Sunday, September 12, 2010
Rapid Reaction: Bears 19, Lions 14
By Kevin Seifert
CHICAGO -- Let's hit the high and low points of a sloppy game at Soldier Field.
What it means: More than anything, this game told us that neither team is ready to challenge the upper echelon of the division. The Bears were mistake-prone throughout the game, committing four turnovers and nine penalties. The Lions' defense got consistent pressure on quarterback Jay Cutler but still gave up 464 total yards. Their offense, meanwhile, played in a daze after quarterback Matthew Stafford departed late in the second quarter with a right shoulder injury. Their offense, in fact, managed four first downs after Stafford's injury.
Critical Call I: The Lions scored what appeared to be a 25-yard touchdown pass from Shaun Hill to receiver Calvin Johnson with 24 seconds remaining. Officials initially ruled the play a touchdown but later overturned it, saying Johnson didn't "complete the act of catching the ball" because he left it on the ground after falling. The replay booth confirmed it. Wow. I seem to remember Green Bay Packers receiver Greg Jennings losing a touchdown at Soldier Field the same way last year. Terrible way to end for the Lions.
Injury of note: Stafford spent the second half sitting on the sideline with his right shoulder in a sling, courtesy a second-quarter sack from Bears defensive end Julius Peppers. It was the opposite shoulder that Stafford injured last season. Details were scarce, but in general you don't want your quarterback's throwing shoulder in a sling. For now and perhaps the foreseeable future, Hill is the Lions' quarterback. He struggled before catching fire on the final drive, completing 9 of 19 passes for 88 yards along with an interception and a lost fumble.
Hero and Goat: Tailback Matt Forte fumbled twice as a runner, but he caught seven passes for 151 yards and two touchdowns. Included in that mix was a beautiful catch on a game-winning 28-yard touchdown reception with 1:40 remaining. His 89-yard play on a screen pass, meanwhile, had gotten the Bears back in the game after they fell behind 14-3 late in the second quarter.
Critical Call II: For reasons beyond anyone's comprehension at Soldier Field, Bears coach Lovie Smith decided to go for it on fourth-and-goal from the Lions' 1-yard line with 9 minutes and 4 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. A field goal would have given the Bears a 16-14 lead against an opponent that was struggling to move the ball. But Smith opted for a Forte run off right tackle. Lions defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch caught Forte from behind, giving the Lions an improbable goal-line stand. Luckily for the Bears, Forte bailed them out later in the fourth quarter.
What's next: The Bears have a tough game at the Dallas Cowboys. The Lions will host the Philadelphia Eagles for their home opener.