If you never knew what a false start was, you definitely went through False Start 101 during the Bears-Lions game Monday night.
And at a record pace, I might add.
The Bears committed nine false starts and was penalized 14 times for 104 yards. But of the nine false-start penalties, six were committed in the first half. According to Stats LLC, that’s an NFL record. All the while, Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, receiver Calvin Johnson and running back Jahvid Best were on their A games with the spotlight on.
And with a raucous crowd on hand, that may have been more rabid than raucous, Lions faithful, who’ve endured 0-16 and more, welcomed Detroit’s first Monday Night Football game in 10 years with a sense of urgency, a sense of swag and a sense of pride.
It was the biggest game for the franchise at Ford Field, so it was evident early on the dome would be defining. That might have been a reason why the Bears had so many false starts, Ford Field was as loud as its ever been since the stadium opened in 2002.
And the stadium, nor the Lions fans, wasn’t removed from an electric performance by the aforementioned players above.
Stafford (19 for 26) threw for 219 yards and two touchdowns. Johnson (Megatron) caught five balls for 130 yards, including a 73-yard touchdown pass and Jahvid Best’s last name spoke for itself – 163 yards rushing, including an 88-yard touchdown burst and Detroit grabbed their first win over the Bears in seven tries, 24-13.
The Lions are now 5-0 for the first time since 1956 and kept pace with undefeated Green Bay atop the NFC North.
Talk about franchises going in opposite directions. The Bears, just removed from the NFC championship game in January, are now 2-3 and quickly losing steam.
Their secondary doesn’t look good, their linebackers are getting old, their defensive line looked banged up, and their offensive line was just dismal.
The Lions, who were 0-16 just three years ago, are now 5-0. They’ve won nine-straight dating back to last year and occupy the division spot many people had the Bears in. (Not me. I had the Bears in third place the whole season)
Jay Cutler and Matt Forte were the spotlights for the Bears in the Motor City, and albeit the only spotlights. It might have been Cutler’s best game with the team. Although he was sacked 3 times and hurried and pressured a bunch, Cutler didn’t commit any turnovers and didn’t make many mistakes. His footwork looked great. He was agile, avoided some sacks and put the ball in some great sports for his receivers. It’s too bad his receivers didn’t make the most of those options.
Forte did the best he could to run the football. On 22 carries, Forte ran for 116 yards. Over the last two games, he’s ran for a combined 321 yards, compared to the 119 yards in the first three games altogether.
But this one got away from the Bears in the second half. Detroit established a run game and their defense held the Bears to just a Robbie Gould field goal with 4:03 left in the fourth quarter.
The Lions ran through the Cover 2 and the Bears allowed Calvin Johnson to practically perform the same play the Saints’ Devery Henderson did to them three weeks back. Don’t forget last week’s 53-yard pass from Cam Newton to Steve Smith as well. They seem to be a pattern.
Long play, run play, it’s simple: the Bears were getting burned. Remember, Lovie Smith’s cover-2 requires a heavy pass rush from its front four (defensive linemen). If they don’t get that, it leaves the secondary susceptible to allowing big plays.
Granted, the Bears had some injuries (Julius Peppers nursed a knee injury, Gabe Carimi was out again), that wasn’t an excuse tonight because the big play burn has been happening all year.
This one falls on the offensive line. And the secondary. And the coaching staff. And anybody else you want to blame. The NBA lockout? Sure. The guy who wrote the new Walter Payton book? Go ahead. The Soldier Field turf? Why not. The Green Bay Packers? Yeah, throw them in there, too. Hank Williams Jr.? I don’t see why, but alright.
So I’m going to throw out a word that Chicagoans are all too familiar with, and the Bears should take it seriously this time around: construction.
I know we’re five games into the season and there’s a lot of football left. But after the first five weeks of play, do you honestly believe the Bears are going to get better?
Think for a second. General Manager Jerry Angelo, Lovie Smith and the rest of the coaching staff went into the 2011 thinking the current roster was Super Bowl worthy, especially after falling just a game short of it nine months ago.
They lost to the Packers that day. Green Bay went on to win the Super Bowl and to this very day haven’t lost a game. Do you honestly believe Green Bay is going to blow a three-game lead in the division to the Bears?
Can you honestly say the same for the Lions, who just made the Bears look inadequate on Monday Night Football?
I feel bad for NBC this Sunday. They have to produce a Sunday Night Football matchup between the NFC North’s bottom dwellers. Minnesota and the Bears are basically fighting for 3rd place in the North for goodness sakes. Good grief!
I think if you’re the Bears, you start rebuilding RIGHT NOW. It starts with paying Matt Forte. This guy’s a horse. No, he’s a Clydesdale. Whatever he is, he’s good. You cannot, and I won’t stress this enough, CANNOT let him go for next season.
And make sure you have some boys that can block. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again the Bears need to model their team after Green Bay, as sorry to say it. Look at them up there. Aaron Rodgers has an unbelievable group of offensive linemen and a receiving corps that could catch a ball, a cold and still score with it. None of the Bears WR’s would touch the surface in Green Bay.
Then it’s time to rethink that defense. Brian Urlacher can still produce. But eventually, he’s going bye-bye. Draft his heir apparent? May be. Definitely get some players than can actually stop the pass. Or put in a new scheme. Do something.
And that’s when it ultimately falls on Jerry Angelo and Lovie Smith. Say what you want how Lovie is a great guy, a players coach and the players respect him. Get him out-of-town. Just listening him talk puts me to sleep. I don’t need to watch his NyQuil commercial or buy the product he’s advertising to make me feel better.
And I don’t need to watch anymore football like this from the Bears. It’s time you throw the flag on and your towel on the Bears.
Because they’re done.