It was as if the ghost of Matt Millen was lurking around Ford Field Sunday. That’s at least how the Lions played. Like has been the case all season, the Lions dug a hole for themselves, and this time were not even able to make it a game, falling 34-7 to the Chicago Bears. There was hope that the team would get some sort of emotional lift with the dismissal of Millen, their bumbling GM, during the bye week. Instead, they played like a team that was already ready to give up on the 08 season.
The mistakes for Detroit were numerous. From Jon Kitna throwing long when unhappy wide out Roy Williams was running a square in, to fumbles due to poor pass blocking, to a secondary that played soft all day and never challenged a Bears wide out, allowing Kyle Orton to look more like the 07 version of Tom Brady. In the end, it was a tough day for Lions fans, most of which either stayed home, or sold their tickets to Bears fans, as the cheers for the Bears at Ford Field were loud and full of vim and vigor all day.
For the Bears, simply put they did what they had to do. It wasn’t a thing of beauty, more so from the start when they blew some early scoring chances, but they slowly built a lead, first 3-0, then 10-0, and then 17-0 by the half. They were never in danger of allowing the Lions in the game, and even when their play got somewhat sloppy in the third quarter when they had a turnover that late resulted in a Lions score, it was already when the game was well out of reach.
Orton was as good as at any point of his career. He went 24-for-34 for 334 yards with two TD’s and no picks. Kitna, who left the game with back spasms, was 8-of-16 for 74 yards in one half with no TD’s and no picks. His backup, Dan Orlovsky, was 13-for-23 for 97 yards with a pick that was returned for a score by the Bears Charles Tillman in the third quarter that made it 31-0.
The game for the Lions could be summed up by the play of Williams, who was the talk of trade rumors by the Detroit media in the postgame. While there was no giving in that the team is looking to move Williams, he played like a wide out that did not want to be wearing silver and blue anymore. He dropped at least four passes, and his body english was so out of line, that coming off the field you had to be blind not to see his frustration. In garbage time with the team down big, he was able to catch 6 passes for 96 yards, but it was all with the game out of reach.
For now, Rod Marinelli and his staff are still employed, but there are clearly no easy answers to the issues that are taking his Lions franchise and making them the laughing stock of the league. They have lose 11 of their last 12 going back to last year, and as even Marinelli put it, there are no real answers as to how or if it will ever get turned around. For the Bears, they are now 3-2, and look like a team with a strong enough D and solid enough offense to challenge Green Bay in the NFC North.
Next week the Lions will travel to Minnesota to take on the Vikings. The Bears are at Atlanta to play the upstart 3-2 Falcons, coming off a win in Green Bay.