Shepkowski: The Good, Bad and Ugly of Bears-Lions
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By Nick Shepkowski-
(WSCR) The final score reads 24-13, but it might as well have been 240-13. As poor as the Lions played, nobody in the Chicagoland thought the Bears had a snowball’s chance in pulling that one out after the Lions went up 21-10. The offensive line was outmatched, and almost the entire defense failed to show up Monday night. From there, the rest just fell into place.
Jay Cutler: He’s been given credit for gutting through games where he’s been beat up pretty badly. Not only was he beat up because of terrible blocking up front, but when he was able to escape, he made plenty of plays. For a guy who was constantly being pressured to throw 28-of-38 for 249 yards, is nothing short of impressive. A 99.6 QB rating speaks for itself — he gets my game ball.
Matt Forte: A key third down drop was really his only blemish after another strong showing. At 5.3 yards per carry, he totaled 151 yards from scrimmage. Forte is going to get paid at the end of the season — barring a major injury — and has been the best player on the Bears offense all year.
Robbie Gould: Nails 44- and 49-yard field goals and every kickoff was a touchback. Solid outing.
Tim Jennings: After a slow start, we saw Jennings play one of his better games. He was targeted early on which concerned me early but No. 26 was able to fight through it and make some key tackles throughout the night. He also had the fortune of not having to deal with Calvin Johnson anywhere near as often as Charles Tillman did.
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Brian Urlacher: Sure, he was wrongfully called for leading with his head, but Urlacher was out of position when Matt Stafford looked to tight ends all night. As good as he looked early in the season, the Lions game plan worked partially because Urlacher was often out of position, specifically on Brandon Pettigrew’s touchdown reception.
Julius Peppers: He faced many double teams tonight, but even in the running game, he was losing contain regularly, allowing Jahvid Best to spring long runs. I’m aware that he was hurt in the first half, but he hasn’t been playing particularly well lately.
Kellen Davis: I get sick of watching him get rewarded with touchdown receptions after how brain dead he appears sometimes. False starts and missed blocks galore. There is no way possible that his blocking is any worse than Greg Olsen ever was at it.
Chris Harris: As ugly of game as I can remember by Chris Harris in a Bears uniform. Was beat badly on Calvin Johnson’s long touchdown reception, whiffed on tackles against the run early and often. Perhaps his hamstring wasn’t as healthy as we may have thought, but that was a very poor showing by No. 46.
Frank Omiyale: The only way he wasn’t beaten tonight was when he false started. Lance Louis moving over and replacing him in the fourth quarter was the right move, unfortunately far too late to matter.
Defensive Tackles: Remember when this was a strength because of the depth at the position? Seems like Week 1 was forever ago. Blown off the ball which didn’t help in slowing down Jahvid Best’s night, but only getting three hits on Matt Stafford all evening is as much on them as anyone else as well. Been the story of the year.
Devin Hester: Terrible drop that would have been a touchdown early on, instead the drop led to a field goal attempt by Gould. Hester also had a terrible mistake of fielding a kickoff and running out of bounds at his own 7-yard line. Finally, after a nice return on the final kickoff of the game, Hester was able to lower a shoulder on Lions kicker Jason Hanson, then turned and smack-talked him while trailing 24-13 late. Shut up and get back to your own sideline. Oh, and I forgot to mention how many times he had problems lining up.
Brandon Meriweather: Bad pursuit angles and dumb, unnecessary roughness penalties. Anyone else seeing why the Patriots had no interest in keeping him around yet?
Lovie Smith – Terrible decisions all over the field by Lovie Smith in Detroit. It starts with his decision to go for it on fourth-and-one at the Lions 26 in the first quarter instead of taking the field goal attempt and likely adding three points for the early lead. Terrible enough of call, only to outdo himself by challenging the play that wasn’t even close to a first down. Brutal series for Lovie there. Don’t place all the blame on play calling/timeouts on Mike Martz, either. Its up to the head coach to get those issues fixed and he’s failed to do so after nearly a year and a half in this offensive system.
With the Bears at 2-3, Green Bay and Detroit both sit at 5-0. Guess what, folks: The Bears aren’t winning the NFC North this year unless aliens abduct both the Packers and Lions entire rosters.
For really the first time for me, the Bears defensive looks slow and old. As good as Julius Peppers was a year ago he has been rendered useless the last two weeks, while Brian Urlacher had a rough outing tonight. Granted, Urlacher got no help front the front four, but the Bears defense has been exploited and its current makeup isn’t going to bring success in the Cover-2 that they use so much. The sad thing is if Matthew Stafford makes two throws that he failed to, the game is well in hand, long before it eventually was for Detroit.
The offensive line was brutal and the wide receievers are as bad of unit as you’ll find in the league. Through five weeks, Jay Cutler has been nowhere close to special and much falls on him, but you have to also notice the extreme lack of talent around him on offense sans Matt Forte.
Reality bites and a major taste of it is what the Bears and their fans received from the Detroit Lions in front of the national spotlight on Monday night.
Follow Nick Shepkowski on Twitter (@Shep670).