Halftime: A shootout, Air and Space style

October, 4, 2009
10/04/09
2:52
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com’s Kevin Seifert


CHICAGO -- Detroit surely gained some confidence from last week’s victory over Washington, but I don’t know if many people thought the Lions would come into Soldier Field and move up and down the field on Chicago’s defense.

But that’s what has happened here in the first half. The Lions have amassed 273 yards of total offense and 17 first downs, continually exposing the deep middle of the field with receiver Calvin Johnson and tight ends Will Heller and Brandon Pettigrew. I don’t know if I blame new middle linebacker Nick Roach for any or all of that, but it’s certainly a logical place to question in the Tampa 2 scheme.

We’re tied at 21 as the teams head to the locker room. Here are a few more halftime observations:
  • Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford opened the game with a 45-yard pass to Johnson, who was single-covered by Zack Bowman at the time. Stafford is doing a good job of locating Johnson, but I’ve been amazed at how often the Bears have left Bowman in single coverage against him. The Lions don’t have enough offensive threats to allow Johnson to be in one-on-one coverage with anyone.
  • By my count, Stafford has missed three wide-open throws -- two to Johnson and one to Pettigrew – but each time he’s come back and made up for the error by completing his next pass to compensate. In other words, none of the misses have hurt the Lions.
  • Bears receiver Devin Hester left in the second quarter after injuring his shoulder on a pass near the goal line. He didn’t return. I know there has been a lot of celebratory talk about the resurgent Bears receiving corps. But without Hester, the Bears will have their work cut out for them to keep up if this game continues to be a shootout.
  • Other than Jay Cutler's gutsy decision to go airborne on a 5-yard touchdown run, the Bears offense looks uninspired. It’s racked up 153 total yards, of which 61 came on Matt Forte's first carry of the game. Since that play, the Bears have 85 yards on 22 plays.
  • This may matter to no one else but me: At one point, the score was 14-14 with 14:14 remaining in the second quarter.

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