- Jeff Dickerson, ESPN Staff Writer
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1. High turnover games remain a reality for Jay Cutler: Cutler deserves some credit for not calling it quits when the Lions led 40-16 late in the fourth-quarter, but his four turnovers were a major reason why the Bears lost. There isn’t a coach alive that can permanently eliminate these types of games from Cutler’s resume. When interceptions happen, they tend to happen in bunches with Cutler. That’s part of the package. It will never change. However, Cutler has been clutch for the Bears in three games this season, and certainly deserves the benefit of the doubt that he can bounce back with a stellar effort against the New Orleans Saints next Sunday. And I liked the fact Cutler and the offense kept fighting until the bitter end, even when the game was painfully out of reach. But the reality is that Cutler will always be a high-risk, high-reward quarterback, no matter the team, coach or system.
2. The defense has dropped a notch: The Bears still have a knack for forcing turnovers on defense, but Reggie Bush became the third opponent (A.J. Green and Antonio Brown) to have a monster game against the defense in the past four weeks. With the exception of Adrian Peterson's crazy game at Soldier Field in 2007, Sunday might have been the worst tackling display that I’ve seen from the Bears’ defense in recent memory. Bush is a talented multipurpose tailback, but he’s hardly considered one of the best runners in the game. However, Bush looked all-world against the Bears at Ford Field. In the span of four games, we’ve witnessed the Bears’ defense suffer multiple breakdowns on multiple fronts. And the pass rush continues to be nonexistent. The Bears sacked Matthew Stafford one time on 35 passing attempts. The individual talent is still present on the roster but, collectively, there is something missing from the Bears’ defense.
3. Alshon Jeffery is on the rise: Jeffery’s five catch for 107 yards and a touchdown performance in Week 4 would have been one of the top stories if the Bears had won. Although Jeffery’s day at Ford Field kind of gets lost in the shuffle of the bitter defeat, it is worth noting that Jeffery has responded well after a so-so game in Week 2 versus the Vikings. Jeffery showed great hands on his 14-yard touchdown reception. And even though he’s not viewed as the fastest wideout on the field, Jeffery can beat a defender deep down the field. The great thing about Jeffery is that because of his size and wingspan, he is skilled at coming down with those 50-50 jump balls that can go either way. The Bears don’t seem to be lacking in the skill position department, and after Cutler, Brandon Marshall and Matt Forte; Jeffery is having one of the Bears’ most productive seasons on offense.
4. Special teams hardly were special: For the second time this season, the Bears’ coverage units were burned for a big return. This time it was Detroit’s Micheal Spurlock taking a punt back 57 yards to set up an easy Lions’ scoring drive. Special teams are held to a high standard around Chicago, and fans aren’t used to seeing that phase of the team struggle. The Bears also had issues with their punting game, which is odd considering Ford Field is an indoor stadium with a controlled climate. Devin Hester didn’t help the cause much when the Bears had opportunities to return the ball, and Hester almost fumbled on one occasion. This really was a complete team loss. All three phases of their game contributed to the Bears’ defeat in Detroit.
5. Future is bright at right guard: Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh is a monster on the interior of the Detroit defensive line. The smart money was on Suh making a couple of plays lined up against Bears rookie right guard Kyle Long. As expected, Suh was a disruptive force in the Bears’ backfield with two sacks and a forced fumble that got scooped up for a touchdown. But Long didn’t do anything to embarrass himself. He more than held his own during his individual battles with Suh. Consider this a learning experience for the rookie. Smart money also suggests Long does a better job against Suh when the teams meet at Soldier Field on Nov. 10. Call it a hunch.