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Bears Overwhelm Lions In Second Half En Route To 48-24 Victory

Bears vs. Lions:

This NFC North showdown would feature the Bears, who were coming off 2 solid wins against the Steelers and the Seahawks against the Lions who finally managed their first win in over a season last week against the Redskins. The questions comings into this game would be would the Bears’ defense continue to rise to the occasion despite several injuries and would the Lions suffer an emotional letdown following an emotional victory.

The Lions would open the game with rookie Matt Stafford completing a 54-yard pass to Calvin Johnson. This would be the first play over 25 yards for Detroit in over 170 possessions. The Chicago Bears would hold off the Lions initially but 2 key penalties would enable Detroit to punch the ball in the end zone and take an early 7-0 lead. On the Bears’ first possession, Matt Forte would rush for 61 yards on the Bears’ second play from scrimmage after totaling only 66 for the entire game last week against Seattle. The Bears would then answer with a score of their own as Cutler scrambled left and dove into the end zone over two Lion defenders to tie the score at 7.

Not phased by the Bears quick strike the Lions would again move the ball on their following drive, converting on 3rd and 10 on two separate instances and Stafford would conclude the 10 play, 72 yard drive with a touchdown pass to tight-end Wayne Heller to give the Lions a 14-7 lead. At this point in the game, the Lions were moving the ball with relative ease due to the Bears selecting to blitz leaving their secondary in man coverage. After failing to score on their next drive, the Bears would stop the Lions on their next three drives and would score 14 unanswered points as Cutler would connect with the tight Kellen Davis to tie the score at 14 and would hit Olson for 1-yard touchdown pass for a 21-14 lead with just under 11:00 remaining in the second quarter. The Bears had an opportunity to go up by two scores and all but put the Lions away with minutes to go in the first half but the Lions would stop the Bears and force them to punt. As irony would have it, despite starting from their own two yard line, the Lions would manage to move the ball up the field and Kevin smith would punctuate the long drive with a one-yard run to tie the score at 21 and swinging the momentum into the Lions’ favor and the score would be tied going into halftime. The Lions would dominate the time of possession at a ratio of almost 2 to 1 as the Bears managed to hold onto the ball for 10:57.

The second half would be a completely different story for Chicago. The Bears would open with Johnny Knox returning a kickoff for 102 yards to give the Bears the lead at 28-21, one they would never relinquish. Beside the kickoff return, neither team accomplished much in the third quarter as the Bears managed a little over 20 yards while the Lions had a total of only eight negative yards. The Bears would take advantage of good field position and tack on two more field goals to take a 34-21 lead into the final period. Unfortunately for the Detroit Lions, they wouldn’t fare much better in the 4th quarter either as Matt Forte would put the game out of reach with a 37-yard touchdown run to give the Chicago Bears some breathing room at 41-24 with over six minutes remaining in the game. The Detroit Lions futility on offense would continue in the final period and the Chicago Bears would put the boys from Motown out of their misery as Garrett Wolfe ran in for a two-yard touchdown, providing the final points of the day, and giving the Chicago Bears a 48-24 victory.

The Good:
The Chicago Bears finally managed to score points in the first quarter after failing to do so in the previous three games. While the defense did initially yield big plays in the first half, the unit stepped up big time in the second half. The defense would record five sacks on the day along with a couple of turnovers giving the Chicago Bears 178 takeaways since 2004, the most in the league during that span. In addition to that, the defense only allowed 3 points in the second half. The Bears running game finally showed up as Matt Forte rushed for 121 yards on 12 carries but 98 of them came on the 61-yard run in the first quarter, and on his 37 touchdown run in the 4th. However, 121 yards is a far cry from the 66 he totaled last week so here’s to hoping the run production will continue to increase. The offensive line played much better this week and did a decent job of picking up the Lions’ blitzes for the most part. Let’s not forget about the special teams unit as Chicago racked up over 200 yards and began several drives in the second half in Detroit territory.

The Bad:
The Bears’ number one receiver, Devin Hester, left the game due to a shoulder injury and did not return. No word has been given on the extent of the injury. This next point may be minor but the Chicago Bears failed to capitalize on several drives in the second half despite starting from near midfield. You have to punish teams consistently when they give you a short field. While the margin of victory was decisive, the final margin should have probably been greater than 24.

Key Players Of The Game:
One of the key players in the Chicago Bears’ victory would have to be Johnny Knox. Knox caught five balls for 31 yards and had the game-turning play when he returned a kickoff for 102 yards to open the second half as the Lions were never able to recover after that. The defense again played huge this week in the second half holding the Lions to only three points after Detroit had opened the game scoring three touchdowns on their first six possessions.

The Chicago Bears finish off the first quarter of the season at 3-1 heading into their off week. If the past is an indicator of the present, the Chicago Bears may be heading to the playoffs this season. The last two times the Bears started a season at 3-1 (2001 and 2006), they went to the post-season. Before we go that far though, let’s hope they can continue to make adjustments during their week off and that Hillenmeyer and Hester will be ready to go against the Falcons in two weeks.

James Tillman


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