6. Kevin Strong: from practice squad to unsung hero
As the first official transaction since Matt Patricia and Bob Quinn got their pink slips, it’s only fitting that a big stop from Kevin Strong was what ultimately iced the game. Signed to the practice squad less than a week ago, the unheralded defensive tackle stood up David Montgomery for no gain on the final 4th-and-one hand-off.
While Chicago moved the ball into the red zone on that too-close-for-comfort final drive, it was symbolic for the final stop to be from the first fresh face of the post-New England Detroit Lions. No more trying to be the dollar store version of the Patriots; it’s time to strive to be a better version of the Lions. The Lions’ defense showed a lot of newfound strength in the 4th quarter to finish off the Bears, none more than on the final play from a guy named Strong.
7. It was a bad day for extra points around the NFL, Soldier Field included.
I can’t imagine there’s been a worse stretch of extra points in the NFL since the days of crew cut non-specialists wearing thick leather boots and blasting toe balls from straight ahead. In the three afternoon games I watched on Sunday, there were a total of six missed extra points from five different teams, more in those three games than in the entire 2013 NFL season (back before they moved the spot back).
Romeo Okwara played no small part in all of this, blocking a Cairo Santos attempt in the first quarter. Yes, Matt Prater was also included in the missed extra point binge, clanging the right upright after Detroit’s first score.