What We Learned From The Chicago Bears’ Week 10 Loss To The Detroit Lions
The Chicago Bears fell to 5-4 after a tough loss to the Detroit Lions. The Bears kept it close to the very end, but the Lions were able to come out on top. Both teams had a lot of mistakes, and a lot this game was both teams beating themselves. Each team gave the other numerous opportunities to win the game, at it was the Lions who pulled it off. It was a bit of a sloppy game by both teams, and both have a lot of mistakes to learn from. Here’s what we learned from the Bears’ loss to the Lions.
Jay Cutler is clearly not fully healthy
From the start, Cutler did not look 100-percent. He lacked the same mobility he has had all season, and he stayed in Shotgun for the majority of his snaps so he didn’t have to drop back. In fact, the Bears first non-shotgun play came just before the two-minute warning in the first half. He looked strong in that first half, but, after halftime, he was clearly having more issues, between his sore groin and a new hand injury. Cutler looked like he was in pain after every play. He was inaccurate a lot, but he still found a way to make plays and was not completely useless. When McCown came in, it was reported that Cutler had added an ankle injury to his already banged up body, and it certainly seemed like they rushed Cutler back into action a little bit too quickly.
Corey Wootton has kept the Bears’ defensive line from becoming inept.
Corey Wootton has been one of the few bright spots on the Bears’ banged-up defensive line this season. He did not register a single tackle in this game, but his impact could not be measured with statistics, although he had one pass deflection. Wootton pressured Stafford numerous times and forced him into a number of poor throws. In the run game too, the push the Wootton generated re-directed both Lions’ runningbacks and kept them from breaking off even longer runs. He knows he is in a contract year, and his performances thus far have earned him some big bucks this offseason. On a line that has been decimated with injuries, Wootton has found away to play at a very high level with very little help next to him.
The run blocking has to be better for Matt Forte
Matt Forte has made some spectacular runs this season, but he can’t do it by himself. On most runs, he works extremely hard to get only three or four yards. On one play in particular, he had to juke a lineman in the backfield, before stiff-arming a linebacker at the line of scrimmage and escaping a cornerback, all before being brought down by another defensive back for a two-yard gain. At some point, the offensive line has to be held accountable for their struggles. He finished with 17 carries for 33 yards, only 1.9 yards per carry. His longest run was only seven yards, although he had a nice touchdown run that was called back for holding by one of his blockers. A lot of credit should be given to the Lions’ defense for keeping him contained, but it is up to the offensive line to give Forte some holes to run through.
The Bears found the formula for stopping the Lions, but they could not execute
The way to beat the Lions is this: stop Reggie Bush and Joique Bell from breaking off big runs, and force Matt Stafford into making mistakes. They are still going to score a fair number of points, but a decent performance by the opposing offense can beat them. The problem the Bears faced at times was capitalizing on the Lions mistakes. Major Wright dropped an interception in the first half, and when their defense would make a key stop, the offense was not able to take advantage of it on the following drive. In the fourth quarter, the Lions missed a field goal, but the Bears went three and out following it. Chris Conte, though, was able to take advantage, making a key interception in the fourth quarter that allowed the Bears to get a field goal to put them within one. Then, again, at the end of the game, the Bears scored a touchdown and had two opportunities for a two-point conversion and could not make it either time. It is missed opportunities that lost the Bears the game.
Marc Trestman is not perfect
After a brilliant game last week against the Green Bay Packers, Marc Trestman had a number of questionable calls and decisions in this game. Last week, he was heralded for his gutsy fourth-down conversion in the fourth quarter. This week, about four minutes into the second quarter, Trestman was faced with another fourth-down decision. With the game tied at 7-7, on the Lions’ 27-yard line, the Bears went for it on 4th and 1, and they did not convert. Hindsight is 20-20, but even at the time it was the wrong decision. With Cutler not 100-percent healthy in a game where neither team looked much better than the other, the team should have taken the points. That three points would have been the difference in the game.
The other big decision that many Bears fans will question is leaving Cutler in the game until the two-minute warning. As soon as the second-half started, it was obvious that Cutler was not good to go. As previously mentioned, Jay was not completely horrible, but many people were calling for McCown to enter the game much earlier. No one knows for sure if he would have made enough of a difference to change the outcome of the game, but Trestman will still be judged off of it regardless. The playcalls for the two-point conversion at the end of the game were also controversial, especially the run play on the second attempt. The Bears had struggled to run the ball all game, and fans and experts alike questioned the decision to hand the ball off.