Chicago Bears 37, Detroit Lions 13 (box score)
This was an opportunity fro the Detroit Lions to separate themselves from the NFC playoff pack but it didn’t take long for it to bounce away from their grasp. The Lions were doing what they needed to do early in the game to move the ball on the Bears defense but the drive ended when Calvin Johnson fumbled. Four plays later the Bears had an early lead.
The Lions appeared to rebound nicely and had the ball moving once again until what should have been another first down catch by Nate Burleson was fumbled away and recovered by the Bears. The Lions defense allowed the Bears to get into field goal range but yielded no more. The Bears lead was just 10-0 but it couldn’t have come in a worse way.
Lions fans hoping the bounces would even out over the course of the game were sorely disappointed. The ball kept bouncing but it was decidedly against the Lions today.
The first two Lions possessions of the second half ended even worse than the first two of the first half. Major Wright returned an interception 24 yards for a touchdown to extend the Bears lead to 21. To say the Lions responded poorly would be an understatement. The next Lions possession resulted in another touchdown for the Bears. This time it was a 44-yard interception return by Charles Tillman that dashed any hopes that the most optimistic Lions fans had at mounting a comeback.
The story of the game lies in the fact that the Bears took advantage of the copious opportunities the Lions presented them while the Lions did very little with Bears mistakes. A quick look at the play-by-play makes it look like the Lions dodged a bullet at the end of the first half when Robbie Gould missed a field goal attempt. What doesn’t show up is that Jay Cutler actually fumbled on the drive but the Lions stood around thinking it was in incomplete pass despite hearing no whistle blow. The play could have resulted in an easy scoop and score but the Bears were able to retain possession since no one bothered to pick up the ball. It was that kind of day for the Lions.
It was a terrible performance by all involved but it goes down as just one loss and the Lions remain in good position for a Wild Card berth. Of course, that will only come if the team avoids performances like the one we saw today. The Lions would have been 7-2 with a clear run towards the top Wild Card spot in the NFC with a win today. Instead, they are 6-3 and much closer to the pack for any clarity to be seen in the playoff picture and the Lions have no one but themselves to blame for that.