Game Grades: Best's Career Day Jolts Lions
With a 24-13 victory over the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football, the Detroit Lions moved their record to 5-0 and remain tied with the Green Bay Packers atop the NFC North, the NFC and the entire league.
The Lions have now won a league-leading nine consecutive regular season games. The Lions also snapped a six-game losing skid to the Bears, while reaching 5-0 for the first time since 1956. The Lions had contributions from all facets of the game. Below are the Week Five game grades ...
The offense wasn’t perfect. They punted on three of their first four possessions and threw an interception on their fifth. Despite a slow start, Matthew Stafford and company performed when it was needed.
The unit scored a touchdown on their first two drives of the second half and moved the ball in the fourth quarter to prevent a Bears comeback. The running game was more productive than it had been in the previous four contests as the Lions racked up 181 yards on the ground with an impressive nine yards per carry average.
Jahvid Best put his speed on full display, including an 88-yard touchdown run. He finished with a career-best 168 yards on the ground.
Stafford enjoyed the balance, throwing a season-low 26 passes. He had some erratic throws early but found his groove and finished with 219 yards, two touchdowns and an interception while completing 73 percent of his passes. He also had a 73-yard bomb to Calvin Johnson.
The offensive line allowed only one sack and had a solid outing.
The defense turned in another solid performance, holding the Bears to only 13 points. The defensive line applied great pressure, registering three sacks.
Jay Culter’s ability to roll out of the pocket and complete passes on the run was the only thing preventing this unit from having a dominant performance.
Matt Forte registered 116 yards on the ground and had some big runs. However, the Lions did not allow the Bears to move the ball with consistency, preventing any significant damage from Chicago’s otherwise productive running game.
The Lions were also successful in stopping a short-yardage run in a key situation. With time running out in the first quarter, the Bears were on the Lions 26 faced with a third down and needing only a yard to move the chains. They handed the ball off to Matt Forte and were stopped for no gain on consecutive downs.
It was the fourth time this year that Detroit's defensive line forced the opposition to turn the ball over on downs.
Jason Hanson was perfect in converting two field goals and did a good job kicking deep on kickoffs – either preventing a return or putting a long field in front of the returner.
Ryan Donahue also had a strong game, dropping three of his five punts inside the 20-yard line. The coverage units were solid, with a 33-yard kickoff return by Devin Hester standing as the biggest play against.
This was the best performance of the season from this unit.
The Lions played a complete and balanced game and a lot of credit should go to the coaching staff. The penalties at the start of the game were a bit of a concern but the coaching staff settled the players down. They also won their only challenge.
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