This was one of the more enjoyable games to watch in a long time for Lions fans. Detroit made several exciting plays and received strong performances from unexpected contributors.
There is still work to be done, however. Next week sees Detroit travel to Green Bay, where earning high marks like these figures to be a tall task.
Stafford completed 23 of his 35 attempts for 242 yards, with one touchdown and an interception. He scored a touchdown by recovering his own fumble on a goal-line plunge. Many of his early throws were wildly off-target, but he settled down pretty well. He did lose a fumble on a strip sack where he showed poor awareness. Considering he was playing with a reduced receiving corps and the offense put up three touchdowns, it was a solid effort. The team didn't need Stafford to win this game on his own.
It was an outstanding effort by Bush in returning from a knee injury. You'd never guess he had any issue at all, as his jump cuts proved lethal to the defense. Bush racked up 139 rushing yards on 18 carries, including one of the most entertaining 37-yard touchdown runs you'll ever witness. He also caught four passes for 34 yards, though he did fumble once.
This was not a good game for the reserve running back. Bell struggled to find any running room, netting just 12 yards on seven carries. He lost a fumble late while needlessly spinning for an extra yard. Bell is spared from a failing grade for catching all four passes thrown his way.
Riddick did not play much, and saw only one ball. Stafford missed him badly on a route where Riddick didn't appear to get deep enough.
This was a quiet game for Megatron. He and Stafford struggled to get on the same page, hooking up just four times in 10 attempts. Johnson did pull down a leaping fade route for a touchdown. Twice in my notes I remarked about his strong blocking, and he was Johnny-on-the-Spot with a fumble recovery.
If you are looking for a hidden hero, Kris Durham is your man. Getting the start with both Nate Burleson and Patrick Edwards out with injuries, Durham responded with the best game of his NFL career. He caught three passes for a team-leading 58 yards. His blocking was outstanding, freeing Bush for extra yards on several occasions. Durham also recovered an onside kick and survived getting blatantly speared in the process.
Broyles did not play very much, and Stafford threw just one ball in his direction, an incompletion. The knee is still not ready for extended action.
This was Pettigrew's best game of the season. Stafford threw seven passes in his direction, and the big tight end caught all seven. Many of those were in tight quarters, and Pettigrew showed strong hands and excellent concentration. He's had better days run blocking, but his confidence as a receiver more than makes up for it.
I only caught him on the field for two snaps, and Stafford never threw a ball his way. Tough to grade that outing.
Scheffler caught one pass for 22 yards, a bullet down the seam with a nice run after the catch. He was wide open on a deep crossing route out of the slot but Stafford didn't see him.
For being what I considered the weak link of the line against Chicago, Reiff still played a solid game. He was matched up against Julius Peppers most of the day, a tough task. He gave up the only sack, and Peppers registered at least two quarterback pressures on him too.
Primarily known for his pass blocking, this game showed that Rob Sims can turn into a snowplow as a run blocker too. His movement skills looked as good as they ever have going back to his Ohio State days.
For the second time in three weeks, the veteran center turned in a great effort. His range as a blocker was exceptional, throwing kick out blocks near the sidelines and blasting linebackers at the second level. The Bears have no interior pass rush whatsoever, which helped Raiola a lot.
The third-round rookie emphatically outplayed his first-round Chicago counterpart, Kyle Long. In a year with many rookie linemen struggling, Warford's physical run blocking really stands out.
The right tackle did not surrender a single pressure on Stafford in pass protection. He struggled in handling defensive backs swooping in against the run, however.
This was yet another superlative effort from Suh, He absolutely dominated Kyle Long, which I chronicled here right after the game. For the second week in a row, no penalties.
Fairley is a tough grading assignment. It's hard to knock a defensive tackle in a game where he scores a fumble recovery for a touchdown, but beyond that play Fairley did not look good. One of his quarterback pressures probably should have been flagged for roughing. His run defense was culpable on a couple of long Forte runs too.
It was a quiet day in the box score for Young, who got the start at left defensive end. He registered just one tackle and I have him for one quarterback pressure. He was badly out of position on the long Forte touchdown run. At least he learned from it, slow-playing the action when Chicago ran the exact same play later in the game. Young forced a cutback to his help on that play for a five-yard gain.
For the first time in four games, Ansah failed to notch a strip sack. None were even wiped out by penalty this time. He was flagged for being offsides once. He looked more like a hit-or-miss rookie in this one. There were a couple of run plays where he failed to hold his edge. However, he quickly read a flare pass to Forte and nearly picked it off, and he also batted a red-zone pass by Cutler.
C. J. Mosley
The reserve tackle didn't play a lot, but he was around the ball when in the game. Mosley showed good hustle in bringing down Forte from behind, and he used a shoulder dip move to drive Bears center Roberto Garza backwards and into the way of Cutler.
The tall rookie saw extended action on a couple of series. He pressured Cutler into an errant throw and was near the quarterback on a couple other rushes. His run defense was not pretty; he must get his pads lower in future action.
The middle linebacker racked up 14 tackles and was constantly near the football. Tulloch also recorded a sack on an inside blitz and registered a tackle behind the line on a well-timed run blitz. He was a big reason why the Bears went just 1-for-13 on third down.
Levy was hit-and-miss in pass coverage, particularly when matched up on tight end Martellus Bennett. He missed a tackle on a Forte run but still notched four solo tackles. Levy also dropped an interception and was rightly flagged for illegal contact in coverage late in the game.
Palmer made my notes three times. He flew into the backfield and planted Forte for a loss, an outstanding play. He got caught racing too far up the field on a cutback run, and he closed quickly on a catch to prevent a third-down conversion.
Playing exclusively on special teams, Whitehead stood out. He was very active on coverage units, making two tackles and really throwing his weight around.
Lewis also made a mark on special teams, consistently swarming to the ball in coverage.
He made the notes just once, for earning a horse-collar tackle penalty on special teams.
He often drew Brandon Marshall in coverage and played fairly well. Houston broke up a pass and positioned himself well on several other contested throws. He left the game late with an apparent leg injury, the status of which is unknown going forward.
It was not a good day for the veteran corner. He was beaten twice for early catches and badly missed a tackle. Shortly thereafter he left the game with a possible concussion and did not return. His status is unknown for next week.
My choice for player of the game. He picked off Cutler twice and broke up three other passes. One of the interceptions showed his exceptional instincts; he knew Cutler would pick on Darius Slay and jumped the route as Cutler stared down his target, attacking the ball in the air. The contrast between how well Delmas played and how awful Bears counterpart Chris Conte played was striking.
Quin was also very active in attacking the ball. He intercepted Cutler once, ranging to the sideline and tracking down a floater. This was not his most effective game in run support, and he took bad angles on a few tackle attempts.
Filling in for an injured Mathis, the second-round rookie finally looked like he belonged in the NFL. The Bears challenged him often, but he did not get flustered. Even though he gave up the touchdown catch to Alshon Jeffery, Slay was in great position and had a hand on the ball. I liked his tackling in this one. There is something to build upon here, a very good sign as the season progresses.
It was an uneven game for the nickel corner. I noted him making aggressive tackles on two different third downs, and he broke up a pass with a nice read. He also whiffed on a couple of tackle attempts and was embracing the "prevent" a little too strongly for my liking down the stretch.
Pressed into duty, Green allowed a touchdown catch to Earl Bennett. Even on that throw, Green was in good position. For not having played much at all this year, it was a solid effort. The Lions should have confidence in Green if Mathis is out for a week or two.
I only noticed Carey on special teams, where he notched one tackle.
Wendling is a special teams stalwart, and he showed his value in this game. He pressured punter Adam Podlesh into a poor kick, and he nearly blocked another punt. His contain work in the coverage units was outstanding.
The return man finally broke off a big one, taking a punt back 57 yards. It was the only instance where Spurlock was better than nothing at all; he failed to reach the 20-yard line on any kickoff return and showed poor vision in doing so.
Akers was perfect on his four field goal attempts, making from 23, 31, 41 and 43 yards. All were of the "no doubt" variety.
Martin punted three times and averaged 50 yards per kick, pinning one inside the 20 and getting one touchback. Devin Hester opted to run back six of his kickoffs, a surprisingly high number.