Most fans will remember the strip-sack that killed the Lions last drive of the first half. And many may blame left tackle Riley Reiff for letting Julius Peppers get to the edge — which is true. But the real cause of the missed opportunity was Larry Warford. While the rookie guard has played much better than anyone could have expected, this play was not one of his finer moments.
The Lions come out with again with their base personnel, but this time with Brandon Pettigrew in slot. He’s the guy Stafford wants to get the ball to on yet another corner route.
This was one of the few plays throughout the game where the Lions offensive line got beat by the Bears defensive line. Corey Wooten absolutely blows up with play from his defensive tackle position. So much so that he’s already engaged with Warford by the time the other three linemen are getting out of their stance. This causes Stafford to have to hang back in the pocket to wait for Pettigrew to get out of his break rather than step up and deliver the pass. The result was not only a sack-fumble, but also a swing in points and momentum.
If Stafford had the time and space to step up and throw the ball, Pettigrew would have had nothing but green in front of him. The Lions would have been set up a first down near the red zone. Instead, the Bears were able to get the ball back with enough time to add three more points to their column. The Lions ended up winning the game, but it is these types of missed opportunities that will come back to haunt Detroit Lions in closer games.
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