Isreal Idonije: According to ESPN Chicago some Bears players think Idonije tipped off the Lions to some of their d-line calls. Specifically, Reggie Bush burned them for long runs every time the Bears ran their “power” stunt. If this is true, it is kind of disappointing for a couple of reasons. I’m not naive enough to think teams don’t do this all the time, but the Bears gave Idonije a chance when no other team would and he had a productive 9-year career as a Bear. You would think that would result in some sort of loyalty, but I guess his hard feelings over being cut were more important. Bummer. Even more disappointing is that for this to be true, the Bears would have to be using the same d-line calls as they did last year under Rod Marinelli. How could that be possible? It seems awfully lazy and would mean at least Dallas (Marinelli is DC) also knows the Bears audible terminology. Fix this!
Breaks of the game: The Bears forced three fumbles and only recovered 1 of them. The Lions scored on both drives after recovering their own fumbles and the Stafford goal-line fumble may have been a game changer had it bounced into the hands of a Bear defender. Sometimes the ball bounces your way as it did in the Bears first 3 games (8 forced, 6 recovered) and sometimes it doesn’t. The Bears are bound to have bad luck occasionally over the course of 16 games and today they didn’t get the bounces.
Rookie O-line: The rookies on the Bears o-line (Mills/Long) weren’t going to go all season without giving up a sack or committing a penalty. It was just a matter of time and that time was Sunday as Kyle Long gave up a couple sacks to Ndamakung Suh and was called for an illegal use of the hands penalty. Considering the match-up (Suh), Long didn’t embarrass himself. Jay Cutler should get some of the blame for both of Suh’s sacks as Long held him up for a few seconds, but Cutler held on to the ball for longer than normal. No guard in the league can neutralize Suh for that long and I’m excited about seeing their rematch in Chicago week 10. The Bears other rookie linemen, Jordan Mills, didn’t fare nearly as well. Mills committed two penalties (false start, hold) and was beat repeatedly in the 4th quarter. In his defense, the Bears were forced into a passing only situation due to the score so the Lions DEs could just pin their ears back and go after Cutler. That is a tough situation for any tackle, but Mills was schooled by a couple of mediocre veteran DEs (Idonije, Young). Considering it was a road game in a hostile environment and the Lions have one of the most talented D-lines in the NFL, I am going to chalk this one up as a learning experience.
Major Wright & Chris Conte: Both missed multiple tackles on Reggie Bush in space. Bush is a good back and is going to force some misses, but the Bears safeties need to do a better job of tackling. I expected considerable improvement from both Conte (3rd year) and Wright (4th year) this season, but both have disappointed so far in 2013.
Mark Podlesh: It’s been a rare occurrence the last few years when I am not happy with the Bears special teams unit, but Sunday was one of them. Podlesh did the Bears no favors with his punts and one low 40-yard liner didn’t give the Bears coverage team time to get there (except rookie Michael Ford who missed the tackle) and resulted in a big return to the Bears 22 yard line and a quick 2nd half TD. Podlesh also had a 30 yarder that gave the Lions the ball at mid-field. Considering this game was in a dome, there is no excuse for Podlesh’s 40.2 yard average.
Third Downs: 1/13 on 3rd downs. That is pathetic and reflects directly on the Bears unimaginative play calling. Cutler had time on plenty of the 3rd down situations and ended up checking down to Forte or a safety-valve receiver on more than a few of them. Some of the ineffectiveness was due to the Lions D and some of it to lack of execution on the Bears part, but the play calling needs to put Cutler and the Bears offense in position to succeed and I don’t think it did that often enough on Sunday.