by Carlos Nazario
The Bears went into Detroit trying to see if this Detroit Lions team is truly as good as their record (4-0) indicated.
They found that not only were they for real but also that their home field advantage is something to behold. That crowd induced 9 false starts that repeatedly stalled drives and great efforts by Matt Forte and Jay Cutler in a 24-13 loss.
“We knew that coming in [it would be loud] and we cannot let that be an issue,” said center Roberto Garza. “We have to go out there and execute the plays no matter what kind of environment we’re in. We didn’t do that tonight, and that’s all on us on the offensive line.”
In addition to 5 of the 9 false starts being called on the offensive linemen, they also allowed 3 sacks, could not open a hole for Forte on a critical 4th and 1 in the red zone, and had Cutler again running for his life all game long.
Cutler’s feet bought him some time, enough to throw 28-38 for 249 yards and a touchdown. On many of those throws, he had a Lion barreling down on him.
Forte, once again, was a big chunk of the Bears offense. The Bears had 359 yards of total offense and Forte by himself accounted for 42.1% of them (116 rushing and 35 receiving).
The receivers again had a poor showing. There were 3 drops for a receiving corps that came into the game 3rd in the league in dropped passes. Devin Hester dropped a pass that would have resulted in a first down inside the 10 or a touchdown.
Where the Bears really failed, however, was on defense. This is a defense that is nowhere recognizable to the one that was a top 10 defense last year. For the fourth straight week, a Bears safety was burned badly. Matthew Stafford connected with Calvin Johnson on a 73 yards touchdown bomb in which Chris Harris was nowhere to be seen. Later, Harris missed a hole and Jhavid Best ran for an 88 yard touchdown.
Linebacker Brian Urlacher was not happy about his defense’s effort Monday night.
“We’re playing like [expletive], that’s what’s going on. We’re not playing good. We’re not disciplined. We’re not into our gaps. We’re not physical. I don’t know how many yards that kid (Best) had. He probably didn’t even have 10 carries.”
This is not a Chicago Bears defense its fans or the league is used to seeing. They do not normally allow one big play, yet on Monday night, and over the past four weeks they have allowed multiple big plays.
This loss put a big roadblock in the Bears’ chances of repeating as NFC North champions. They are now 3 games behind the Packers and Lions, and also have a loss to each so repeating looks like a long shot.
There is still time left to fix this season, though. Gabe Carimi will be back to help the offensive line and Earl Bennett should be back to help the receivers. Carimi will add some stability to the line, and hopefully send Frank Omiyale to the bench. Omiyale has been manhandled at the right tackle spot, and it is a wonder it took the Bears coaching staff until the 4th quarter on Monday to replace him. Bennett is a former roommate of Cutler’s at Vanderbilt and has been his favorite receiving target.
Keep in mind as well, the Bears, even at 2-3, are still only 1 game behind for the wild card. If the Bears can right the ship somewhat they still have a good shot at that wild card. Remember, the Green Bay Packers took the final wild card spot on the last game of the season and rode it all the way to a Super Bowl victory.
At this point, however, just making it to the end of the season without losing Cutler and Forte would be great.