Chicago Blues

Well, at least one Detroit team had success against Chicago today. The Tigers were able to force a playoff with the surging Twins and hopefully can yet secure a playoff spot. The Lions? Not so much.

The game started out well enough, with a handful of Chicago penalties keeping a Detroit drive alive long enough to let Kevin Smith burst into the end zone. The Lions were even able to score another touchdown on their second drive, with Matthew Stafford hitting tight end Will Heller on a 14 yard reception in the end zone. However, the Bears were able to answer back and even take a 21-14 lead near the end of the first half. The Lions tied the game at the end of the half with an excellent 98 yard drive that ended in another Kevin Smith touchdown run.

Then, the wheels fell off.

Trouble started early as Johnny Knox, the rookie wide receiver substituting for the always dangerous but injured Devin Hester, returned the opening kickoff of the second half for a touchdown. What sealed the game, though, was the near complete collapse of the Detroit offensive effort.

The Lions possessions in the second half went: 3 and out; 3 and out; fumble; 3 and out; field goal; turnover on downs; end of regulation.

The Detroit special teams efforts were woeful, failing to provide any spark in the return game but giving Chicago excellent field position throughout the contest. Add to that a Stafford interception and a fumble deep in Chicago territory, and it all adds up to a 48-24 blowout after being outscored 27-3 in the second half.

Oy.

Even though the Bears hit us for 48 points, I did not think our defense played that poorly. They were put in horrible situations time and time again and still managed to get some stops.

We knew that Chicago was going to score points. We knew it was a longshot to pull out a win. Even with that, though, it really seemed like Detroit was competing in the first half. What happened?

That is the question that the Lions coaching staff must answer as the season progresses. Aside from the New Orleans game which was all but over by the second half, the Lions have not trailed at halftime this year. Conversely, the Lions have been outscored 78-29 in the second half. Ouch!

Are other teams making better adjustments? Are Detroit’s players getting worn down more than other teams? Are the Lions getting sloppier later in games? Are Detroit’s relatively young players less able to learn as the game goes on?

I don’t have the answer. For goodness sake I hope Detroit’s coaches do.


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