The Detroit Lions were looking for some redemption in week 2 of the 2006 NFL season as they disappointingly fell short of scoring the upset over the defending NFC champions during the kickoff weekend. For that redemption to happen, Detroit would need to successfully pull of a different kind of upset. This upset would have to come against the NFC North rival Chicago Bears.
To open the season, the Bears looked like a great team. They demolished the Green Bay Packers, and didn't even show a single flaw on defense en route to a shutout. Detroit's defense also looked good in their first game, but unlike Chicago, had an offense that was M.I.A. Couple that with the fact that Roy Williams' outlandish guarantee just fueled a fire already out of control, and you have a recipe for disaster.
On a day that Lions fans may not have been confident that their team would get a win, but more hopeful than anything, quickly that little gleam was diminished by a strong Chicago Bears showing. Things got out of hand before most even knew what happened, and because of that, the Lions found themselves on the losing end of a blowout. As the Lions lost 34-7, things felt eerily similar to the last few years of bad play.
To start off the game, the Lions defense came out strong as they stopped Chicago and forced a punt. Unfortunately for the defense, Jon Kitna and the offense negated that with a turnover that really set the tempo for this game. While dropping back to pass, Kitna was feeling some heavy pressure, and when he tried to get the throw off, he was met by the Bears' Tank Williams. Williams jarred the ball loose and then Brian Urlacher jumped on it for the recovery on the 3 yard line. Just two plays later, Rex Grossman would toss his first touchdown pass of the day.
Moving on to the 2nd quarter, Chicago controlled a 10-0 lead, and my hope that Detroit could pull off the victory wasn't completely gone just yet. It wouldn't take long for that to change. Less than a minute within starting the 2nd quarter, Rex Grossman found Bernard Berrian from 41 yards out on what was a really great catch. 17-0 Bears lead. Maybe the game isn't out of reach for Detroit 100%.
Rex Grossman wouldn't be done throwing touchdown passes in the 2nd quarter yet. Near the end of the half, he hooked up with tight end Desmond Clark from 31 yards out to push the lead up to 24 points.
From that point, I knew there was no point in hoping for a comeback victory. Every time there was something to cheer about, a penalty would just take it away. In fact, 14 times throughout the game the Lions had a penalty called on them. And that's only taking into account the times where Chicago accepted the penalty, tack on a few declines and that number is near the low 20's. The biggest time where this sloppiness was showcased was when the Lions had an interception and took it back for a touchdown. At the time, it would've cut the lead down to 24-14 with plenty of time left in the game. But, due to a dumb "illegal hands to the face" penalty, the play was called back, and Chicago eventually scored a touchdown later on the drive.
After all was said and done, the Lions lost 34-7, which is a big disappointment when playing a rival team from your own division. I had predicted earlier that the Lions would start the season 0-2, but I wouldn't have expected the outcomes that either game presented. I wouldn't have thought that Seattle only would finish on top 9-6, and then the same thing with Chicago, I didn't expect a total thrashing.
What's important for the Lions is to get a win this weekend. I'm not really thinking about winning the division or even the wild card at this point, there's just too many teams out there that are better than Detroit. In the NFC North, Chicago and Minnesota certainly have shown that. Really, I'm just hoping that the Lions can get to .500 by the end of the season, meaning that they finish 8-8. But, in order to do this, they cannot fall into an 0-3 hole as the schedule isn't going to get that much easier.
As stated, the Lions go home to Detroit next weekend, and will play host to another NFC North rival. This time, it will be against the Green Bay Packers, where Brett Favre and company will also be looking for a first win of the season. Can they do it? I'm more hopeful than the Bears game, but if they play the way they did in Chicago, than we may be talking about an 0-3 record.