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Game Comments: Lions at Bears 12/21/14
I wasn’t very happy with the body language I saw from Martellus Bennett early. I got the impression that he wasn’t too happy with the new offensive situation with Jimmy Clausen at quarterback. I don’t know if he figured Clausen wasn’t going to be any good or if he figured he wasn’t going to get the ball enough from him but his attitude left something to be desired.
The Bears stuck mostly to quick little passes and screens. Part of that was to protect Clausen, I’m sure. In that respect the pass protection wasn’t good but considering the opponent and the loss of Kyle Long, it could have been worse. Clausen was notably better under pressure than we were led to believe by the press during the week.
There was decent balance with the play calling as the Bears did try to run the ball. Not surprisingly they didn’t have much success, especially up the middle. But they didn’t abandon it until late in the game.
I really thought Jimmy Clausen looked OK. He was hurt by all of the dropped passes but most of them were reasonably accurate. I thought maybe he was a bit out of sync with his receivers, especially early, but that’s natural. I think Clausen earned another start.
I note one particular drop by Marquess Wilson on 3rd and long in the second quarter that would have gotten the Bears into field goal range. The Lions let them off the hook by roughing the punter on the next play, giving the Bears another set of downs. But what was interesting was that Wilson dropped the pass in part because it was in the air before he turned around. That’s the kind of thing modern NFL quarterbacks have to do and its the kind of thing Jay Cutler couldn’t do. Next game hopefully Wilson will be more ready.
Clausen seems to spread the ball around a bit more than Cutler, including Wilson more often. At some point you’d like to see Josh Morgan get a pass.
That was about the worst game I hope we ever see Alshon Jeffery have. He didn’t time it very well as a good day from him could have been the difference.
The Bears got decent pressure on Matthew Stafford but, like last game, it was inconsistent. You can’t rush five guys and not get to the quarterback.
The Bears played a lot of man-under and that allowed them to be much more physical with the Lions receivers, especially Calvin Johnson. I thought they had limited success. it was a lot better than that soft zone they tried to run last game.
Give Kyle Fuller credit. He defended Calvin Johnson with limited success today but he competes like heck.
Matthew Stafford had a really bad day. His accuracy was even more poor than some of his decisions were.
To my eye the defense was better against the run this week. I think the young linebackers showed up and had a good game.
The most notable failure of the defense was getting off the field on third down and fourth down. The Lions kept them out there way too long and eventually wore them down late in the fourth quarter.
I watched the game from a bar and I couldn’t hear Joe Buck and Troy Aikman. But if they spent the whole game asking themselves, “What the hell are we doing here?” I wouldn’t blame them. Meanwhile the Packers were stuck with Ronde Barber and Chris Myers. At least it wasn’t David Diehl.
Special teams weren’t too bad. The very first play was a penalty but take away that and it was OK. The blocked field goal kept them in the game. What was the deal with the pooch kick to start the second half?
There were an awful lot of dropped passes by both teams. Golden Tate had a bad drop in the third quarter that forced the Lions to kick a field goal. Wilson had his share. Bennett also had one early. But the king of the drops for the Bears was Alshon Jeffery. He should be totally ashamed of himself.
Way too many penalties on both sides. The most notable was a very damaging pass interference call on Tim Jennings in the fourth quarter that led to the game winning touchdown.
The Bears did well with turnovers but the Lions gave away the first half with three including two Matthew Stafford interceptions and one muffed punt. They did their best to give the game away.
I wish the Bears had taken the field goal at the beginning of the second quarter rather than going for it on fourth down. They were only down by a touchdown and those points would have been a valuable lift.
As you might expect, the most obnoxious fans in the bar were the Packer fans. Meanwhile I sat in my little corner watching the continued development of Teddy Bridgewater against the Dolphins on the screen right next to the Bears game. Some will remember this as being the Packer’s year. But long term the emergence of Bridgewater will be the far more important development and it may have repercussions in the division for many years to come. We’ll get another close look at him next week.’
I’ll give the Bears credit for giving a credible performance this game but you have to note that the Lions gave them a lot of help. A better team would have beaten them at home after getting the gift of 3 turnovers. If I had to peg one memorable, negative factor in the loss it was the killer dropped passes. If I had to point to one positive it was the performance of some of the younger players on defense who showed a little moxey today. Clausen’s performance would be a close second. Let’s hope the players around him do better after a full week of practice with him.