The Lions had the opportunity to slam the door on the Bears and keep a stranglehold on a playoff spot and instead they took one step closer to pretender than contender. The Lions are now 1-3 against NFC teams they are competing against for a playoff spot. The Lions are 2.5 games behind the Packers (should be three by tomorrow) and tied with the Bears for 2nd in the division.
There isn’t much to say about this game other than the issues I have been saying would come back to haunt the Lions have. They cannot stay out of obvious passing downs, they are undisciplined and Stafford’s mechanics are a mess.
Calvin Johnson’s fumble was just a random unfortunate event that is bound to happen from time to time, however Nate Burleson keeps getting the ball stripped from behind yet still carries the ball away from his body. So before my local FOX affiliate switched away from Saints vs Falcons the Lions were down 10-0.
Devin Hester has haunted the Lions for years, so obviously they would be disciplined in punt coverage and avoid kicking it to him or at least stay in the proper coverage lanes. Not a chance, not only did they kick to him, but they out kicked the coverage which is the dumbest possible thing to do to the most dangerous return man in the league.
The Bears gave the Lions openings to get back into the game like a turnover deep inside their own territory, a fumble just before halftime and a three and out to start the second half. The Lions settled for a field goal, didn’t bother to try to recover the fumble and threw a pair of pick sixes after the defense did their job.
The biggest takeaway from this game is Stafford’s apparent desire to be Brett Favre. Favre had all the physical tools in the world and rarely, if ever, used proper footwork or technique when throwing. That led to bouts of wild inaccuracy, interceptions and forcing receivers to adjust to passes rather than hitting them in stride. I understand Stafford has faced a lot of pressure and hasn’t been able to set up in the pocket as much, but that’s why you work of footwork and technique, so you can make accurate throws under pressure.
This team is built to live and die by Stafford’s arm and everybody knows it. Defenses are going to keep bringing pressure in his face and forcing him from the pocket, which is made that much easier because the Lions stubbornly stick to the same old game plan week in and week out.