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Lions Blow Lead, Lose to Bears 27-23

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Every week the Lions seem to find new ways to lose, and Sunday was no different.  The Lions put together a tremendous second quarter and got ahead of the Bears 23-13.  On top of that, Kyle Orton got knocked out of the game with an ankle injury.  With Rex Grossman having to come in for Chicago, it was natural to start thinking that this could be the Lions' chance to finally get a win. 

Just as the Lions always seem to do, they turned a great opportunity into disappointment and didn't score at all in the second half.  The Bears got into the end zone twice, which was good enough for them to win 27-23.  Despite having Grossman as their starting QB in the second half, Chicago did just enough to come out of this game victorious, dropping the Lions to 0-8 on the season.

1st Quarter

  • The Lions got the ball first and disaster appeared to have happened on only the third play of the game.  Dan Orlovsky was intercepted by Mike Brown, who returned the INT for a 51-yard touchdown.  Rod Marinelli challenged the play, and the touchdown was called back since Calvin Johnson contacted Brown when he fell to the ground.
  • The Bears moved the ball down the field on a 24-yard pass to Rashied Davis, but that's all they could really do.  Detroit held them to a Robbie Gould field goal from 36 yards out that gave the Bears an early 3-0 lead.
  • Following a three and out by the Lions, the Bears again moved the ball down the field and did find the end zone this time.  Kyle Orton dropped back to pass on 3rd and goal and actually ran into the end zone untouched for the score.  He only needed to run 5 yards, and once all Lions defenders were drawn to the right side of the field, it was an easy TD for Orton.
  • Now trailing 10-0, the Lions finally woke up and put together a scoring drive of their own.  Dan Orlovsky found his receivers for gains of 16, 7, 9, and 18 yards during the drive.  Kevin Smith got the ball in between some of the throws, but he was only able to gain 7 yards.  The first quarter came to a close with the Lions on Chicago's 13-yard line after a big pass to Calvin Johnson.

2nd Quarter

  • The Lions went back to Kevin Smith and that decision paid off.  Smith ran into the end zone from a yard out on his fourth carry of the quarter.  It wasn't easy, but the Lions finally got on the scoreboard.  Rather than 7 points, though, the Lions only got 6 since Jason Hanson slipped on the extra point try.  He got back up and tried to make the extra point, but it was blocked.  Chicago's field was terrible all game long, and Hanson wasn't the only one slipping out there.  At the time this failed extra point didn't seem like a big deal, but it turned out to have a huge impact on this game.
  • Devin Hester fumbled the proceeding kickoff and Alex Lewis recovered.  Lewis actually stripped Hester of the ball and got the ball back to the Lions at Chicago's 17-yard line.  Wasting little time to take advantage of the turnover, Orlovsky threw a pass to Calvin Johnson down the right side of the end zone.  Johnson simply jumped up and took the ball out of the air to score the touchdown.  He made sure to get both feet down, ensuring the great catch actually counted.  Just like that, the Lions led 13-10.
  • Following a Bears three and out, the Lions' offense put together another scoring drive.  They had very good field position to start the drive and moved down the field both in the air and on the ground.  Ultimately the Lions would score through the air again, as Shaun McDonald made an awesome catch in the back corner of the end zone.  Orlovsky avoided pressure and threw the ball only where McDonald could catch it, and he did just that to put the Lions on top 20-10.
  • The Bears and Lions traded field goals on the next two drives, making the score 23-13 in favor of Detroit. 
  • With under a minute left in the half, Chicago tried to move the ball but was unable to do so.  Even worse for the Bears was that they lost Kyle Orton on this drive.  Orton tried running for the first down on 3rd and 2 and was tackled by Cory Redding near the sidelines.  When Orton went down, Dewayne White fell on his ankle, and the injury was severe enough that Orton had to be carted off the field.  It turns out that the injury is a high ankle sprain, and Orton will miss a month.
  • Dan Orlovsky took a knee to end the first half after the Bears punted.

3rd Quarter

  • The Bears opened the second half with a near 5-minute drive that ended with a punt.  Chicago couldn't even get past midfield, and Rex Grossman was already starting to get booed.
  • Following a three and out by the Lions, Chicago didn't have much trouble moving the ball.  They started their next drive in Lions territory, which helped quite a bit.  All it took after that was a 20-yard Matt Forte run and an 18-yard pass to Devin Hester.  Grossman then threw a pair of passes to Rashied Davis, and the second one was good for a touchdown.  All of a sudden this was a close game again, as the Bears trailed only by a field goal.
  • Neither team was able to do much the rest of the third quarter and the next two possessions were punts.

4th Quarter

  • The Lions started to move the ball again and looked like they were going to at least get a field goal.  On 3rd and 9 from the Bears 19, though, Orlovsky threw a pass intended for Calvin Johnson in the end zone.  Initially it looked like Johnson would be able to make the catch, but Craig Steltz came out of nowhere and picked off the pass.
  • Luckily for Orlovsky, the Lions' defense got an interception of their own.  Rex Grossman had his pass tipped in the air by Jared DeVries, and Dewayne White dove and caught it for the interception.  The play was challenged by the Bears since there was some uncertainty over whether or not the ball hit the ground, but it turned out that there wasn't enough evidence to overturn the play.
  • Detroit took over at the Chicago 36 and failed to get any points off of the turnover.  Jason Hanson could have kicked a field goal, but Jeff Backus got called for a false start penalty on third down.  The penalty put the Lions just out of Hanson's range, and as you will find out shortly, that turned out to be a big deal.
  • After both teams went three and out again, the Bears got the touchdown they needed.  Matt Forte ran for gains of 13, 8, and 19 yards, setting up Rex Grossman to score the go-ahead touchdown on a QB sneak.  The score gave the Bears a 27-23 lead with over 5 minutes remaining in the game.
  • The Lions and Bears both went three and out again, and Detroit got the ball back with 2:49 to go.  They had good field position and looked like they were going to start moving the ball pretty quickly.  However, Michael Gaines fumbled the ball after making a catch, and Chicago recovered it.  Lance Briggs put a huge hit on Gaines and directly contacted the ball to knock it loose.  Briggs picked it up to give the Bears a chance to put the Lions away for good.
  • Detroit did stop the Bears and forced them to punt, but the Lions had to go 87 yards in only 1:04 to win the game.  Dan Orlovsky did his best to move the ball down the field and completed quite a few intermediate range passes.  Unfortunately, Orlovsky simply ran out of time and had to throw it into the end zone from the Bears 32-yard line.  The pass was batted down by a Bears defender, clinching Chicago's 27-23 victory.

Beyond the fact that the Lions lost again and are the only winless team in the NFL, it is so frustrating to know how many little mistakes cost the Lions this game.  Had Jason Hanson not slipped on that extra point, he could have just kicked a field goal on the last drive of the game to force overtime.  Had Orlovsky not thrown an interception at the goal line, Hanson again could have kicked a field goal to make it a 1-point game.  The same goes for when Backus got the false start penalty.  Had he not done that, Hanson could have come in to kick a field goal that would have put the Lions within reach to win the game on the final drive.

Detroit now heads back home to play the Jacksonville Jaguars next Sunday.  The Lions will be celebrating their 75th anniversary during this game and will wear their throwback jerseys.  Hopefully they will bring good luck of some kind.  Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. on CBS, though the chances of another blackout are very good.