Flashbacks of 2008. Or any of my childhood years. This loss was unlike the Atlanta game or the San Francisco game because there was quite a bit on the line. By this time of the year, we’re thinking who is going to slip be available at the fourth or fifth pick in the next draft. This one hurt quite a bit.
Hopefully, this will be the actual reality check these guys need going forward. With a tough schedule ahead, they have to know that now there’s not much more room for error. If the season ended right now, both the Bears and Lions would make the wildcard spots. But with both Dallas and Atlanta at 5-4, one week could change all of that.
So let’s take a look at this past game. Hang on, it’s going to be ugly.
I don’t care if you have a fractured hand, sprained ankle or a shrapnel lodged in your frontal lobe, if you’re going to throw the ball like that, you deserve to be benched. I think they made too much of the whole glove thing, which later turned out to be masking an injury. Four picks (two returned for touchdowns) and 63 passes later, it’s official: Stafford is no longer allowed to play at Soldier Field, having either sustained or been affected by injuries each of the past three years.
Running Backs: C
They weren’t given the opportunities (again) as they were trying to play catch-up, but when they got it, they were effective (again). Maurice Morris and Kevin Smith carried it 14 times for 63 yards which is 4.6 YPC. Last time I checked, that’s a pretty solid average. Maybe after some of Stafford’s weaknesses were shown, they can get back to the ground game next week.
Not a great way to start the game: your top two receivers fumbling. Even worse was the drops from all the receivers, led by Calvin Johnson who is usually the closest thing to a sure-catch. Of 19 targets, he only brought in seven. One of the only correct things offensive coordinator Scott Linehan did all day was immediately bench Maurice Stovall after dropping the easiest catch I’ve ever seen.
Offensive Line: D+
They only allowed two sacks, but Stafford was never comfortable. From the first drive he was flustered and antsy in the pocket, which is a direct result of sketchy protection. I will say though, run blocking was solid enough again, although a lot of the runs came late when Chicago was playing the pass.
Defensive Line: D
I don’t know what to think about these guys anymore. They aren’t making the impact plays they should, and for the second week in a row, a paltry Bears’ O-line was able to keep Cutler out of trouble. Cutler didn’t play very well at all, but the defense looks to the line to make plays: sacks and turnovers. Two sacks and one strip isn’t enough for how talented they are.
In my mind, this was the most solid squad of the day. DeAndre Levy had three tackles for losses and they made Matt Forte virtually invisible (by his standards) in the run game. Aside from Forte’s 40 yard run, he had17 carries for 24 yards.
They did well in coverage, but again, no one made any plays. There wasn’t anything to help turn the game around. Cutler’s numbers were limited, but we need to see more, especially on some select third down passes.
Special Teams/Coaching: F
Without even getting in to injuries, no matter who your punter is, you DO NOT punt to Devin Hester. He’s the definition of a game changer and the Lions fell victim again. Most of this falls on the coaching staff, but still. No spark form the special teams on this day.
If you take away the two pick-6’s, the score isn’t so bad, but this game was all Chicago from the get go. Overall the defense did pretty well, but they may be called upon to step up beyond what they’ve done so far to compensate for the offensive difficulties. I’m hoping the spirit isn’t dying in Detroit. It could be cobwebs after the bye-week, but the game against Carolina will tell us a lot about what the Honolulu Blue is made of.