Detroit Lions: 5 Takeaways from the Lions' Week 10 Loss to the Chicago Bears
Calvin Johnson and Nate Burleson both fumbled on the first two drives of the game for Detroit, and Matthew Stafford doubled his interceptions on the year. These six turnovers set the stage for a night to forget in Chicago.
Turnovers were not the only story line of this game, however. Detroit's run defense looked much better than previous weeks, holding Matt Forte to 3.6 yards per carry and only 64 yards. The simple fact is, unfortunately, the Lions' offense and special teams made too many mistakes for the Bears offense to be a factor.
With that being said, here are the five takeaways from Detroit's loss in Chicago.
5. Ball Security Must Be Addressed
Coming in to Week 10, Detroit led the league in turnover difference at plus-13. That was largely in part because the offense did not make mistakes: only one fumble and four interceptions.
Six turnovers in one game for a team that only had five all season is very surprising.
Maybe Jim Schwartz did not think his offense needed to be taught how to hold on to the ball, but the fact is they lost because of it. Turnovers and dropped passes led to this loss, and Schwartz must address ball security in the coming weeks.
4. Throw It Deep
First off, I want to see Matthew Stafford lose the glove. Maybe it helped him grip the ball, but tonight, he looked more erratic than ever. Having 63 throws and only 33 completions will simply not get it done.
Out of those 63 throws, only one of them was completed for over 25 yards: a 40-yard strike to Calvin Johnson. Now, the Bears might have game-planned to prevent the deep bomb, but with Megatron's skill, at least take a chance. I would rather see interceptions from deep throws than the interceptions returned for touchdowns off of a dump-off tonight.
Throughout the entire game it appeared that Detroit's passing attack was passive. Maybe it was the play-calling, maybe it was Stafford being uncomfortable. Either way, this problem must be addressed moving forward.
3. Nick Fairley Will Fit Right in
You can take this as a good thing or a bad thing, but Nick Fairley will fit right in with an already criticized defensive line for Detroit.
His roughing-the-passer penalty at the end of the third quarter could be regarded as the dirty play that led to the ugly fourth-quarter brawl.
Fairley impacted the game in the limited number of snaps that he played, and he will make an impact in future games. His physicality showed, and he should be a great addition to an already solid defensive line.
2. As Megatron Goes, the Lions Go
Calvin Johnson is the MVP of this Detroit Lions team. If he plays well, Detroit plays well. If he falters, as he did tonight, Detroit falters as well.
Johnson had 19 targets this week and only seven catches. That is, in part, due to Matthew Stafford throwing the ball all over the place, but Johnson also dropped catches that he normally makes.
Mentally, Megatron was not in this game. An early fumble was just the start of a very rough night in the Windy City for him, and he should rebound in a major way next week against a sketchy Carolina defense.
Johnson stumbled and no other receiver for Detroit stepped up to make a play. His leadership in the receiving game is essential for the Lions to be in rhythm on offense.
1. Scrappy Coach, Scrappy Team
Jim Schwartz is leading Detroit in the right direction. (Not just after this game, but big-picture.)
Sure, Detroit looked absolutely awful on offense against a Bears team it had already beaten once before. But this Detroit team has fight in it. Just ask D.J. Moore.
Detroit has much to learn from this loss to Chicago. Turnovers, dropped passes, punt coverage and timing on offense all need to be addressed. Fortunately, a home game against Carolina next week should offer an easier game to fix these problems.
Detroit needed to beat Chicago in order to separate itself in the NFC Wild Card race, and the didn't. But they will.
Detroit still holds a Wild Card seed in a wild NFC race, and that should hold. I may be one of the few that thinks this way, but with four home games left and a date in Green Bay at the end of the year, Detroit has a great chance to still make the playoffs.