Chicago Bears drop ball against Detroit Lions

By
Updated: September 30, 2013
Running back Matt Forte (22) was one of the few bright spots for the Chicago Bears as they lost to the Detroit Lions.

Running back Matt Forte (22) was one of the few bright spots for the Chicago Bears as they lost to the Detroit Lions.

The Chicago Bears (3-1) started strong on the road against the Detroit Lions (3-1), taking an early 3-0 lead and a 10-9 advantage midway through the second quarter. Then a bevy of turnovers and special-teams miscues gave Detroit (3-1) three touchdowns in just over three minutes, and the lopsided 30-13 score made the game seem over at halftime.

Chicago had their chances to claw back into the game in the third quarter, but two more turnovers by quarterback Jay Cutler effectively put the game out of reach. The Bears scored two meaningless fourth-quarter touchdowns to pull within 40-32, but don’t let the final score fool you: the Lions soundly walloped the Chicago Bears in this one.

Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler turned the ball over four times.

Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler turned the ball over four times.

Cutler gives the game away

Jay Cutler committed four turnovers—three interceptions and a fumble—that combined to cost the Chicago Bears any chance they might have had of winning this game.  Perhaps most troubling is that three of the turnovers were simply terrible plays o his part.  His first interception was a great read and play by Detroit safety Louis Delmas, but his other two were poorly thrown passes to open receivers that ended up pretty much handing Detroit the ball. Cutler held the ball in the pocket for far too long on his fumble, giving Detroit an easy touchdown.

Cutler now has eight turnovers through four games this year, but seven of those eight have come in two games against divisional opponents, including his three turnovers in a Week 2 victory over Minnesota.  Is this just a statistical oddity from a small sample size, or do the teams that know Cutler best know how to rattle him?

In this game it seemed as though a few early hits from Detroit’s defensive line gave Cutler nightmare flashbacks, causing him to resort to bad habits of hanging onto the ball too long in the pocket and forcing balls into coverage deep. Head coach Marc Trestman has worked very hard on improving Cutler’s protection and making him more comfortable and confident in the pocket. They regroup this week to ensure those seeming gains early in the year don’t evaporate.

Chicago Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery had the first 100 yard receiving day of his career.

Chicago Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery had the first 100 yard receiving day of his career.

Offensive depth steps up

One encouraging sign out of this game is that the secondary offensive weapons around centerpieces Matt Forte and Brandon Marshall continue to step up for the Chicago Bears.

Wide receiver Alshon Jeffery had five catches for 107 yards and a touchdown, while tight end Martellus Bennett grabbed eight balls for 90 yards. Wide receiver Earl Bennett even got in on the fun with two grabs, 19 yards, and a touchdown.

Coupled with the typical productive days from Forte (19 touches, 117 yards, touchdown) and Marshall (seven catches, 79 yards), the Bears showed once again that they have a fairly well-balanced offense that is capable of beating teams with several different weapons.

Of course, it would be nice if these weapons could produce before garbage time after the game is out of reach, but that was more on Cutler than his targets, and some of the players (particularly Jeffery and Forte) did play well throughout.

Defense bends, breaks

Defensive end Julius Peppers could use some help from his buddies on the defensive line.

Defensive end Julius Peppers could use some help from his buddies on the defensive line.

Depending on one’s point of view, this could be shaped as a very good or very bad day for the Chicago Bears defense.

On the bad side, they gave up 33 points, 387 yards, 5.9 yards per play, and 23 first downs. They were particularly gashed by the run, as running back Reggie Bush carried it 18 times for 139 yards with a ridiculous 7.7 yard per carry average and a touchdown.

On the good side, they only gave up 13 points that weren’t on extremely short fields off of turnovers or special teams play. They also forced three turnovers, as well as two more fumbles Detroit recovered.

Ultimately, Chicago’s defense was neither great nor terrible in this game.  Sure, they were put in short fields far too often, but they also would have given up more than 13 points on longer fields if Detroit had more chances to drive the length of the field.  The Chicago defense simply did not play well enough against the run or pass.

After four games, things have officially gone beyond a blip in the radar to a trend that is legitimate cause for concern for the defense, particularly the defensive line.  They continued to struggle getting pressure, notching only one sack on Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford; they also added only two additional quarterback hits and three hurries to that total.

Even worse, the defensive line was terrible against the run, routinely letting Bush get 5-10 yards downfield before anyone touched him.

Defensive end Julius Peppers had a second consecutive good game, notching a sack, forced fumble, two quarterback hits, and a quarterback hurry.  Unfortunately, the rest of the defensive line was a complete no-show. Defensive end Shea McClellin, the Chicago Bears’ first-round pick in 2012, appears well on his way to bust status, while Corey Wootton, Stephen Paea, and Nate Collins simply aren’t making enough plays.

The Chicago Bears continue to force turnovers, taking the ball away at least three times for the fourth game in a row.  But they cannot rely on turnovers to be a good defense, and they are doing just that right now.  Defensive coordinator Mel Tucker needs to figure out how to get his unit—which still has plenty of talent—to drastically improve their production or this could be a long season.

Return man Devin Hester has been a nonfactor in three of four Chicago Bears games this year.

Return man Devin Hester has been a nonfactor in three of four Chicago Bears games this year.

Special teams woes

Somewhat uncharacteristic yesterday was how much the special teams struggled.

Return man Devin Hester had a very quiet day, averaging only 24.5 yards per kickoff return and 8.5 yards per punt return while fumbling once.

Punter Adam Podlesh averaged only 40.2 yards on his five punts in a climate-controlled dome where wind and weather have no negative impact. The punt coverage unit gave up a 57-yard return to Michael Spurlock that helped Detroit break the game open in the second quarter.

Rookie linebacker Jon Bostic added a cheap shot on Detroit wide receiver Kris Durham after Durham recovered the game-ending onside kick, a dangerous and unnecessary hit that should never have happened and will surely be fined by the NFL league office.

The only positive was kicker Robbie Gould, who made all three of his field goal attempts to improve to seven for seven on the season.

The Chicago Bears are used to getting consistently excellent play from all phases of their special teams, but that has not always happened so far this year.  New special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis appears to have some work to do with his players to get them up to speed.

Overall

A loss at Detroit for the Chicago Bears isn’t all that surprising; road divisional games are always tough, and Detroit is a very good team at home. How it happened in is certainly worrying though.  The Bears were simply outplayed and outclassed in all phases of the game, and Jay Cutler had his second game out of four this year where he turned it over three or more times.

The good news is that despite their early struggles to adjust to new coaches and a new offensive scheme, the Bears still sit at 3-1 and are tied for the division lead. With a dangerous New Orleans Saints team coming to town next Sunday, Chicago cannot afford to dwell on an ugly loss. They must regroup, refocus, and work diligently on fixing as many of their problems as possible in the next week.

Bad games happen, but seasons get lost when bad games spiral into bad stretches, and the Chicago Bears cannot allow that to happen.

About the author(s)

Johnathan Wood is a passionate fan of the Chicago Bears, Bulls, Blackhawks, Cubs, and Northwestern Wildcats. He enjoys being the beat writer for the Bears at Water Cooler Sports and being obnoxiously unapologetic about how his favorite teams are more awesome than yours. Feel free to email him at if you have any comments or suggestions. Connect with .

659 comments
Home of the Braves
Home of the Braves moderator

Yahoo projected me to score 108.72. My actual score was 57.46. Just a good ole fashion ass whopping. 

LaCW: Real Man
LaCW: Real Man

Pokemon Red + Blue have good endings. Catching Mewtwo and all. 

Chicka Da Bomb Dot Com
Chicka Da Bomb Dot Com

If anyone here have ever watched Heroes, that finale was the worst i seen to put an end to a good series

robertj72
robertj72

MaC, I told Chris and Rourke about our very superficial discussion about having a Thursday night FF radio show. I think the idea has moved to 7:30-8:30 pregame show...thoughts?

LaCW: Real Man
LaCW: Real Man

Mass Effect had an ending everyone hated. I did't think it was that bad if you choose option 1. 

NightStalkerThief
NightStalkerThief

Is Dexter worth finishing? i'm only on season 6 but i'm hearing alot of negativity about the finale

Agent Reggie
Agent Reggie moderator

MaC do you have article posting powers?

Agent Reggie
Agent Reggie moderator

It's a 5 minute preview! LET'S GO! -flies away-

robertj72
robertj72

did you see what i wrote you below?

robertj72
robertj72

Yahoo is amazingly bad at projecting scores

NightStalkerThief
NightStalkerThief

 apparentlly freeman wasn't allowed on the sideline last game because he missed alot of team meetings

jmac3444
jmac3444

good news for tampa not really

aciddragon
aciddragon

 i got fucked by bye weeks, losing Rodgers fucked me 

S1L3NT_heat
S1L3NT_heat

 Black had the best story in the franchise.

S1L3NT_heat
S1L3NT_heat

 It wasn't an ending, it just bloody stopped.

Maized and Confused
Maized and Confused

That'd be cutting it close for me (5:30 for MDT), but I could probably still do it.

jmac3444
jmac3444

 I feel like mass effects wasn't that bad and was only seen as bad because the rest of the series was so good

Spurs in 5.
Spurs in 5. moderator

 dont be like the falcons, you best finish the whole series.

LaCW: Real Man
LaCW: Real Man

  Never played it. Anyone free sites I can play it on the computer?

LaCW: Real Man
LaCW: Real Man

  Same. And also everyone got so attached to their love interest and it ended without them living happily ever after or however the saying goes.


At least that is what I got reading their forums. 

NightStalkerThief
NightStalkerThief

  I know, makes me nervous about watching it till the end. I don't want to be pissed off about a show if i don't have to be

Agent Reggie
Agent Reggie moderator

Should probably just post the MNF preview in the next...Idk...8 minutes before it isn't a preview anymore lol.

MIBearFan
MIBearFan moderator

 

BUT YOU'RE NOT A MOD!

jmac3444
jmac3444

  it has a lot of quality games on the game market.

S1L3NT_heat
S1L3NT_heat

 If you don't have a DS or interest in it.....

LaCW: Real Man
LaCW: Real Man

  I don;t want to spend 100+ on a system and aother 30+ on a game for  one time use.

S1L3NT_heat
S1L3NT_heat

  yep. I'm an anime fan, so I'm use to that. But yes, it got canceled.

natesweet
natesweet moderator

 It is weird. I think Rourke told me he was going to have it out by now. Wonder what happened.

Agent Reggie
Agent Reggie moderator

Well then. I'm not yelling at you I'm yelling at PATRICK! THAT BASTARD!

natesweet
natesweet moderator

 Quit yer damn yelling. I have not gotten done because i have had a migraine all day and puked on my desk.

Agent Reggie
Agent Reggie moderator

JUST MAKE THE HEADERS PRETTY AND TOSS IT ON THE FIRE!

Agent Reggie
Agent Reggie moderator

Hasn't been edited at all. I sent it in 7 hours ago lol.

MIBearFan
MIBearFan moderator

 

Post it. Can either of you set up a chat?

jmac3444
jmac3444

 he doesn't have to use his arms to take his pants off