- The Bears were playing a lot of two deep coverage – probably because of Calvin Johnson. Nevertheless, as they have been doing all season, they didn’t hesitate to sneak an eighth guy up into the box whenever they suspected a run. As has been the case for much of the season, they have been frequently right.
- The stats will have to be checked but the Lions play calling appeared to be very balanced.
- There was some disturbingly bad tackling out there on the Bears part today. In particular Mikel Leshoure got a lot of yards after first contact.
- Henry Melton appeared to come out with some fire. He was getting good penetration. Julius Peppers deserves special mention as well.
- On a related note, the Bears got nice pressure on Stafford.
- Also related, the Lions started with some crisp passing to Tony Scheffler and Johnson. And I started to wonder if it was going to be a good day for Stafford. But things fell apart for this team quickly as they repeatedly put themselves in a hole (see turnovers, penalties and drops below). The pressure on Stafford had a big effect here. Stafford was a lot more accurate when he had time and wasn’t on the run (for example on the touchdown throw at the end of the first half).
- Once again, Charles Tillman did about as good of a job covering Calvin Johnson as you can do.
- I thought the Lions did a particularly good job of using their tight ends over the middle today.
- Jay Cutler really didn’t see a lot of pressure from the Detroit defensive line. There were some plays where he seemingly had forever to throw. He made a lot of time with his mobility as well.
- On a related note, one of those plays Cutler got off a great pass to Alshon Jeffery down the side line in the first quarter. Jeffery had a good game as he, for example, fought and extended to get a first down in the second quarter.
- Mike Tice pulled some different things out of the playbook for this game. There was a nice little misdirection play to Even Rodriguez in the first quarter. Although it didn’t get much yardage, the end around to Devin Hester in the second quarter was an interesting call.
- On a related note, it looked to me like Tice and Cutler made a concerted effort to spread the ball around. Brandon Marshall got his first catch midway through the second quarter.
- Also on a related note, the Bears ran a nice couple plays in the first quarter as the they got Matt Forte into space for a nice gain with a little screen pass. That was followed by Earl Bennett getting a little wide receiver screen while being covered by a linebacker. Six points. Bennett had a real nice game as Bears receivers go.
- I thought the Bears had only inconsistent success on the ground. Forte occasionally got good yardage but he was also hit an awful lot in the backfield. When they did have success, it was often stretch runs to the outside.
- On a related note, the Bears seemed to think they could attack the edges on the Lions. They did so with some success in part because of poor tackling in the open field. They also looked like they had more speed but that may have been because the Lions took such poor angles on the runner.
- I thought Kahlil Bell showed up and took advantage of his opportunities. He converted on a third and one in the second quarter. Contrast with a huge third and one in the third quarter where Forte failed to get the first down.
- The Bears didn’t do a very good job of taking advantage of all of the turnovers they got. As they blew opportunity after opportunity, settling for field goals, you had to wonder if it wasn’t going to bite them in the second half. It did as the Lions came out playing well.
- I was surprised at the number of times the Bears tried to go deep with the ball. Time after time Cutler targeted Marshall and Jeffery deep with limited success.
- This game was full of drops on both sides but they were particularly damaging for the Bears. While both Johnson and Leshoure had drops for the Lions, Marshall dropped two touchdowns and another at the goal line where he was interfered with. Jeffery also dropped a touchdown and so did Kellen Davis.
- The Bears were relatively clean with penalties but, as usual, the Lions had some damaging ones. Of particular note was a fifteen yard penalty for not getting back in bounds in a timely manner as a gunner on a punt by Kaseem Osgood and a pass interference on the Lions at the goal line. Lance Briggs drew a bad (and stupid) unnecessary roughness penalty in the fourth quarter which kept a critical drive alive.
- Not a good game on special teams for the Bears. They did force a fumble but Olindo Mare missed a field goal and Devin Hester stupidly took out a kick off from the end zone in the third quarter only to be tackled at the five. The return teams struggled.
- Cutler had a damaging fumble that the Bears eventually recovered again but that took them out of field goal range in the first half. But the really bad turnovers were left for the Lions as they did everything they could to throw this game away. There was a huge fumble by Joique Bell which was forced by Joe Anderson on a kickoff return. A Stafford fumble was forced by Israel Idonije. Stafford also threw an awful interception which gave the Bears the ball at Lions 22. The fumble by Leshoure which was recovered by Major Wright stopped some Lions momentum in the third quarter.
- Mid way through the second quarter and, as has been the case all year, cheers of “Let’s go Bears” could be heard from the stands on the road. You suck, Urlacher.
- This was a fascinating game.
First, it didn’t go as I had thought it would. I was sure we’d see the Bears offensive line completely break down with multiple penalties due to crowd noise in the dome at Ford Field and that would be their down fall. To their credit, they didn’t and, for the most part, the damaging mistakes were left for the Lions.
I never saw a team try so hard to throw a game away. And yet the Bears simply couldn’t generate the offense in the red zone to take advantage and they let the Lions hang around despite some awful, terrible, undisciplined play. You really wonder what kind of damage the Lions would have done during the season if they had just played with even decent control. When they played mistake free football they practically did what they wanted.
In the end, the Bears sat back and waited for the Lions to make enough mistakes to lose. I suppose that’s a complement…