The Bears game in Detroit proved to be the kind that we all expected: really boring battle against a really bad team. The Lions aren't bad. They are baaaad. I don't care if the announcers and experts around the NFL say otherwise. They are wrong. If I were a Lions' fan, I would be calling for this coach's head. Just because last year they won two games and this year they may win three? What does that say about the squad? Are Detroit fans just happy to have three wins?
Jim Schwartz is probably a decent guy, but he seems way overmatched. You need a coach in the NFC North that is smart, strategic and motivating. Right now, I see him making bone-headed plays (challenge, much?) and being outmanuevered by Lovie Smith. Yes, read that again. A coach being out-coached by Lovie? That's bad. Also, this Lions team plays waaaay too hard in the first half and then settles into complete mediocrity in the second half. They've probably done that six times this year, including the two games against the Bears. Throw in a couple of ill-advised 4th down attempts and strange play-calls, and you have this Lions team. Hey, Lions fans - I've heard they are looking for a team in LA.
Here are some other random observations from yesterday's game:
The game-ball should go to Earl Bennett. Bennett had a great game, but the game wouldn't have gone that way if it wasn't for his first quarter play. The Bears offense sputtered to begin the game yesterday and after spotting the Lions a 7-0 lead, looked again like they would go three and out. Cutler threw to Bennett on an underneath route, a few yards short of the first down marker. Bennett shrugged off would-be tacklers and extended his arm (with the ball) to the first-down marker with incredible athleticism and will. Sheer will. The refs gave him a good spot, the Lions didn't challenge and the play served as a wake-up call for the Bears offense. They went down and scored on that drive and applied enough firepower all game long to beat the Lions. That play was the game-changer. Otherwise, we were looking at a repeat of the Bears/Seahawks game from earlier in the year.
Back to coaching - the Lions defensive coordinator was overmatched in this one. How many times did Cutler snap and throw to a wide open receiver in the slot? I'm not a coach, but I think I could do a better job scheming blitzes than the Lions did. Ah, the D-coordinator is Gunther Cunningham, former head coach of the KC Chiefs. In the late 90s, Cunningham lost to the Bears during Jauron's first year. It was the first game with Bears O-coordinator Gary Crowton. After the game, Coach Cunningham made some great quote about the Bears "razzle, dazzle" offense. He may have been the only coach to be razzled or dazzled by Crowton and Curtis Enis for the rest of the year- the Bears lost 10 games that season. Fire him, Detroit.
Name one player that has turned games around and put the Bears in a position to win more than Devin Hester has. This guy is slowly becoming the best offensive player (on special teams) that the Bears have seen since Neal Anderson. Couple more TDs? And we are talking Payton/McMahon status. It's unreal. And I LOVED how dejected he was after barely missing a punt return touchdown. He was up-ended after a huge return that set the Bears up for a score, but he was so down on himself on the sideline for not bringing it back all the way. He reacted as if he had fumbled deep in his own zone. You have to love that. Hey Devin, I know you are up for the record, but did you really want to break it in Detroit? I have a feeling a national game against the Patriots would be better. And if not then, how bout Monday night against the Vikings? So get up, kid!
Chester Taylor: A lot of ooohs and aaaahs for a one or two-yard gain.
A lot of the pundits (and Lovie Smith) were down on the Bears D for a mediocre game. True, they looked lost at times - but you take away that fluke drive at the end of the half, where the Lions were content on running out the clock, and there is a different story today. And I will go further and say if you look at the tape on the Javhid Best running play where he bounced outside for 40+ yards, there is a big-time hold on Lance Briggs that sprung him. Again, you take away that drive and the Bears give up 13 points. And if Maynard and the special teams unit did their job against a no-name returner, it would probably be less points. A couple of fluke plays, Chicago.
Hey, everybody: That Suh hit on Cutler was a penalty. Whether or not it was legal or not, the intent was to punch Cutler in the head. Come on. That's a stupid play by a rookie D-lineman. If he pancakes Cutler, he probably breaks a rib. Since it was obvious his intent was to hurt the Bears QB, wouldn't that have worked? Forearm or no forearm, the extra push to the turf will get you 15 yards every time.
So now the stretch: Say, if the Bears go 11-5 or 10-6 and MISS the playoffs, do you fire Lovie Smith?