NFL Nation: Lions-Bears


Posted by ESPN.com’s Kevin Seifert


CHICAGO -- Detroit had Chicago on the ropes for a full half here at Soldier Field before defense and special teams carried the Bears to a 48-24 victory. But the game exposed a few holes the Bears will need to address during their upcoming bye week.

I’ll go into more detail after the game, but chief among the issues was the Bears’ inability to cover the deep middle of the field. Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford had receivers open downfield all afternoon, and he capitalized on enough of the opportunities to throw for 296 yards before a knee injury ended his afternoon.

It’s easy to point the finger at Nick Roach, who was making his first start at middle linebacker in place of the injured Hunter Hillenmeyer. Roach was definitely chasing receivers on a number of those completions, but I’m sure the breakdown was more thorough than with just one player.

I don’t want to suggest gloom and doom for the Bears, who raised their record to 3-1. I just think it’s worth raising an eyebrow when an opponent gashes you (to the tune of 273 offensive yards) with the same basic play for an entire half.

The Lions faced a steep hurdle in trying to replicate last week’s victory over Washington. Their only chance to win Sunday was to keep up in a shootout, and ultimately the Bears’ pass rush caught up to them. Stafford was sacked four times in the second half.

More to come in a few hours.
Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert

Chicago emerged Sunday with sole possession of first place in the NFC North.

But at what price?

The Bears lost quarterback Kyle Orton (ankle) and safety Mike Brown (calf) to injury during their comeback victory over Detroit, a hefty toll in what should have been an event-free cakewalk.

Early indications are that Brown's injury is not serious, but the severity of Orton's ankle injury is unknown. Orton has played the single biggest role in the Bears' 5-3 record this season, and it would be difficult to exaggerate how impactful a long-term injury would be.

Rex Grossman rallied the Bears against Detroit. But how would he fare against stiffer competition -- starting next week against unbeaten Tennessee? The best guess is you would see much more of tailback Matt Forte, who produced his second 100-yard game of the season Sunday.

The Lions, meanwhile, are left to sort out their quarterback situation after Dan Orlovsky's best start of the season. On the day his team confirmed the signing of quarterback Daunte Culpepper, Orlovsky threw for 292 yards and found receiver Calvin Johnson eight times. You would assume Orlovsky will start next week against Jacksonville, but beyond then is anyone's guess.

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