Several things had to go right for the Detroit Lions to come out of Soldier Field with a win on Sunday. After they dug themselves into a 14-point hole in the third quarter of their Week 10 contest with the Chicago Bears, the Lions rattled off big play after big play to work their way back into the game.
There’s no doubt that they were helped by a bunch of mistakes the Bears made—penalties, mental mistakes, turnovers—but Detroit deserves plenty of credit, too. For the second straight week, the Lions made plays in the fourth quarter that won them the ball game. And to be quite honest, they made a few big plays earlier in the game that kept the game close until their dip in play in the third quarter.
So today’s Question of the Day is:
What was the Detroit Lions’ play of the game against the Chicago Bears?
My answer: I’m going to take the obvious route and select Jeff Okudah’s pick-six that tied the game in the fourth quarter, but I’ll make this post worth it by breaking down the play from three different perspectives.
First, let’s talk about Aidan Hutchinson. Here’s Justin Fields when he wants to throw the screen to the tight end.
Hutchinson is directly in a position to pick that ball off as he’s closing in on Cole Kmet.
That forces Fields to hold onto the ball a little longer. And that’s where Isaiah Buggs comes into the picture.
Pressure on a screen pass is pretty common. Offensive linemen are often purposely allowing defensive linemen through to get them way behind the play. However, that was not fully the case on this play. The Lions both sent a blitz from the edge and caused confusion up the middle of the Bears offensive line that caused trouble for Fields:
Buggs and Alim McNeill both attack the A-gap to the center’s right, and it allows Buggs—who has a surprisingly quick first step—to slip through quickly on a straight line to Fields. Meanwhile, some extra pressure coming from Fields’ blindside—via a blitzing Will Harris—catches Fields’ eye and clearly creates some urgency and/or panic:
And that leaves us with the man who got most of the credit: cornerback Jeff Okudah. He likely had the easiest of jobs of everyone responsible for this play, but that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t get credit, too.
Okudah is in a medium-depth zone here, and he’s all the way back on the 28-yard line when this ball is being thrown. That requires him to close in fairly quickly to get the ball, and beat several Bears players closing in on him.
Let’s put it all together:
Or if you prefer the Dan Miller version: