Detroit Lions-Chicago Bears: Detroit Did Not Deserve To Win This Game
Well, Week 1 is now in the books for the Detroit Lions. We all know what happened, unless you don't watch sports. Why would you be here?
I, like everybody, have my own opinions on that particular play. However, even if they did get the call and win the game, they did not deserve to win.
Before you tell me to take it to the Bears boards, I still drink that Honolulu Blue Kool-Aid. I just spiked it with some vodka, and that tends to loosen the tongue. If you're a Star Trek fan, it looks just like Romulan Ale.
Either the Lions did not give their full 100 percent or the Bears had them figured out. Of course, it's most likely a mixture of both, but the Lions were outplayed by the Bears, plain and simple.
Talk about anemic. Matthew Stafford looked better than he had last year, but his stats looked more like one (maybe two) drive than one half. Jahvid Best didn't garner any real yardage. Aside from the TDs, he gained nine yards on 12 carries. Calvin Johnson saw nothing until the third quarter (one target in the first half).
Somehow, they scored two touchdowns, but that was on drives that started at the 40 and Chicago's 42. They still couldn't get a long drive going until the end of the game—only three drives over 15 yards the entire game. Three turnovers are also killers.
Maybe it was the shock of the unspeakable play, but there was plenty of time to get into the end zone again. They still had over 20 seconds, which would have been enough time to get a first down and spike it, instead of throw two into the end zone. That may be the shock and deflation of the events, but a good team will overcome and get the job done (or at least make a better showing of the attempt).
Grade: D+ (At least they scored)
The line did really well. They held strong when they needed and rang Chicago's bells a few times. There was no way last year that goal-line stand happens. Four sacks in a game is also a drastic improvement over the less than two per game over the past three years. There was not a lot of breakdown in the line area, holding Chicago to 101 yards rushing total.
The back seven were atrocious. 372 yards passing for Jay Cutler? That's Peyton Manning/Drew Brees territory. This could really be the Achilles heel of our team. However, Achilles' heel is only a couple inches big. The secondary is 20 percent of the team. It's more like saying Achilles' left leg is his weak spot.
Overall, the defense was meh. The goal-line stand was huge, but the big plays were the biggest problem.
Grade: C (Somehow amongst all this, they held Chicago under 20 points)
Hey, how many times could you say the Lions had as many return yards as the Bears? Now how many times could you say that with the Lions having fewer returns? Decent punt coverage with a 3.4 average punt return. The kickoff returns, while on the large side, were all contained to within Chicago's 35-yard line. This is a drastic improvement over last year's starting positions for Chicago.
Grade: B+ (Didn't let up any big plays, but didn't shine either)
The Lions played the Bears tough. It almost seemed like Saturday's Notre Dame-Michigan game: big yards, big plays, but enough defense to keep it close.
When the unspeakable happened, I was thinking that it was almost a mirror. Two great games in the Chicago-Northern Indiana area? Against teams from the Detroit-Ann Arbor area? It certainly was something.
The Lions did not deserve to win, though. About the only area where they met or exceeded expectations was the defensive line. Had it not been for the line, it would have been a Chicago blowout, similar to last year. Chicago outplayed Detroit in every other area, save maybe kickoff returns, where it was evenly matched.
No matter how well the defense plays, when your offense can't move the ball consistently, you won't win many (if any) games. Out of 14 drives, nine (64.2 percent) did not result in any first downs, and 11 did not exceed 15 yards. No wonder Lovie Smith wasn't worried about giving the Lions the ball at the one.
To you Chicago fans: You may have gotten the "W," but there are problems. Even given the unspeakable call, there were many problems. Your line looks great as well, and this game was a bag of candy for the fans who love the line. While I'm a little bummed that we're losing Stafford again (it was a bad day for my fantasy team QB-wise; I had Stafford, with Kevin Kolb as my backup), the play of both defensive lines was a sight to behold.
However, your offense has a big problem. We know that problem very well, having gone through that a couple of years ago. You can rack up all the yards you want, but four red zone possessions with only one touchdown to show for it is bad. As much as last year was a blowout, you didn't have half the offense you had yesterday. Of course, you didn't have a third of the special teams yardage as you did last year either.
An offense that doesn't click in the red zone isn't going to win a lot of games. Big plays may happen easily against the Lions, but don't think that will work against the Vikings, Packers, or Patriots. You need to be able to punch it in, something the Bears are historical for.
I will have to say, though, I was right about one thing: As Brian Urlacher goes, so do the Bears. Because it wasn't nearly 500 yards of offense that won you the game; it was the defense holding Detroit under 200. The only reason that the unspeakable call was even a factor was that Chicago's offense was so erratic.
When it's feast (80-yard TD plays) or famine (turning over on downs inside the one), there's a chance of catching a break. The Lions almost did, but a good team should not have to rely on an official replay to win a game. Conversely, Bears, a good team should not leave such an offensive output with less than 20 points.
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