Shepkowski: The Good, Bad and Ugly of Bears-Lions
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By Nick Shepkowski-
(WSCR) And just like that, the Bears get a redemption win versus the Lions and now sit at 6-3. With winnable games ahead, it’s not hard to imagine the Bears win as many as 11 or 12 games this year. Was it a truly great showing? Not by any means, as the offense had plenty of problems, but the Bears used their defense and special teams yet again under Lovie Smith to cruise to another division victory.
Devin Hester – Why were the Lions kicking to him in the first place? The Bears longest scoring drive of the game was just 37 yards and resulted in a field goal. Thanks to Devin Hester, the field position he helped swing,and his two long punt returns, that never wound up leading to problems for the Bears.
Bears Secondary – Pick-6’s by Major Wright and Charles Tillman on consecutive Matthew Stafford third-quarter throws stopped any hope the Lions had for a comeback. What shouldn’t go unnoticed is the lack of yards after the catch Lions receivers were getting. No big plays allowed by the Bears secondary, who was much to blame for the two long touchdowns in the first meeting with Detroit this year. Can’t say enough about the play of Charles Tillman in containing Calvin Johnson.
Julius Peppers – The Bears defensive tackles have been an issue all season, not generating pressure at times that this defense needs to succeed. It wasn’t only Peppers today, but he stood out the most as he looked more than capable playing on the inside. Also nice to see Anthony Adams end up with a sack of Matt Stafford as well.
Robbie Gould/Adam Podlesh – Kicking in the crazy winds of Soldier Field on Sunday didn’t look like fun, but Gould being himself (3-for-4 field goals) and Podlesh not being affected by the wind deserves recognition.
For More Bears Coverage:
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Shepkowski: Good, Bad and Ugly Of Bears-Lions
Hoge: Stafford’s Frustration Boils Over As Bears Dominate
Gallery: Bears 37, Lions 13
Offensive Line – I had to create a new category to get the offensive line mentioned for their efforts against the Lions. They deserve credit as a unit for a much better showing than their first meeting with the Lions this year, specifically in pass blocking. Run blocking was an entirely different story, though. Matt Forte didn’t have his best game (he’ll get mentioned later) but its not like holes were readily there. Lance Louis, who has had a great run of late, looked overmatched pretty often against Cliff Avril.
Offense – It’ll go unnoticed because of the 21 points the defense was able to put up, but it wasn’t a particularly good day for anyone on offense. 3.1 yards per carry and 5.1 yards per pass are nothing to be happy about, but then again, the defense this team relies so heavily on made those stats irrelevant. Doesn’t let anyone have a pass though, a poor game is still a poor game.
Jay Cutler – He’ll get a pass this week as the Bears still rolled to victory, but Jay completed just 9-of-20 pass attempts and finished with a QB Rating of just 68.5. Cutler was protected much better (still not great) than in the first meeting with Detroit, but missed throws were still seen too often. Missing a wide open Kelen Davis on third down on the opening drive of the second half sticks out the most, but there were others.
Matt Forte – 18 carries for 64 yards. Take out his 40 yard gain (I know, Dave Wannstedt thought process there) and that’s 24 yards on 17 carries. It’s against as good of a defensive line as the Bears will see all year, but it still was a pretty poor showing considering the amount of long runs the Lions have given up all season.
Matt Stafford – Holy smokes. I thought he was a bit over-loved coming out of Georgia, but he looked flat out horrendous. Credit is due to the Bears defense for that, but he didn’t make a play like good quarterbacks are supposed to do. Gloves or no gloves, it was an awful showing for Stafford.
4th Quarter Scrap – I understand how a fight like the one in this game happened — an established, successful team (the Bears) gets sick of hearing so much about a team who really hasn’t done a ton to deserve the praise (the Lions). D.J. Moore has a frustration block/shove/helmet grab taken out on him after Matthew Stafford’s third interception, and hell breaks loose. I get why Moore retaliated after watching the replay, but you have to be smarter than that as a player. The ejection was deserved.
The Bears improve to 6-3 on the season and continue to improve their chances to make the playoffs as a wild card team. Watching this game today made an honest question come across my mind today, though: Once in the playoffs, how are the Bears chances to make a run at the Super Bowl?
The NFC Championship will go through Green Bay, and I still feel the Bears aren’t on that level yet. But does a potential trip to San Francisco really scare you that much with how this team is playing right now?
There is a lot of football remaining, and perhaps I’m sipping the Kool-aid a bit much, but to think the Bears aren’t the best team in the NFC not from Green Bay or New Orleans isn’t an absurd thought.
Follow Nick Shepkowski on Twitter (@Shep670).