Drive-By-Drive Breakdown of Bears' 37-23 Win Over Lions

Here is a drive-by-drive look at how the Bears beat the Lions by a score of 37-23 on Sunday.

1st Quarter

  • The Bears started the game off with a very promising drive that didn't see a single third down until the very end.  The Lions managed to get a stop at that point, forcing an incompletion on 3rd and 6.  Chicago ended up with a 44-yard field goal, but that was a good thing considering the Bears looked like they were well on their way to a touchdown.
  • The Lions' first drive did not go well, to say the least.  After a 5-yard run by Maurice Morris and an incompletion, Daunte Culpepper threw the ball downfield and was intercepted.  There wasn't a Lions receiver in sight because Calvin Johnson and Culpepper weren't on the same page.  Check that, actually I don't think they were even in the same book, let alone the same page.  Calvin ran a curl route and Culpepper expected him to run downfield, leading to the easy interception for Chicago.
  • Detroit's defense came up big and forced a three and out, leading to a punt.  They definitely bailed out the offense, which picked up one first down before having to punt on the Lions' next drive.
  • Chicago went three and out again and the Lions ended up with great field position as a result, starting at the Bears' 48-yard line.  Detroit appeared to get the drive off to a great start with a 14-yard pass to Jake Nordin, but a holding call on Jeff Backus negated the play.  The Lions made up the ground with a 23-yard pass to Calvin Johnson before the drive stalled.  Jason Hanson made a 42-yard field goal to tie things up.

2nd Quarter

  • Chicago started its next drive close to midfield thanks to a 44-yard kick return by Devin HesterGreg Olsen then moved Chicago downfield first on a short third-down conversion and then on a 34-yard pass.  Similar to the Bears' first scoring drive, it stalled after a promising start and Robbie Gould kicked a field goal to put Chicago back on top.
  • The Lions' next drive started with a focus on the ground game.  Maurice Morris ran for 4 yards and then Aaron Brown went for 13 and 4 yards on a pair of end-arounds.  Calvin Johnson was flagged for a false start before the next play, and the drive came to an ugly end after that.  Nick Harris' punt went into the end zone for a touchback.
  • Once again the Lions' defense stepped it up and forced a three and out, and they nearly caused a turnover.  Cliff Avril blew by the Bears' right tackle and knocked the ball out of Jay Cutler's hand, but Greg Olsen fell on it to give Chicago the chance to punt the ball away.
  • Detroit had excellent field position to start its next drive and moved the ball down the field initially on an 11-yard run by Maurice Morris.  Daunte Culpepper then moved the chains on 3rd and 1 via a quarterback sneak.  On the following play, Jerome Felton got the ball on a pass and ran for a gain of 13 yards.  Morris ran for no gain on the next play and Bryant Johnson went for 6 on second down, making it 3rd and 4.  Culpepper found Johnson again on third down, this time in the end zone for a 12-yard touchdown.  This was Culpepper's first touchdown with the Lions since the Steelers game, and it gave Detroit a 10-6 lead late in the half.
  • The Lions' defense just had to hold Chicago for around three minutes, but Jay Cutler led the Bears down the field with relative ease.  That allowed him to find Greg Olsen in the end zone for a 7-yard touchdown with 11 seconds left in the half, giving Chicago a 13-10 lead.  It was a definite letdown to end the half that way, but then again, at least the Lions were in it after 30 minutes of play.

3rd Quarter

  • The dreaded second half meltdown looked like it was going to happen after how the Lions' first drive played out.  Detroit had 4th and 8 on its 38 and rather than just punt the ball away, the snap went to Kalvin Pearson instead.  He tried to run to the left side but had absolutely nowhere to go and fumbled the ball after only a gain of 1 yard.  DeAndre Levy recovered the fumble, but Chicago got the ball since the fake punt was nowhere near close to working.
  • Taking advantage of the excellent field position, the Bears went down the field in 7 plays and scored on a 9-yard pass to Devin Aromashodu.  Chicago now led 20-10.
  • The Lions and Bears both went three and out on their next drives, but the Lions' offense got things going enough to pick up a field goal when it got the ball back.  Jason Hanson nailed the kick from 48 yards out to make it a 7-point game.

4th Quarter

  • Chicago couldn't pick up a first down after moving the chains once, and Detroit started its next drive around its 42-yard line.  The Lions quickly moved into Bears territory with an 18-yard pass to Calvin Johnson.  The drive looked like it was going to come to a disappointing end after a false start turned 3rd and 1 into 3rd and 6 and Culpepper tripped and fell down on a scramble 3 yards short of the first down, but he found Calvin for a gain of 12 to move the chains on fourth down.  After that Bryant Johnson made a catch for a gain of 12, and following an Aaron Brown run for 4, Calvin caught a 5-yard fade pass for a touchdown to tie the game at 20.
  • The Bears answered back with a 48-yard pass to Devin Hester on 3rd and 5 and followed that up with a 31-yard pass to Greg Olsen.  That set up a 1-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Desmond Clark two plays later.  It was a perfectly executed play-action, leaving Clark all by himself for the go-ahead touchdown.
  • The Lions looked like they were poised to tie the game back up, quickly moving down the field through the air.  Maurice Morris picked up 8 on a catch.  Jerome Felton was wide open and gained 24.  Then Aaron Brown went for 17 on a reception.  That put the Lions at the 14-yard line, but three incompletions later and Detroit had to settle for a field goal.  The 32-yard kick was good, making this a 4-point game with 4:38 to play.  To put it simply, the defense needed to make a stop.
  • Unfortunately Chicago had other ideas.  Matt Forte broke free for a 53-yard gain on the second play of the drive to move the Bears down to the Detroit 17.  Three plays later Cutler found Devin Aromashodu again for a touchdown, giving Chicago a 34-23 lead with only 2:57 to play.
  • Any hope of a comeback went out the window when Derrick Williams fumbled the ball away to the Bears on the proceeding kickoff.  The turnover led to a Bears field goal and gave Detroit only 1:09 to erase the 13-point deficit. 
  • A 53-yard kick return by Aaron Brown gave the Lions a small glimmer of hope, but the clock ran out after Detroit got down to the 2-yard line, ending the game and ending what can only be described as a disappointing season.  Chicago won 37-23, giving the Lions a 2-14 record for Jim Schwartz's first year at the helm.

As I was going through this game, it really seemed like the Lions' defense played quite well at times but just couldn't stop the explosion plays.  That is the biggest thing that needs to be fixed with the defense going forward in my mind.  The defense seems serviceable at times, but then it gives up a big play that is just a back breaker for the team.  Specifically the pass defense and defensive line need to be improved, but in general if the Lions can just cut down the number of explosion plays they allow, this could be a decent defense.

For the offense, it's tough to even evaluate it without Matthew Stafford.  I will admit, Daunte Culpepper looked serviceable for much of the game yesterday, but if he's on my team, I only want to see him in clean up duty after the game is out of hand.  Then again, that's really irrelevant, because in all likelihood yesterday was the last time Culpepper will be wearing a Lions jersey unless he goes out and buys one.  All I can say is I welcome the return of the injured players on offense, and if Detroit can add a few talented players from the draft or via free agency it could be a very explosive unit in 2010.

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