Here is a drive-by-drive look at how the Bears beat the Lions by a score of 48-24.
- The Lions got the ball first and started the game with a 45-yard bomb to Calvin Johnson. Matthew Stafford simply threw the ball downfield to an open C.J., who made the catch for the big gain. Kevin Smith ran for no gain on the next play (that would be a common thing throughout the game), and Stafford's pass to Calvin on the next play only went for a yard. Casey FitzSimmons made a catch for a gain of 5 on 3rd and 9, bringing up 4th down and a field goal attempt by Jason Hanson. He nailed the kick, but the Lions took the points off the board because of an offside penalty on Chicago.
The penalty gave Detroit a first down, so it was an easy decision for the coaches to make. Gosder Cherilus moved and was called for a false start a couple plays later, bringing up 2nd and 15 (Stafford overthrew Calvin in the end zone on first down). Kevin Smith was stopped for a loss of 3, but the Bears were flagged for a personal foul. It was a weak call, but it gave the Lions an automatic first down, so I didn't mind. Following a 9-yard pass to Bryant Johnson on a slant and a 2-yard run by Jerome Felton, Smith ran the ball into the end zone from a yard out for a touchdown.
- Matt Forte broke free for a gain of 61 yards only two plays into the Bears' first drive of the game, running right down the middle of the field where no defenders were able to get to him initially. Louis Delmas eventually ran him down at the 5, and it looked like the Lions were about to rebound and hold Chicago to a field goal. Jay Cutler made sure that didn't happen, though. On 3rd and 5, he scrambled to the left side of the field and dove into the end zone John Elway style for a touchdown.
- The Lions fought back and put together another outstanding drive. This time they faced some adversity after Kevin Smith got called for a face mask. You don't usually see it called on a running back, but he did grab the defender's face mask. That put the Lions in a hole, but they quickly bounced back thanks to a 13-yard run by Maurice Morris and a 14-yard catch by Aaron Brown. Calvin Johnson then went for 12 on a reverse, moving the Lions down to the Chicago 37. After a couple incompletions, Stafford found Megatron for a gain of 23 to move the chains. Stafford followed that up with two more incompletions (one was sort of dropped), but on 3rd and 10 he found Will Heller in the end zone for a 14-yard touchdown, putting the Lions on top by a score of 14-7.
- We got our first glimpse of defense on the Bears' next drive, as Jay Cutler's pass to Greg Olsen on third down was incomplete. The Bears went three and out, and suddenly the Lions had a chance to pull away from Chicago.
- The Bears pinned the Lions back at the 6-yard line, and the Lions looked like they were going to go three and out. Calvin Johnson was interfered with on third down, though, moving the chains and giving the Lions 18 yards. The Lions did fail to move the chains after that, and the Bears made them pay. Nick Harris' punt only went 36 yards, and Devin Hester took it back 24 yards to the Detroit 35.
- Jay Cutler immediately capitalized on the great field position by finding Earl Bennett for a 25-yard gain. The pass was a bit high, but Bennett came down with it at the 10-yard line.
- Cutler found Johnny Knox on the next play at the 2-yard line, and then he hit a wide open Kellen Davis for a touchdown on a play-action pass, tying the game up at 14.
- Things went downhill a bit for the Lions after this, as Matthew Stafford made a big mistake on 3rd and 14. The Lions tried to run a screen, and Stafford had a man in his face. He tried to get rid of it to Maurice Morris, but Tommie Harris was there instead to make the interception. He took it back to the 8-yard line, giving the Bears a great chance to take the lead.
- The defense stepped it up big time, keeping the Bears out of the end zone for three straight plays. Matt Forte ran down to the 4 on first down, and Will James and Louis Delmas made a great tackle on Devin Hester at the 2. (Hester was injured and left the game after this play.) After a pass to Greg Olsen went incomplete, the Bears brought out Robbie Gould and kicked a field goal. Like we saw earlier in the game with the Bears, a Lions player jumped offside, and Chicago decided to take the points off the board and go for it on 4th and goal from the 1. That proved to be a good decision, as Cutler found Olsen for the touchdown, putting the Bears on top 21-14.
- Following a 21-yard pass to Calvin Johnson, the Lions' drive fizzled out and they had to punt again.
- Chicago also started to put something together before Cliff Avril knocked the ball out of Jay Cutler's hands on a first down play, leading to a loss of 14 yards when Desmond Clark picked it up. That basically led to a punt that went out of bounds at the 2-yard line, pinning the Lions deep in their own territory yet again.
- Just like last week against Washington, the Lions embraced the bad field position and put together a great drive in spite of it. The biggest play of the drive was really when Stafford hit Calvin on 3rd and 7 for a gain of 29. It was a perfect pass that hit Calvin on the run and gave the Lions some breathing room. The Lions fed off the momentum of the big play and put together three more big plays in a row. Kevin Smith ran for 11 yards after a false start, and then Stafford scrambled and ran for 17. Pettigrew made a catch in the middle of the field for a gain of 28, putting the Lions inside the red zone. After a 4-yard run by Smith and an incompletion, Stafford found Pettigrew again in the middle of the field for a gain of 8 to move the chains. Smith ran into the end zone from 3 yards out on the next play, making the score 21-21 with 26 seconds left in the half.
- Jason Hanson kicked the ball out of bounds, giving Chicago a chance to do something before halftime. Thankfully the defense prevented that from happening and knocked down a Hail Mary in the end zone, keeping the game tied as halftime arrived.
- Just like we saw against Minnesota, the Lions completely folded in the second half. The difference this time was they folded from the opening freaking kickoff of the half. Johnny Knox took the kick back 102 yards for a touchdown, putting the Bears on top and giving them all the momentum in this game.
- The Lions followed that up by not only going three and out, but doing it in ugly fashion. Matthew Stafford was sacked for a loss of 10 on second down, and a Jeff Backus false start made it 3rd and 24. Detroit played it conservative by just giving the ball to Aaron Brown on a draw, meaning Nick Harris had to punt the ball away from basically his own end zone.
- Earl Bennett, filling in for Devin Hester, took the punt back 20 yards to the Detroit 38. Another special teams play set the Bears up for points, though this time it was only a field goal. Robbie Gould had never made a kick from beyond 50 yards before this game, but he came out on fourth down and nailed one from 52 yards out. The kick looked like it was going to go wide right, but the wind brought it back and it went between the uprights.
- The Lions struggled again on their next drive, going three and out in ugly fashion. Stafford was sacked on the first play, and the drive was really over before it even began.
- The Bears got the ball around midfield and also went three and out, and this time the Lions were only pinned back at their 17.
- Stafford tried to step up in the pocket on 3rd and 5 and didn't protect the ball, allowing Israel Idonije to knock it loose and fall on it at the Detroit 19.
- The Bears moved the ball all the way down to the 1-yard line, but Cutler fell down and fumbled the ball on 3rd and goal, leading to another Gould field goal, this time from 22 yards out. The Bears now led 34-21.
- The two teams went three and out on the next two drives, ending the third quarter by trading punts.
- The Lions finally got something going offensively for the first time all half and moved the ball down to the Chicago 6-yard line. That is when the Lions faced 3rd and 5 and Stafford was sacked for a loss of 11. This was the play where he injured his knee, and it was the last time he played in this game. The Lions settled for a 35-yard field goal, cutting the lead down to 10 points.
- Daniel Manning took the proceeding kickoff back 43 yards, giving the Bears great field position yet again. Matt Forte took advantage of that, running down the left side of the field for a 37-yard touchdown only 4 plays into the drive. That put the Bears on top 41-24 and basically put the nail in the Lions' coffin.
- Daunte Culpepper made his first appearance since the preseason and moved the chains once. After that he found Brandon Pettigrew for a 4-yard gain and then threw three straight incompletions in Pettigrew's direction.
- The Bears took over and added a garbage time touchdown when Garrett Wolfe ran into the end zone from 2 yards out.
- Jerome Felton ran for 10 yards to start the Lions' next drive, and then Culpepper completed three straight passes for a total of 30 yards. He heaved a pass to the end zone on what would be the final play of the game, and it was broken up. The Bears doubled the Lions up in this game, winning 48-24 after a stellar second half.
What's so disappointing about how this game turned out is the fact that the Lions were tied at halftime and only trailed by 10 points in the fourth quarter despite all of their turnover and special teams issues. It's nice to say that they were in the game despite all of those mistakes, but some of those mistakes should just never happen, such as all of the big returns by Chicago. Although the Lions overcame not winning the field position battle last week, this week it really prevented them from winning. A combination of the two turnovers deep in their own territory, the big kick returns, and a couple solid punt returns is what did them in.
Matthew Stafford actually played quite well outside of the two turnovers, and the passing game in general was very effective. Kevin Smith unfortunately couldn't run the ball to save his life today. Though he had a pair of touchdowns, he only had 30 yards on 19 carries. For comparison's sake, Stafford ran for 20 yards on 2 carries.
The defense also didn't play all that badly outside of the two Matt Forte touchdown runs. The other scoring drives were really a result of the great field position the Bears had, and you can only ask so much out of a defense when they are constantly forced to defend a short field.
Heading into next week, my biggest hope is that the Lions will play a competitive game. The Steelers have shown they are beatable, but I don't know if that actually means anything for the Lions. I would love to see Larry Foote be able to stick it to his old team, but I can envision Ben Roethlisberger shredding the Lions' secondary. Also, we don't know what the status for Matthew Stafford will be for next Sunday, and even if he does play, chances are he will take a beating from a team that loves to blitz. Let's hope he is able to play and the offensive line is able to protect him even a little bit. Stafford has shown that he can make plays if he has time to throw, so that will be very important next Sunday.
Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. ET on CBS, though the game is obviously subject to a local blackout.