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Lions vs. Bears Postgame

The Lions played a lot better than I expected with Drew Stanton at the helm, but again were not good enough to get the win.  The Lions moved the ball with ease against the Bears’ defense in the first half, and carried another lead into halftime.  The Lions were undone in the second half by a series of small breakdowns and helped by another putrid call by the refs.

The biggest sting in this loss was the glimpse at how good the Lions’ offense would be if they weren’t killed by major injuries.  Jahvid Best was explosive in the handful of plays he could gut out and Stanton’s inaccuracy cost the Lions chances at some big plays.  If Stanton and a limited Best ripped up the Bears’ self proclaimed awesome defense, imagine what a healthy Best and Stafford could do all season.

Turning Points: 

Stanton’s pass to Brandon Pettigrew on 3rd and short at the Bears’ 42 yard line just before the 2:00 minute warning.  The pass was high which gave the defensive back a chance to make a play on the ball and knock it out of Pettigrew’s grasp.  If the pass was inside Pettigrew’s frame, the DB can’t make a play without interfering.

Drew Stanton’s poor throw to Pettigrew on the tight end screen after the turnover to open the second half.  The Lions had a touchdown on the board if Stanton gets the ball to Pettigrew in stride.  Instead Pettigrew has to reach for it and can’t start his forward momentum until the Bears’ defense reacted.  Instead of a touchdown to open the second half, the Lions settled for a field goal and didn’t swing the momentum in their favor.

Alphonso Smith made a huge mistake in coverage on 3rd and four from the Lions’ 34 in the fourth quarter.  The Lions brought a blitz and Cutler had to get rid of the ball quickly.  Smith was covering Earl Bennett man to man on the outside.  Smith plays outside leverage, meaning he surrendered the middle of the field to Bennett.  That is the wrong technique in that situation because Cutler had to get rid of the ball quickly.  Smith took outside leverage which is what you want to do to defend a deep pass, but there was no way Cutler could hold the ball long enough for Bennett to go deep.  Plus Smith had help over the top, so if Cutler did throw deep he’d throw into coverage.  If Smith plays with inside leverage on that play it’s an incomplete pass or interception.  I blame his poor performance on Thanksgiving for that mistake because he was clearly paranoid about getting beaten deep.

Smith’s poor decision led to the big play of the game, the fake penalty on Suh for roughing Cutler.  The Lions seem to be prone to game changing bad calls against the Bears.  Cutler scrambles out of pressure and escapes the pocket to his right.  Suh pursues and gives Cutler a two handed shoved seven yards past the line of scrimmage.  The refs call a personal foul for a forearm to the head even though Suh clearly used two open palms in a shove.  It was a bad call, the announcers called it and even Mike Pereira indicated it was a judgement call rather than seeing what actually happened. 

That bad call was huge, but it never would have happened if Smith plays with proper leverage the play before and the Bears have to kick a field goal instead of getting a first down and eventually a TD.

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4 Responses to “Lions vs. Bears Postgame”

  1. Phil says:

    I haven’t rewatched the game tape yet, but breaking down the Alphonso Smith play, you say he’s in man-to-man. A couple sentences later, though, you said Smith had help over the top. Just wondering if you could explain. Thanks!

  2. Phil-

    Alphonso Smith was in man to man coverage, but the safety (can’t remember if it was Delmas or Spievey) was playing a zone behind him. There’s an example of a caver one with man to man if you follow this link:

    Now I obviously don’t know the play call, but from all appearances, Smith and Houston were in man to man coverage and there was a safety behind Smith.

    They may have also been in a cover 2 with man to man underneath,r:0,s:0&tx=111&ty=64

    No matter the specific play call, the ball was going to come out quickly, so there was almost no chance of the throw going deep. Smith should have been ready to jump a short route because he had somebody guarding the deep route behind him.

    Hope this helps

  3. Suh Me says:

    Looks like the NFL didn’t think it was a bad call….hence the fine that just came down on Suh today.

    • The NFL frequently fines players that were penalized, then the players appeal it and the NFL never retracts the fine publicly.

      It’s a game they play to support the refs. Also, the head of the Competition Committee indicated it was a bad call on NFL Network last night.

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