The offense opened the game with a six-play, 55-yard touchdown drive capped by a 10-yard score to wide receiver Alshon Jeffery. Two series later, defensive end Jared Allen sacked Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, forcing a fumble and recovering it.
Two plays after that, the Bears took a 14-3 lead on Jeffery’s second touchdown reception of the game. After the Lions cut the lead to 14-10 in the second quarter, the Bears were driving in Lions territory. Quarterback Jay Cutler had just completed a 22-yard pass to tight end Martellus Bennett, yet the play was called back due to an offensive holding penalty on Roberto Garza.
It was all downhill from that point on. The Lions scored 14 points to finish the second quarter, taking a 24-14 lead into halftime. The Bears were outscored 10-3 in the second half, and 31-3 in the final three quarters combined, capping off a lopsided 34-17 Lions victory.
“We didn’t play very well enough to win today,” Marc Trestman said after the game. “It’s very disappointing. We didn’t get it done today on either the offensive or defensive side of the ball.”
Chicago’s defense gave up 474 total yards, with quarterback Matthew Stafford throwing for 390 yards and two touchdowns. Wide receiver Calvin Johnson had a huge day, catching 11 passes on 16 targets for 146 yards and a pair of scores. Johnson was open for most of the day, exploiting man-to-man coverage against Bears rookie cornerback Kyle Fuller.
“We made the stops early and then they got on a roll and made their money throwing the football and moving the ball around,” said Trestman.
Allen had two sacks, and the defensive line hit Stafford five times, yet the secondary was carved up systematically by Stafford, Johnson and the rest of Detroit’s passing attack.
Offensively, the Bears were able to counter Detroit’s penetrating defensive line with quick passes early in the game, yet the Lions caught on quickly, allowing just three points from the second quarter on.
Cutler finished the game 31-for-48 for 280 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. Jeffery led the team with nine catches for 71 yards and two scores, while Bennett chipped in eight catches for 109 yards.
Yet Matt Forte carried the ball just five times for six yards, which quickly turned the offense one-dimensional. At that point, Detroit’s stellar defensive line took over, sacking Cutler three times in the second half.
“It starts with me,” said Trestman. “I’m looking inside and accepting accountability for this loss. We just didn’t do enough and we couldn’t overcome some of the adversity we had in the game.
“It’s difficult for any quarterback to throw that much especially a defense like this. I thought he did a good job. We just didn’t convert and we didn’t complete the ones we needed to complete. We had some shots downfield and we didn’t get that done either.”
The Bears are now 5-7 and, for all intents and purposes, are out of the playoff race. It’s a disappointing end to a season that held so much promise in August. The team goes back to the drawing board this week to prepare for the Dallas Cowboys next Thursday.
“I don’t think anybody is going to quit,” Cutler said.
The effort might be there but in reality, it will mean very little, as it appears the Bears will miss the playoffs for the sixth time in the past seven seasons.
Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. He is in his fourth season covering the Chicago Bears full time. Follow Bear Report on Twitter.