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Five Things We Learned: Bears-Lions

DETROIT -- Here are Five Things We Learned following the Chicago Bears' 24-13 loss to the Detroit Lions at Ford Field:

1. The Bears are mediocre at best: Monday night's game proved there's only one elite team in the NFC North: Green Bay. The Lions are a nice story at 5-0 and should definitely compete for a wild card berth, but come on, they're nothing special. The Bears were a train wreck in the first half, but somehow managed to lead the Lions 10-7 at the half in Detroit's own building. That being said, the Lions are better than the Bears, which puts Lovie Smith's group squarely in the "pretender" category. Sure, the Bears have several winnable games left on the schedule, but unless there is a dramatic reversal of fortune, the Bears shouldn't be playoff contenders. Playoff teams don't get great games from their quarterback (Jay Cutler) and tailback (Matt Forte) and score 13 points in a losing effort. The good news is there are 11 games left. The bad news is there are 11 games left. This could be a painful march to the finish line.

2. It's a new problem every week on the offensive line: Frank Omiyale started at right tackle because Gabe Carimi was out. J'Marcus Webb, on the other hand, is supposed to be the left tackle of the future. After playing at a high level versus Carolina, Webb took a major step back at Ford Field. Really, it's the perfect symbol for the offense. Just when the Bears think they have a problem fixed, the ship springs another leak. Next game, it'll probably be somebody else. That's what happens when you address one of your biggest needs by simply moving parts around instead of adding serviceable veterans via free agency. We all knew the Bears offensive line was going to struggle. It's actually encouraging they've managed to string together a couple of good games, but the line has folded both times the Bears played in a hostile venue (New Orleans and Detroit). Did you really think it would be any different?

3. The run defense. Wait, what run defense?: Vikings running back Adrian Peterson probably couldn't fall asleep on Monday night after getting so excited to face the Bears on Sunday. Jahvid Best isn't Barry Sanders, even though the Hall of Famer was in the building Monday night. There is absolutely no excuse to allow Best to run untouched for an 88-yard touchdown. He had 163 yards on 12 carries. Those are Peterson-type numbers. What's going to happen when the real Adrian Peterson comes to town? Guess we'll find out soon enough.

4. I'm out of answers at safety: I thought Chris Harris coming back from a hamstring injury would solidify the safety position. Looks like I was wrong. I still like Harris, but how many big pass plays are the safeties going to give up this year? To be fair, the lack of a consistent pass rush makes things much more difficult on the back end of the defense, but Calvin Johnson ran right past Harris and Brandon Meriweather for a 73-yard touchdown -- just like Devery Henderson did in New Orleans and just like Steve Smith did in Week 4. Somewhere in Houston, Danieal Manning is counting his money, while the Bears continue to count the number of different safety combinations they've used so far this year. At the moment, the number stands at five. But that's subject to change.

5. Coaches aren't helping: How many weeks are we going to watch the Bears be unable to relay the play to Cutler? How many timeouts are the Bears going to waste before it gets corrected? I don't blame Lovie Smith for not bashing the guilty parties in public -- that's bad for business -- but the head coach must get this under control. It's gone from minor annoyance to downright embarrassment. Time management issues always rest with the head coach, even if the support staff in the coaches box are the real culprits here. And why go for it on fourth and 1 in the first quarter? Shouldn't the Bears just take the three points in that situation? You'd think with three former head coaches on the staff the Bears would have a better handle on these kinds of issues.