For the Detroit Lions, it was the same old story. 2012 is quickly turning into the year of ugly failed chances. Though neither team played consistent offense, the Chicago Bears managed a few more productive drives and didn't make the critical turnovers, helping aid in their important 13-7 victory on Monday night. This hunt was lost due to missed opportunities that were quite literally fumbled away at every turn.
Here's more about perhaps the NFL's ugliest performance of the week.
The Offensive Consistency Is Gone Again. Chicago's defense is excellent, so it's easy to see how the Lions could struggle, but at times, Detroit didn't even look close to executing. Again, there were busted routes while Matthew Stafford was on the run in the pocket. The running game didn't do anything of note, and the Lions could never get comfortable on the offensive side of things. It was a far cry from the second half of last week's game, where Detroit could do no wrong. Monday night, the ugly struggles lasted the entire game instead of simply disappearing in the second half.
Turnovers Killed. Particularly, ones in the red zone and sudden change mistakes. By just punching the ball in, the Lions could have won the game, Instead, Joique Bell made an embarrassing play, diving too soon for the goal line and fumbling the ball away. Stefan Logan muffed nearly every punt he touched, but botched a crucial one which led to points for the Bears. The Lions made far too many mistakes, which cost them the game. Offensively, it wasn't penalties this time around, but rather silly mental errors at critical times. Four turnovers won't win many games no matter where they're played.
The Lions' Offensive Line Can't Deal With Chicago's Defense. Part of the Lions' offensive problems stemmed from the fact that Stafford couldn't get comfortable in the pocket. Give the Bears' defense credit, as they forced him to have happy feet in the pocket and always throw on the run. Much of this was due to the influence of Julius Peppers, Israel Idonije, Lance Briggs, and the relentless defense of the Bears. Yesterday saw Detroit offensive linemen taking whatever angles they could to slow down Chicago pass rushers.
The Receivers Lost Focus Again. Early, there were plenty of drops, especially from Calvin Johnson. The Bears seemed to intimidate the Lions pass catchers by being tougher and physical around the ball. The Lions had to man up and take the challenge, but they looked unwilling once again, just like they have at other times this season. They've only had one good quarter this season, and badly need to get on the same page with Stafford if this season is to be salvaged. Stafford and the Lions can't win without better play from the wide outs. Now, they'll have to win without one of their emotional leaders. Nate Burleson went down with a season ending broken leg.
Defensively, Detroit Played Well Enough To Win. The Lions sacked Jay Cutler four times, pressured him numerous other times and held up considerably well in the secondary, all injuries considered. They only allowed one touchdown, when early, it looked as if the train was going to completely derail. The Bears were held to field goals despite the fact that the Lion offense fumbled the ball all over the field and gave the defense plenty of disadvantages. If there was one positive to be taken from this game, it was the fact that Detroit's defense stood up to the challenge of going against the Bears, and played them to a virtual tie, offensive mistakes not withstanding. Though they didn't force a turnover, the defensive unit never broke under all the pressure, only allowing a respectable 296 yards (171 on the ground) to the Bears.
Lions? One of the few consistent players on offense deserves credit, and it was the young Ryan Broyles, who snagged his first touchdown coming into the game for Nate Burleson. Defensively, Kyle Vanden Bosch had a great game off the edge. Outside of one play, Jonte Green held up well and had an excellent coverage sack of Cutlter.
Lambs? The offensive line didn't exactly show up, and neither did the receivers. It's weird to see, but Calvin Johnson's early drop of a pitch and catch on third down may have set the tone for the entire night, so put him here. Joique Bell's fumble at the goal line was the biggest play of the night, and was extremely crippling to Detroit in the end.
What About The Five Things? The Lions didn't get off to a better start, and in some ways, it was worse. They weren't able to rally, either. Mikel Leshoure, Joique Bell and the running game were the difference…in a negative way, as they each fumbled and were not able to do much against Chicago. Detroit's defensive line played well, The turnover battle was lost badly, helping the Lions go down. Finally, the underdog attitude wasn't even a factor, as the Lions just looked bad.
Stalking The Next Prey: The Lions will try to rebound at home, awaiting a visit from the Seattle Seahawks next Sunday. The game begins at 1 p.m. on Fox.
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