Chicago Bears

Lions vs. Bears: Chicago's Defense Will Further Expose Matthew Stafford's Flaws

DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 30: Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions watches the action while on the bench during the game against the Minnesota Vikings at Ford Field on September 30, 2012 in Detroit, Michigan. The Vikings defeated the Lions 20-13.  (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Leon Halip/Getty Images
Brian MaziqueCorrespondent IIIOctober 21, 2012

Matthew Stafford's tunnel vision for Calvin Johnson will lead to wreckage in Soldier Field. The Chicago Bears' opportunistic defense will punish the Detroit Lions' QB for locking on to Megatron, and he'll undoubtedly add to his interception total.

Nobody has taken the ball away like the Bears this season. The defense has generated an insane 17 turnovers this season, and that total has come in only five games. The Bears aren't just taking it away—they're taking it to the house.

The defense has scored five touchdowns this season, and that's a big reason they are 4-1.

Stafford has run into issues getting the ball to Megatron at the same rate he did in the 2011 season. The Madden 13 cover athlete is still having a good season with 35 receptions for 558 yards, but he only has one touchdown.

Through five games in 2011, Megatron had nine touchdown catches. Why has his production dropped off? That's simple, it's because he had nine touchdown catches in 2011 through the first five games.

Teams are committed to taking him away as much as they can. Meanwhile, Stafford's responsibility is to find the holes in the defense created by the extra attention to Megatron.

He hasn't been able to do that consistently.

Brandon Pettigrew and Nate Burleson are tied for second on the team in receptions with 26, but a huge chunk of both player's receptions came in the same game. The duo caught a combined 18 passes against the Tennessee Titans in Week 3. That's almost 40 percent of the production coming in one game.

That isn't balanced-approach production.

What causes this imbalance? Talent is surely part of it. Megatron is amazing, while Burleson and Pettigrew are just good. The other side of the coin is Stafford's tendency to lock in on his primary target and disregard his progressions.

It has led to incompletions and a share of Stafford's five interceptions this season. Megatron's numbers are down this year, and thus Stafford's are as well. He has only four touchdown passes through five games this season. He had already thrown 13 touchdown passes at this point in 2011.

His QB rating is 83.8 right now, at this point last season it was 102.6. Can he clean it up by Monday night? I don't think so.

The Bears will feast on Stafford's mistakes and roll to 5-1.


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