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- 3 scores on 3 chances (2 touchdowns, 1 field goal)
For the first time since the Steelers game, a Daunte Culpepper-led Lions team scored more than just a field goal. Actually, the offense managed to get into the red zone three times this past Sunday, which is a big improvement over the recent trend of only one appearance a game. What's even better, the Lions converted two of their red zone trips into touchdowns, with both going to a receiver named Johnson.
The Lions were actually given a fourth red zone attempt because they got inside the 20 at the very end of the game, but only two plays were run before the clock ran out and the game ended. As a result, I didn't count it because of the situation. The Lions didn't really get a solid chance to do anything and it wasn't exactly a typical red zone appearance, though they did manage to get down to the 2-yard line.
- 6 scores on 6 chances (4 touchdowns, 2 field goals)
The Lions' defense really did not play very well in the red zone against Chicago. On four of the Bears' six red zone trips Chicago ended up with a touchdown. What's more, one attempt that resulted in a field goal was late in the game when Chicago was simply trying to run out the clock. They didn't need to go for the end zone at that point, so although the Lions made a stop, I have a hard time believing they would have if Jay Cutler was able to air it out.
For this game specifically, the offense outperformed the defense in the red zone. That has been a rare occurrence this season. Usually it is the offense that struggles by either not getting into the red zone enough or simply not scoring touchdowns inside the 20. On the other hand, the defense, for the most part, seemed to do pretty well this season in the red zone. Typically it felt like the defense would let teams get into the red zone way too often but make up for it by keeping them out of the end zone. In the latter part of the season that wasn't necessarily always the case, but earlier in the season it seemed like that was a strength for the defense.
I will further examine the Lions in the red zone sometime next week to take a full look back at the stats from the 2009 season.