Lions vs Bears: 6 Things We Learned from Detroit's 37-13 Loss
It's never easy to win on the road. But it's not supposed to be this hard.
After two weeks of talking about how this 6-2 team is different than the 6-2 team that took the field in 2007, they looked pretty much exactly the same.
Ugly. Unorganized. Mistake-prone. Sloppy, even on the decent plays.
If ever there was a day that the Lions looked like the "Same Old Lions," this was it, undeniably.
But no matter how bad it was on the scoreboard, it goes in the books as one loss, and the Lions are still 6-3. Like with any game, there's more to it that just the result.
So what can we take away from this game?
Long after the outcome of this game was decided, Matthew Stafford threw yet another interception, and as he chased down the defender, he threw off the guy blocking/holding him.
That guy was D.J. Moore, who decided to attack Stafford as he was getting up after the play. The two had been engaged during the play, and Stafford vented some of his frustration by tossing Moore to the ground to clear the block.
Stafford isn't exactly clean on the play, as he got a piece of Moore's helmet during the toss. But under normal circumstances, the guy who charges a defenseless player after the whistle is the guy who "started" the fight. But not according to the same NFL.com that called the Lions "Evil" two weeks ago.
They have a different interpretation. Apparently, the guy who charges a quarterback on the ground after the play isn't the guy who started the fight; the quarterback who threw his blocker to the ground during the play is.
Thanks for clearing that up, guys.
The Detroit Lions Can't Always Count on Second-Half Magic
The Lions were able to cut the Bears' lead to 14 going into halftime, and there was some comfort in the talk of the Lions being a second-half team.
They'd done it before, right?
And then Matthew Stafford went all Tony Romo, delivering ridiculous interception after ridiculous interception, basically ensuring that the Lions played at least a quarter-and-a-half of meaningless football.
And that was it, really. With over 10 minutes left in the third quarter, Stafford's two touchdown passes to Bears players eliminated any realistic chance of winning.
Let this game eliminate that notion.
Sadly, the Bears Might Actually Be Decent...
I've been counting on the Bears' eventual collapse for a while now, but contrary to conventional wisdom, they actually look like they're getting better as the season rolls along.
They're beating good teams convincingly, and they're in playoff position sitting in a virtual tie with the Lions in the NFC North.
They played well in all three phases against the Lions, particularly defense, where they forced six turnovers (three times more than the Lions had given up on the road all season).
I've been down on the Bears for years, and I have to give credit where due after a thorough beatdown.
And yet there's something I have to point out here...
...but They're Not Nearly as Good as They Looked
Look, I'm not going to sit here and tell you the Chicago Bears didn't just smack the Lions in the mouth for 60 minutes. They did. Literally, in D.J. Moore's case.
But a lot of the Bears' success in this game was a result of unforced Lions errors. The Bears forced two early fumbles on fantastic defensive plays. No taking that away from them. But they didn't drop three touchdown passes for the Lions, the Lions did that for themselves.
The Bears intercepted passes from Stafford, but Stafford put them on the numbers.
Devin Hester had big returns, but the Lions made the mistake of kicking to him.
If the Lions had played their game, the Bears may still have won, so don't think I'm trying to justify a bad loss or take anything away from the victorious team.
But this game should have, if nothing else, been closer than it was, and the fact that it wasn't is mostly an issue of the Lions' sloppy play, not the Bears' dominance.
It didn't come into play because of the defensive and special teams touchdowns, but this was a game in which Jay Cutler was under 50 percent passing and Matt Forte had 64 yards on 18 carries, 40 of which came on a single run.
Kevin Smith Could Be the Answer
On four carries and two catches, Kevin Smith earned 29 all-purpose yards.
The Lions sort of abandoned the idea of the run in the second half, which serves to explain Stafford's 63 pass attempts, and Kevin Smith wasn't a sudden cure-all on the level of, say, DeMarco Murray.
But the man ran hard with a purpose. He didn't look like a guy who was on the verge of signing with a UFL team. He looked like a guy with something to contribute.
It isn't as though Smith doesn't know the system, so he shouldn't need much time to acclimate. He can step in and produce now, and there's very little reason to think he won't see more than four carries next week.
Something Didn't Click During the Bye Week
The Lions had 14 days to prepare for this contest. The Bears had six.
So why did the Bears look like they were fully prepared for this game, while the Lions looked out-of-sync and tired?
Obviously, whatever prep work the Lions were doing over the bye wasn't effective.
We've seen this from a lot of teams this season, the post-bye letdown. It could have to do with new NFL rules regulating practices during the week, or it could just be teams getting out of their respective grooves.
Whatever it is, it happened to the Lions. They were obviously unprepared to play today, but if Jim Schwartz is as good a coach as he would appear to be, he will use this game as a teaching moment and get the Lions prepared to play a tough, but winnable, game against Carolina next week.