If I had told you on Friday that the Chicago Bears would hold two of the Detroit Lions most important offensive weapons largely in check on Sunday, you probably would have expected yet another Chicago victory in Ford Field. Though the final score showed a closer than it really was eight-point, 40-32 Detroit victory, the Lions dominated on every side of the the ball despite a rather pedestrian outing for Matthew Stafford and a typical effort for Calvin Johnson against the rival he hates most.
Offense/Reggie Bush Show
Statistically speaking, Stafford didn’t have a horrible day (23 for 35 for 242 yards with a touchdown and interception), but anyone who watched the game knew he struggled to make good throws at times. His worst moment was probably when he threw at CJ’s ankles, bouncing off the receiver and landing in the arms of Chicago’s Major Wright. The Lions were about to put the game out of reach and into garbage time before the pick, but if the Bears could find a way to score a touchdown, the lead would have whittled to seven. Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley had other ideas, however–which we’ll get to later.
Calvin got a touchdown, but caught just three other passes for 44 yards. The leading receivers were Kris Durham, who slid up on the depth chart after Nate Burleson‘s injury, with 58 yards (and two big onside kick recoveries) and Brandon Pettigrew with seven catches. The much-maligned Pettigrew caught all passes thrown to him and didn’t drop any of them. Kudos to him for that.
But the story of the Lions’ offense began and ended with Reggie Bush. There were so many dynamic runs and catches from the back, returning from a week off against Washington. Mostly when Bush made his contributions in the first two games it was through the air, but Sunday it was on the ground. 139 of his 173 all-purpose yards came on the ground, including the dazzling 37-yard touchdown run which made the score 30-10 nearing the end of the first half.
Though the Lions played sloppy on offense at times (including Bush, whose fumble the play before the 37-yard score was recovered by Calvin), they found a way to win the game.
Imagine how potent that attack will/can be while firing on all cylinders.
Lions’ fans have seemed to circle the wagons around Suh lately as he continues to be relentlessly perscuted by the NFL and the sports media. This past week, Pro Football Talk unearthed a “controversy” saying that Suh had an “illegal” hit against Arizona’s Eric Winston in Week 2. Keep in mind, no flag was thrown on the play, no fine assessed after the game (the NFL reviews EVERY play of EVERY game regardless of penalties being called), but this was unearthed last Sunday evening, one week after it took place.
No fine for Suh, so Pro Football Talk was just trying to pile on Suh, who took particular glee in taking his frustration out on Chicago and the hapless Jay Cutler. Moments after Stafford’s errand pass gave the Bears another chance to move closer, Suh sacked Cutler on third down, forcing a fumble which was scooped up by Fairley, and the Lions got their garbage time.
The Lions didn’t miss a beat after the loss of Jason Jones last week and continue to be strong up-front.
“Same Old Lions?”
Sure it certainly got a little too close for comfort toward the end of the game. A 24-point advantage midway through the fourth quarter ended up being an eight-point victory, yet it seems some Lions’ fans just love to be miserable. A lot of the talk postgame was not about a 3-1 start, 2-0 divisional mark and the lead in the NFC North, but rather the fact that they allowed Chicago to score 16 points in the final moments.
Folks, it’s called garbage time. The Lions were playing prevent defense and allowed the Bears to dink and dunk and take a lot of time off the clock. A rare Joique Bell fumble gave the ball back to Chicago, otherwise it wouldn’t have been nearly as close.
Lions’ fans need to learn to relax and enjoy success while we can get it. How many times have we seen Detroit scoring in garbage time, making it closer, but ultimately losing? Make no mistake, the teams that survived and won the game counted it as a victory and weren’t worrying about garbage time scores.
Just like a loss is a loss, a win is a win.
- Boy, Thom Brennaman was really pro-Bears on the day. It got so bad at times I thought I was watching a Chicago White Sox broadcast with Hawk Harrelson at the mic.
- To me, a win against the Bears is second-only to a win against the Packers, however it seems Ford Field is invaded more by Chicago fans than Green Bay fans, and to send those yokels back home along I-94 in despair is particularly satisfying.
- Stafford’s fumble at the goal line, which he recovered for a score was oh so fortunate, however it seems the Lions have tried that play at least four times this year, all with fumbles–though none have cost them. Yet.
- Two huge stats for the game that contributed to victory: Lions just three penalties for 25 yards and Bears 1-for-13 in third down conversions (not picking up their first one until garbage time).