Detroit Lions vs Chicago Bears: An In Depth Game Review

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The Lions Beat The Bears 27-24. Here’s How It Happened.


1st Quarter

The Bears received the ball to open this game and got off to a red hot start. On their first possession, they marched down the field and kicked a 23 yard field goal to take a 3-0 lead. On their next drive, they got into the end zone with a one yard touchdown pass from quarterback Mitchell Trubisky to tight end Adam Shaheen.

The Lions offense couldn’t get anything going in the first quarter, as quarterback Matthew Stafford lost a fumble on the first Detroit possession and they had to punt the next time they had the ball.

Score: Chicago Leads 10-0

2nd Quarter

Early into the 2nd quarter, Trubisky fumbled a snap. Lions cornerback DJ Hayden was able to scoop up the ball and return it for a touchdown, cutting the Detroit deficit to 10-7.

Chicago had a strong answer to this though, as they went 78 yards in eight plays and scored their second touchdown of the game, this time on an 11 yard run from running back Jordan Howard.

The Lions were able to score touchdowns on both of their last two possessions before the half though. Matthew Stafford found receiver Marvin Jones for a 28 yard touchdown pass, then running back Ameer Abdullah for a two yard touchdown right before the half.

Score: Lions Lead 21-17

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3rd Quarter

The third quarter of this game was entirely forgettable, as every possession ended in a punt. Each team booted the ball away three times with the Lions offense only netting 49 yards in this quarter while the Bears had 39.

Score: Lions Lead 21-17

4th Quarter

The Lions were able to bust out of their offensive funk and put together a lengthy 12 play drive that resulted in a 27 yard field goal to start the fourth quarter. This score put them up by seven, 24-17.

However, the Bears were not going down without a fight and they scored on a long possession of their own. A strong running game headed their eight play, 78 yard ensuing possession and rookie running back Tarik Cohen scored on a 15 yard run to tie the game midway through the fourth quarter.

Now, tied most of the way through the fourth quarter, the game rested on the shoulders of Matthew Stafford. He led the Lions into field goal range and with 1:35 left, kicker Matt Prater made a 52 yard field goal to put the Lions up by three points.

Then it was Trubisky’s turn to answer. He got the Bears offense into field goal range with eight seconds left but Chicago kicker Connor Barth missed a 46 yard field goal attempt wide right.

Score: Lions Win 27-24

Key Stats

Chicago rushed for 222 yard at 7.4 yards per rush

This was the second week in a row that the Lions defense allowed over 200 rushing yards. In the last two games, they have allowed 423 rushing yards at 6.7 yards per carry. Both the defensive line and linebackers need to improve if the Lions want any shot at making the playoffs.

Detroit ran for just 65 yards at 2.7 yards per carry

The running game continued to be a struggle for the Lions on Sunday. They are now the 28th ranked rushing offense in the NFL and average just 80.8 yards per game. This also needs to improve for Detroit to truly compete this year.

Matthew Stafford was sacked three times

Despite the return of Taylor Decker, the Lions offensive line still struggled to protect Matthew Stafford. He was sacked another three times on Sunday and has now been sacked 33 times on the season, on pace for 53 and the third most in the NFL.

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Matt Prater was 2/2 on field goals, Connor Barth was 1/2

In this three point game, field goals ended up being the difference. Prater was able to make the kicks when he needed to (as he usually does) and Barth was not.

The Lions out-passed the Bears 287 to 176 yards

The Lions passing offense had a very good day on Sunday and it was contrasted by a not so good Bears passing attack. Against a good Chicago defense, Detroit was able to put together several scoring possessions with almost all passing plays. On the other side of the ball, the Lions secondary was able to keep Mitchell Trubisky in check, for the most part.

Detroit scored another defensive touchdown

The Lion defense scored a touchdown on a fumble recovery for the second week in a row, and now lead the NFL in non-offensive touchdowns. They have scored seven such touchdowns, five on defense and two on punt returns.

Positives

The passing game is hot right now

Right now, the Lions passing attack is one of the best in the NFL. In the four games since the bye week, Matthew Stafford has thrown for 1,332 yards, seven touchdowns and one interception at a completion percentage of 67.4% and 9.86 yards per passing attempt. This is on pace for 5,328 yards, 28 touchdowns, 4 interceptions and a quarterback rating of 139.81 when projected over the course of a full 16 game season.

It’s not just Stafford though, the pass catchers on this team are doing a very good job right now too. Since the bye, Golden Tate has averaged seven catches for 82 yards per game with a touchdown, Marvin Jones five catches for 85.5 yards with three total touchdowns.

TJ Jones and Kenny Golladay have both been solid receivers as well, Jones averaging 43.5 yards per game since the bye and Golladay with a catch of more than 40 yards in each of the last two games.

Theo Riddick is averaging just over 25 receiving yards per game in the last four. Even Eric Ebron has looked good since the bye, averaging three catches for 45.25 yards per game with a touchdown in the last four weeks.

Right now, this passing offense is firing on all cylinders. Matthew Stafford looks really sharp and he has as many good targets to throw to as he ever has in his career. If the passing attack keeps playing at this level, Detroit will likely find themselves in the playoffs this year.

On this 3rd and 15 conversion, Matthew Stafford did a fantastic job of hanging in the pocket near is own goal line long enough for TJ Jones to get open on the sideline. Stafford took a shot but still managed to fire a pin point accurate pass in between the Bears zone coverage. Jones did a good job of securing the catch and the Lions got a first down.

This 40 yard pass to Kenny Golladay displayed excellent play design from Jim Bob Cooter. Stafford first fakes the hand off to Ameer Abdullah, then the reverse to rookie Jamal Agnew. Meanwhile, Kenny Golladay was streaking across the field and getting behind Chicago’s shallow man coverage. Golladay was able to make the catch after Stafford zipped the football over the head of the Bears linebackers and Detroit enjoyed a big gain.

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On Marvin Jones’ 28 yard touchdown, he ran a fantastic stutter and go route. He completely faked out the Bears cornerback with a juke move and came wide open deep. Stafford was able to buy just a little bit of time with the designed roll out and delivered a downfield touchdown strike for the first Lions offensive points of the game.

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Matt Prater is the best kicker in the NFL

Matt Prater made yet another game winning field for the Lions on Sunday. On the torn up grass and in the wind, Prater had no problem booting a 52 yard field goal right through the uprights, despite reports of him struggling with 45 yarders in pre game. Having a kicker as good as Prater has proven to be invaluable time and time again and there’s no other kicker in the NFL that I would rather have.

Negatives

The run defense 

The Lions run defense has been abysmal for two games in a row now. The defensive line is entirely unable to get penetration, while the linebackers over pursue plays or outright whiff on tackles. Just two weeks ago, the Lions had a top ten run defense statistically. Now, they are the 19th run defense in the NFL.

The only bright side here is that the Lions have been without Ziggy Ansah for the last two games, and should get him back eventually. It is now abundantly clear that he is the best player at defending the run on the Lions front seven, so hopefully this area of the defense will improve with his return.

On this 50 yard Jordan Howard run, the Lions defense gets absolutely embarrassed by the Chicago offensive line. Detroit’s defensive line gets pushed back about three yards down the field as the Bear offensive line moved the line of scrimmage, opening up a massive running lane for Howard. Howard was easily able to get through the hole and picked up a huge gain.

On Jordan Howard’s touchdown run, Detroit’s front seven was similarly embarrassed. Again, the Bears offensive line pushed several Lions defenders down the field.  All Howard had to do was follow his blockers into the end zone for an easy Chicago touchdown. Detroit’s front seven has just been completely out-muscled like this for two games in a row now.

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The offensive line has not been a lot better, even with the return of Taylor Decker

As I mentioned before, the Lions offense has continued to struggle mightily with running the football and allowed a lot of pressure on Matthew Stafford, in spite of the success of the passing game since the bye week.

There is also hope here though. This was only Taylor Decker’s second game of the season and the first game of the season where all five starters played together. As time goes on, the offensive line should theoretically only get better as they develop chemistry with each other. I have confidence that the offensive line can keep getting better each week if everybody stays healthy.

Player Of The Game

Matt Prater is the Lions player of the game for this week. He made both of his field attempts, including a 52 yarder and all three of his extra points. He continued to be a fantastic weapon for the Lions and scored the game winning points on a long field goal in the wind.

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Prater is now 21 of 24 for the year on field goal attempts, including six made from 50 or more yards. He has proven himself to be one of the best kickers in the NFL and will continue to be a huge part of this Lions team going forward.

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