The Detroit Lions narrowly avoided getting blanked by the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football. Detroit should have put more points on the board than the seven that they mustered, but mistakes by several players took the Lions out of position to score.
Detroit lost chances to get surefire points—as sure as surefire is in the NFL—due to turnovers caused by the Bears’ swarming defense.
But the offense is paid to score. You can’t score as an offense by turning the ball over in the red zone, and the following players did exactly that.
Quarterback Matthew Stafford threw 46 passes but managed to get only one of them into the end zone: rookie wide receiver Ryan Broyles’ first career touchdown reception with less than a minute to go in the game.
Another pass he threw in the red zone was intercepted by the Bears’ D.J. Moore. On fourth down with goal to go, Stafford rolled right out of the gun while being chased by Bears defenders.
To his credit, he got rid of the football to give his guy (also Broyles) a chance at a catch rather than taking a sack.
But because he was hurried, his throw was errant and picked off.
Bears cornerback Charles Tillman forced Lions tight end Brandon Pettigrew to fumble twice on one Detroit drive in the second quarter, but the ball ended up out of bounds each time. Running back Mikel Leshoure wasn’t so fortunate.
On the same drive, Leshoure lost a fumble on the Bears’ 17.
He wasn’t the only Lions RB to fumble in the red zone: Joique Bell’s was even more crushing to Detroit’s scoring potential.
Bell lunged at the goal line with a little over five minutes to go in the third quarter. He extended the ball, didn’t cross the plane and ultimately lost the football to Brian Urlacher.
Chicago played fantastic defensively—but Detroit would have been much more productive offensively if it would have simply taken care of the football.