Monday, October 15, 2012
Bears, Lions getting ready to rumble
By Jeff Dickerson
Emotions boiled over last season after Matthew Stafford and D.J. Moore got tangled up.
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- It might not be on the level of Bears vs. Packers, but the rivalry between the Bears and Lions has become increasingly hostile the last couple of years.
Part of that animosity can be linked to Detroit's recent resurgence under head coach Jim Schwartz who led the Lions to the postseason last year after the club went winless three seasons earlier under current Bears defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli. But the Lions have also been accused of being a team that takes its share of cheap shots before and after the whistle.
Emotions boiled over last season at Soldier Field in a Bears 37-13 victory on Nov. 13 when Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford grabbed Bears nickel back D.J. Moore in the helmet area and threw him to the ground during an interception return -- Stafford finished the game with four picks. An infuriated Moore got up and retaliated against Stafford as both sidelines rushed the field. Although Stafford's hit started the altercation, it was Moore who got ejected and later fined $15,000.
Stafford and Detroit guard Rob Simms were fined $7,500 for their role in the scuffle.
"There's always going to be bad blood given that we're Chicago and they're Detroit," Bears cornerback Tim Jennings said on Monday. "They're in our division and we know we have to go through one another to kind of get to that championship that we need to get to. So there's always going to be bad blood with them, Minnesota and Green Bay. It's nothing different. They're going to come in here with the same attitude, the same mentality; they don't like us and they want to win. So it's going to be a dogfight to the end."
However, the Stafford hit on Moore was not an isolated incident. Earlier in that game Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh ripped off Bears quarterback Jay Cutler's helmet while taking him to the ground. No flag was thrown, but Cutler and Suh did exchange words after the play. Suh was also fined $15,000 for delivering a forearm to Cutler's back during the 2010 season at Ford Field.
"Just looking at our division; I'm sure Chicago isn't one of Detroit's favorites and they're not one of our favorites," Bears head coach Lovie Smith said. "It should be like that in the division. When everybody is playing good ball you know you have to be ready each play."
This marks the second straight year the Bears and Lions will square off on Monday Night Football after Detroit beat the Bears 24-13 at Ford Field in Week 5 last season.
"They have (been more hostile) especially after last year after that Monday night game we owed them something in the second one," Bears tight end Kellen Davis said. "I think that's kind of the pace that it's going to be this year for the next two. I'm kind of looking forward to getting out there and mixing it up.
"Division rivals. They are teams we know we have to beat. That's the way it goes."
Brandon Marshall is new to the rivalry, which may be why he's not focused on the bad blood carrying over.
"We talked about it a little bit, but we understand how important this game is, especially going into a divisional game," Marshall said Monday on "The Carmen, Jurko & Harry Show" on ESPN 1000. "We're going to approach it as such.
"But as far as any hostilities or bad feelings towards them, I haven't gotten that. But what I have felt is a sence of urgency in our group that you don't get many games, and each game is important, especially on Monday night. We're going to work ourselves into a frenzy and come out firing on all cylinders."