JC's Game Blog: Bears vs. Lions

Be sure to refresh this live blog every now and then for all the goings on Sunday afternoon at Soldier Field in Chicago. From the field to the sideline to the press box, JC will make you feel like you're a part of the game.

Greetings, Bears fans. Seemingly for the fouth consecutive week, the Monsters of the Midway are facing a must-win situation. With the bye looming in Week 9, head coach Lovie Smith has to get his crew even at 4-4 with a victory today against the Lions if he has any legitimate chance to make a playoff run in the second half. Not only would a loss today mean a 3-5 record with only eight games to go, but a 1-3 mark in the division plus a season sweep at the hands of Detroit may prove to be catastrophic. It's a beautiful day for football, or at least it will be until Chicago takes the field in those hideous pumpkin-colored jerseys ...

Inactive today for the Bears are RB Garrett Wolfe, CB Nathan Vasher, S Brandon McGowan, FB Lousaka Polite, LB Darrell McClover, OG Josh Beekman, and WR Mike Hass. Kyle Orton will serve as the third quarterback. As for the Lions, RB Tatum Bell, CB Dovonte Edwards, S Idrees Bashir, OG Blaine Saipaia, OG Manny Ramirez, DE Ikaika Alama-Francis, and DE Kalimba Edwards will sit this one out. Dan Orlovsky is the No. 3 QB. Anthony Adams will make his third straight start at defensive tackle although Walker is active and should see some action, plus Trumaine McBride starts at cornerback again in place of Vasher ...

The Bears have won the toss and elected to receive ...

We get the obligatory Cedric Benson dropped pass out of the way on the first snap of the ballgame, so at least we don't have to worry about that anymore. Brian Griese can't connect with Desmond Clark on 3rd-and-3, meaning it's three-and-out for the Bears on their first possession. "We're a running football team," according to Coach Smith, but the opening drive featured three passes ...

The Lions pick up a first down on their first series, but Jon Kitna's pass to Shaun McDonald comes up a yard short on 3rd-and-8. Naturally, Detroit punts the ball as far away from Devin Hester as possible, a 30-yarder directly out of bounds to the right sideline. Even the opening kickoff was another squibber that he was lucky to get his hands on in the first place ...

Griese puts together a nice little drive to get the Bears in field goal range, but that's it as Robbie Gould trots onto the field. However, his 40-yard attempt is wide left, giving the ball back to the Lions on their own 30-yard line. Benson dropped a toss sweep on the drive and was fortunate to fall on it to retain possession, and the Soldier Field crowd is letting him have it already ...

Adam Archuleta just levels Roy Williams on a deep throw down the field, resulting in a 47-yard pass-interference penalty to kickstart the Detroit offense. After a 23-yard completion to Mike Furrey on the very next play, the Chicago defense clamps down as Adewale Ogunleye and Alex Brown are both credited with sacks on the drive. Jason Hanson will line up for a field goal, but not before the end of the first quarter ...

Hanson's 26-yarder is good on the first play of the second quarter, giving the Lions a 3-0 lead ...

Hester actually lines up at tailback for one play and got the ball on a toss sweep to the right, but he's smashed for a 6-yard loss to pretty much kill the drive. Brad Maynard does his job beautifully, punting the ball 49 yards before it's downed by Corey Graham at the Detroit 3-yard line. The Bears play field position as well as any in the league, but that's really the only facet of the game where they excel these days ...

Three-and-out for the Lions deep in their own territory, as Lance Briggs comes up with the third sack of the day on Kitna already. Detroit has given up 31 sacks, the most in the league coming into this game, for a reason. Hester will actually get a chance to return this punt, but he can only manage a return of five yards as the offense takes over at its own 45 ...

Griese was dinking and dunking his way down the field once again, but he takes a low-percentage shot into the end zone and pays the price. Looking for Mark Bradley near the goal line deep down the left sideline, Kenoy Kennedy reads the play from his safety position and steps in front for the interception. He should have just stayed in the end zone and taken the touchback, but he tries to make something of the return and only gets to his own 7-yard line ...

"This is the two-minute warning" ...

Touchdown Lions as Kevin Jones finds the end zone from four yards out. He pretty much strolled right in since Detroit spread the formation and then ran the ball right up the gut. 10-0 Lions with 1:52 left before halftime and, needless to say, the crowd is getting awfully antsy right now ...

The Bears come out in their four-wide package for the two-minute drill, and Griese immediately hits Desmond Clark over the middle for an 11-yard gain. But with Griese forced to scramble on 3rd-and-10 two plays later, he slides a yard short of first-down yardage as Maynard will be forced to punt it away yet again. This crowd is just about silent right now ...

After Kitna takes the short throws at the start of the ensuing drive, he finds Williams deep down the left sideline for a 24-yard gain. With just 10 seconds left in the half, Hanson gives it a shot from 52 yards away. The ball ricochets off the goalpost but still makes its way over the crossbar, extending the lead to 13-0 with just five seconds left before intermission ...

And that's the half, with Detroit taking a 13-0 advantage into the locker room ...

Kitna once again moves the ball down the field and picks up a few third-down conversions, but the drive stalls as Hanson will get another chance for a three-pointer. Inexplicably, his 29-yarder is wide right as the Bears dodge a bullet. Time for the Bears offense to step it up a notch because that goose egg on the scoreboard is looking awfully large right now ...

Three-and-out as Griese and Bernard Berrian have their signals crossed on a third-down pattern. Yet another punt for Maynard, who delivers a 54-yard effort with no return that's downed at the Detroit 18-yard line. Kitna has been pretty efficient throwing the football so far, which means it's lost past time for the Bears to force a turnover and make something happen ...

The Midway Monsters return the favor and force a three-and-out of their own, giving Hester another shot to do his thing. He does just that, wiggling his way 39 yards to the Detroit 26-yard line and finally giving the Bears faithful something to cheer about today. Forget Benson, it's up to Griese if Chicago is going to win this game ...

Touchdown Bears as Griese hits rookie Greg Olsen on a deep out pattern from 20 yards out for the score. Gould splits the uprights on the conversion and cuts the Detroit lead down to 13-7 with 5:26 left in the third quarter. Give the defense and Hester all the credit for those points because field position was the name of the game right there ...

Jones gets the Detroit drive off to a great start with a 34-yard run on the first play. On 4th-and-1 from the 2-yard line, Kitna gets Tommie Harris to jump offsides for a critical penalty. A touchdown here would be really debilitating because time is running out in a hurry...

That's the end of the third quarter, Lions still leading 13-7 but threatening once again ...

Jones runs the sweep to the right on 3rd-and-goal from the 2-yard line, but the Bears stretch out the play and force him out of bounds shy of the end zone. Hanson converts a chip-shot 20-yard field goal to make it a two-score game once again, 16-7 Detroit. Again, no takeaways for the Chicago defense thus far ...

For the second time today, the Lions are perfectly happy kicking the ball out of bounds and giving the Bears possession at the 40-yard line because they won't let Hester beat them. After a 12-yard run by Benson, Griese is intercepted by Keith Smith near the left sideline on a throw intended for Berrian. That's the same Keith Smith who picked off Griese and ran it back all the way for a touchdown in Week 4, and Griese is also a little slow getting up ...

Nothing happening for the Lions on that drive, although they did pick up one first down and burned a little clock in the process. Yet another punt out of bounds, this time at the Chicago 17-yard line as the Soldier Field crowd is growing increasingly disgusted with the fraidy-cat tactics to eliminate Hester in the return game. 2,380 no-shows for today's game, by the way ...

A 1-yard run by Benson, a 9-yard sack of Griese, and an errant pass for Clark. Punting time for Maynard for the fifth time this afternoon. 8:50 left on the clock as the teams change possession, although a noticeable percentage of the fans are heading for the exits after that exchange ...

The Bears catch a break on the first play of the Detroit possession. Jones fumbles the ball on a carry around the right side, and Hunter Hillenmeyer comes up with the recovery just before it rolls out of bounds. Another chance for Griese and Co. from the Chicago 39 ...

That's a hat trick for Griese as he once again tries to force one to Bradley in the end zone, this time Gerald Alexander coming up with the interception. You don't win many game with a minus-3 turnover ratio, but that's the case right now for the Bears. And for good measure, Benson dropped another pass out of the backfield on that drive before the INT ...

The Bears eventually force another punt and call timeout with 2:51 left in the game. Remember they still need two scores here, so it would be wise to kick a field goal with Gould as soon as they get in range in order to preserve some time for an onside kick and a potential game-winning touchdown drive. No way Hester gets to return this punt ...

"This is the two-minute warning" ...

Griese just about killed Hester on a deep pass down the seam near the goal line, and he's still lying flat on his back ...

Instead of kicking a relatively easy 43-yard field goal with Gould, the Bears force the issue offensively. In typical fashion this season, Griese is picked off for the fourth time today. Why Coach Smith didn't just kick the field goal since they need two scores is just beyond me ...

And that's the end of the game, ladies and gentlemen. The Bears stink up the joint once again at home, losing 16-7 to the Lions and pretty much guaranteeing that they'll be on the outside looking in come playoff time ...

Be sure to visit BearReport.com for all the analysis, all the insight, and all the latest from Chicago as the Bears kill their postseason hopes and drop to 3-5.


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  • "New" Soldier Field vs. "Old" Soldier Field
  • Reliving the 61-7 win over Green Bay in 1980
  • An excerpt from Cindi Dammann's Tailgating Tales
  • Getting to know LB Jamar Williams

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