Nov 27, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (6) talks to Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) after the game at Ford Field. Detroit Lions defeated the Chicago Bears 34-17. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
The Chicago Bears were riding a modest two-game winning streak coming into their Week 13 matchup against the Lions. Meanwhile, the Lions were coming off a dismal 34-9 loss to the New England Patriots, and they were just 1-9 in their previous 10 games on Thanksgiving.
Early on, the Bears’ offense played well, jumping out to a 14-3 lead in the first quarter. However, the Bears were unable to sustain their momentum and produced just three points the rest of the way. In contrast, the Lions made adjustments, responding with 21 unanswered points in the second quarter en route to a convincing 34-17 victory.
With the loss, the Bears dropped to 5-7, and more importantly, we can put to rest any hopes we had of this team going to the playoffs. So without further delay, let’s take a quick look at Chicago’s postgame report card from this contest.
Passing Offense: C
Jay Cutler completed 31 of 48 passes for 280 yards to go along with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Tight end Martellus Bennett led all receivers with eight catches totaling 109 yards, and he was the only Bears player to record more than 75 receiving yards on the afternoon.
Alshon Jeffery caught seven passes for 71 yards with two of those receptions going for touchdowns. Brandon Marshall, who was hampered with an ankle injury, chipped in with six receptions totaling 42 yards. Most the yards accumulated by the offense came underneath and the longest play of the game was 26 yards.
Rushing Offense: F
The Bears have relied far too much on the passing game this season, and that trend continued against the Lions. In fact, Forte ran the ball five times for a total of six yards. No, that is not a misprint. One of the most versatile backs in the league, and the best offensive player on the roster, had just five carries.
In their previous games, the main reason why the Bears did not run the ball well was because they fell behind early. So what is the excuse for not utilizing the ground game when you’re leading by 11 points after the first quarter?
The answer to that question is there is no excuse. How bad was the ground game in this contest? Well, Forte had more receptions (six) than he had rushing attempts. That pretty much says it all.
Passing Defense: D-
The Bears’ defense kept the Lions in check early, but that proved to be more of an aberration instead of things to come. Matthew Stafford completed 34 of 45 passes for 390 yards and two touchdowns. In addition to that, Stafford completed passes to nine different receivers, and finished with a rating of 116.0, the fourth-highest mark of his career.
Calvin Johnson ran circles around Chicago’s secondary, hauling in 11 receptions for 146 yards, nine of which came in the first half. Golden Tate also had a big day, with eight receptions for 89 yards.
Rushing Defense: C-
The Lions did not run the ball well in the first half. But thanks to their ability to adjust after falling behind early, they were able to run the ball effectively in the second half. Joique Bell rushed for 91 yards on 23 carries to go along with a pair of touchdowns. The yards given up on the ground weren’t too bad except for the fact that the Bears’ defense was unable to make impact plays after dominating early on.
Special Teams: A
This unit had its best performance of the season. Not only did they not commit silly penalties, Punter Pat O’Donnell averaged 48 yards on six punts, including three inside the 20. Robbie Gould connected on his lone field goal attempt, marking the first time he’s made one in over a month.
On a positive note, the Bears got off to a quick start. But once again, they failed to respond once their opponent adjusted to what they were doing. What is also puzzling is the imbalance between the pass and the run. As previously stated, Cutler attempted 48 passes while Forte only had five carries. That being said, I’m not sure why this team continues to depend so heavily on the aerial game even when the strategy makes it easier for the opposing defense to tee off on our quarterback.