Sunday, September 29, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Lions 40, Bears 32
By Michael Rothstein
DETROIT -- A few thoughts on the Detroit Lions' 40-32 victory over the Chicago Bears.
What it means: It became a little tense at the end, but the Lions are in first place in the NFC North. For three quarters, the Lions looked extremely impressive. Their defense appeared dominant on Sunday, even as the offense struggled at points. The line clearly rattled Chicago quarterback Jay Cutler, pressuring him consistently and forcing three interceptions. If you’re looking for a reason for Sunday’s victory, it starts there.
Detroit needed a game like this to follow up on beating the Washington Redskins last Sunday. Even though the Lions were 2-1, they had only one half of really strong football -- the second half of the season opener against Minnesota. In addition to the defense, Detroit running back Reggie Bush slashed through Chicago's defense, looking more like the player he was at USC.
Stock Watch: Rising -- Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh picked up the stats he had been lacking, sacking Cutler twice. Bush returned to normal, gaining 173 total yards and scoring a 37-yard touchdown. Safety Louis Delmas, who has long battled knee issues, picked off two passes and combined with Glover Quin to show how important good safety play is to this defense.
Suh dominance: He had been having his most consistent, productive season of his career but didn’t have the stats to back it up. That is no longer an issue. Chicago tried to double Suh almost every play to give rookie Kyle Long help, but it didn’t matter. Suh disrupted a bunch of Bears plays, sacked Cutler twice and, along with the rest of the defensive line, forced the Bears to bring extra protection.
Line mostly clean again: Detroit’s offensive line continues to block both the run and pass well. Matthew Stafford was sacked only once, and the holes that opened for Bush allowed him to get into the second and third levels of the Chicago defense with ease. Detroit’s line has been building toward this moment, improving every week. The interior of the line -- center Dominic Raiola and guards Rob Sims and Larry Warford -- were effective pushing Chicago off the line of scrimmage.
What’s next: Detroit now heads to a place it hasn’t won in more than two decades -- Green Bay -- with a chance to beat every team in the NFC North at least once this season.