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Chicago Bears Week 14 Recap: Bears Blow Opportunity To Upset Lions

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Chicago Bears Week 14 Recap: Bears blow opportunity to upset Lions

Chicago had a tough task on Sunday as they almost upset the NFC North-leading Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mistakes and penalties eventually cost the Bears, especially late in the game.  Overall, especially considering who they were playing, the Bears played pretty well. In Week 4 they did as well, and showed once again Sunday they could tame the Lions.

The defense in particular had a great day,  stopping Detroit’s short passing game that has beaten a lot of other teams.  The Bears forced 2 interceptions–one being a 24 yard pick-six by Cre’Von LeBlanc–which is hard to do against an offense that emphasizes controlling the ball with a running game and short throws.  Matt Stafford has thrown a total of three interceptions in the other 11 games this season, but he has now thrown four in just two games against Chicago.

According to Pro Football Focus, Chicago only sent extra pressure on 9 of Stafford’s 41 drop backs.  Since Stafford was getting rid of the ball quickly for short passes and blitzes probably wouldn’t make it to him in time anyway, the extra men in coverage helped lock down the short passing game.  Unsurprisingly, Stafford took advantage of the lack of defenders in coverage when Chicago sent pressure; per PFF, he had a higher completion percentage under pressure (66.7%) than with no pressure (57.7%).

The extra defenders clearly caused him problems, and teams will look to do that more against the Lions in the near future and likely in the playoffs.  Overall, except for giving up a rushing touchdown to Stafford and missing four tackles on that play, the defense had a great day in Detroit.

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While the offense made plays, it was plagued late in the game by huge mistakes.  Down three with under two minutes to go, Cam Meredith made a fantastic play sprinting from the middle field to the sideline while bringing the Bears from the Lions’ 43 to their 16 for a 27 yard play.  However, a holding call on tackle Charles Leno Jr brought it back.  Now the Bears had 1st and 20 from their own 47, but once again, a young receiver, this time Daniel Braverman, made a play and made a 23 yard catch and run over the middle of the field down to the Detroit 30 with 48 seconds to play, but sadly there was yet another holding call, this time on guard Ted Larsen.  Faced with 1st and 30 from their own 37, the Bears just couldn’t get back into scoring territory as Detroit played deep and didn’t give Matt Barkley anywhere to throw except underneath.

Throughout the day, however, Chicago’s offense stumbled.  They only scored one offensive touchdown the whole game, a 31 yard catch by Meredith. Barkley did horribly under pressure, posting a 48.3 quarterback rating per PFF.  When he had a clean pocket, that number rose to 115.2.  The line did a good job overall in pass protection, although Larsen did not play nearly as well as the other four.  The young receivers, especially Meredith, looked good and were making big plays whenever they could.

Chicago’s defense was on point once again against Detroit and forced two turnovers.  They’ve forced more interceptions (4) of Matt Stafford than everyone else combined (3).  The offense was stagnant, but made occasionally made big plays.  The dagger of the game was mistakes, especially penalties, down the stretch.  They will look to correct their mistakes for a big rivalry game next week against Green Bay.