensive and special teams contributions, particularly in the second quarter, and the Bears paid for it when the deficit became too large to overcome. The Bears get the Saints next, at Soldier Field, and they won't be happy about this one.
  • The thing is, I'm not sure how much of the Bears' offense was "exposed" in a how-to-stop-it manner. The Lions have a really solid front four that the Saints just don't have, though Dick LeBeau's blitz schemes showed some things that Rob Ryan might be able to take advantage of. I guess we'll see what they have in mind.