Quick Game Comments: Lions at Bears

Defense

  1. As color man Jon Gruden was quick to point out, the Bears came out playing lots of cover two, almost certainly to try to limit wide receiver Calvin Johnson.
  2. Everyone, including Gruden, knew that the Lions were in a situation where they had to run. And they did.
  3. The Bears did a good job of stopping the run. This was due in part to stout defensive line play, good reaction by the linebackers and some alert play calling by defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli as he snuck a safety into the box and/or had him crashing the run when they read running play.
  4. The Bears also had a bout or two of blitzing. I think it was as much to keep the Lions off balance as anything but it worked.
  5. I can’t say that the defensive line got consistent pressure on quarterback Matthew Stafford though they had their moments.
  6. Stafford was not particularly accurate and, in fact, I think he got worse as the game wore on. He was overthrowing the deep ball in particular.

Offense

  1. As he said he was going to do during the bye week, offensive coordinator Mike Tice came out determined to run the football and maintain balance in the offense.
  2. The Lions were also sneaking a safety into box on occasion. They played the run all the way on many occasions which made me think that the play action pass should haver worked better than it did.
  3. It was a bit of a rough game for the tight ends but Kyle Adams made a good block as a full back on the long Forte run that set up the touchdown in the first half.
  4. Nice job of rolling out Jay Cutler on the first half touchdown pass. It seems its said every week but the Bears really need to do that more.
  5. Jay Cutler was a bit inconsistent in the first half. A lot of the problems connecting had more to do with dropped passes but I thought he had a particular problem throwing accurately to Devin Hester. He doesn’t seem to have an issue with the larger Brandon Marshall, who he knows can fight for the ball. But I wonder if he isn’t being extra careful to try to throw the ball where it can’t be intercepted when he’s throwing to Hester. In fairness Cutler connected with Hester more in the fourth quarter.
  6. Two time outs early in the game? What was going on?
  7. Once again I note that Jay Cutler did a lot of serious damage with his legs.
  8. I thought there were some serious breakdowns in pass protection. Lance Lewis had having a tough game, for example, with a false start penalty and with giving up the Ndamukong Suh sack in the first half. Gabe Carimi had yet another rough night.
  9. Matt Forte was once again really running well. He has great patience and vision.
  10. I really like the way Mike Tice started calling some misdirection plays to try to use the Lions aggressiveness against them. Really good thinking there.
  11. Some bad Lions tackling out there.

Miscellaneous

    1. I know a lot of people don’t like Gruden but I usually do. He had what I would call an unspectacular night tonight but he did point out early and often that the Lions needed to have success running the ball and that was really part of the story for the offensively. He also made a good point early about the Bears using “creative chip protection”. Mike Tirico was solid.
    2. It was a really sloppy game with the dropped passes on both sides. The Bears tight ends had a rough night with both Matt Spaeth and Kellen Davis dropping balls. Matt Forte and Devin Hester had a drops as well. But the Lions are the ones who really hurt themselves with drops by Johnson and Nate Burleson at critical times.
    3. It was also a sloppy half for penalties. Gabe Carimi got caught holding twice. Lance Lewis had a false start. Chilo Rachel got an unsportsman-like conduct penalty. Not good.
    4. The Bears had some good special teams and spent a good part of the first quarter enjoying good field position. Of course the defensive stops had something ot do with that as well. On the other hand they had a blocked field goal and and frequent penalties. Detroit’s special teams continued to have their share of problems as the best play Stefan Logan made all night was when he let a kickoff sail out of bounds over his head rather than trying to catch it.
    5. Terrible, awful, damaging turnovers by Detroit as they had two critical fumbles, one on the goal line.
    6. First of all, hats off to the Bears defense who once again did an outstanding job. They were disciplined. They were patient. They tackled well. They continue to be the strength of the team.

Having said that, the last time I wrote one of these I got taken to task for being too negative. Well, the heck with you all because I’m going to do it again.

I’m sorry but this game felt to me like more of a contest to see who could waste more offensive opportunities. The Bears were constantly given the ball, constantly driving down the field and constantly settling for field goal after field goal as they shot themselves in the foot with drops and dumb penalties. But fortunately for them, the Lions are the kings at doing this as they literally fumbled away this game. They continue to compete with the Eagles to see who can waste the most talent.

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