Five Detroit Lions Takeaways from the win over Chicago
By Jeff Risdon
Unexpected contributors on defense
Nov 27, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions defensive tackle Andre Fluellen (96) sacks Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (6) during the third quarter at Ford Field. Detroit won 34-17. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports
If I would have told you over the summer that Andre Fluellen and Josh Bynes would play critical defensive roles in a Lions win, you would have laughed at me. It’s as stunning as buying a Playboy and not seeing any naked women inside. Oh, wait… Fluellen is in his ninth contract with the Lions, the prodigal defensive tackle. He made two tackles against the Bears, but his contribution goes well beyond the box score.
The Detroit News beat writer was right on. “Flu” largely held up at the point of attack against the run. He showed energy and full effort on every snap. Depending on your definition of a “Hurry”, Flu had one or two of those on Jay Cutler. Moreover, he provided real leadership on a defensive front sorely missing a dominant personality. He’s embraced his role and the Lions would be in a lot worse shape without Andre Fluellen.
Bynes has been a pleasant surprise all season, and that continued on Sunday. Ostensibly filling in for Pro Bowler DeAndre Levy, Bynes was once against a run defense stalwart. Chicago rushed for just 91 yards on 31 carries, a 2.9 yards per carry average. That’s a full yard below the Bears normal average, and it paid dividends in creating longer 3rd down conversions.
Neither player was great, not by any means. Bynes got torched in coverage a couple of times, while Fluellen misplayed a handful of run fits. But imagine the Lions thin defensive front without them; it’s enough to be the difference between 1-5 and 0-6.