The Bears have underwhelmed this season but still entered the day averaging nearly 350 yards of offense per game and are capable of moving the ball with a strong group of skill position players.
“I do know they have some weapons over there,” said wide receiver Calvin Johnson. “They have a lot of the same pieces… as far as the offensive side with (Alshon) Jeffery, (Brandon) Marshall, (Jay) Cutler and the big tight end, Martellus (Bennett), you know they have some fire power.”
The Lions defense proved up to the challenge.
Despite ultimately holding the Bears to a modest output of 269 yards and 17 points, the early moments of the game seemed to suggest a long day for the Lions. The Bears scored touchdowns on two of their first three drives, taking a 14-3 lead just 11:25 into the game. They attacked the Lions with quick passes and were able to pick up yards after the catch.
“(They thought) it was just best to try and attack us the same way New England did,” said safety Glover Quin. “We just had to get closer on them, get more man coverage, more matchup stuff to get body-on-body and shut that down.”
The Lions adjustments proved successful, as the Bears managed only 200 yards of offense and three points the rest of the way – and even those pedestrian numbers are inflated.
After the Lions turned the ball over on downs, the Bears took over on their own 14-yard line with less than two minutes left. The game was far out of reach at that point, but the Bears had an opportunity to pad their stats.
“I was a little frustrated when we came back out there because I knew Jay Cutler had like 190 passing yards… I was like ‘man, we got to go back out here, they are probably going to dink and dunk and get 50, 60 yards and make it look like he had a good day,” said Quin. “Then they were trying to score at the end. But, he threw a pick.”
Quin didn’t want to see Cutler and the Bears put a late blemish on an otherwise dominant performance by the defense. After all, the Bears had less than 200 yards of total offense before that drive started. With zero showing on the clock, offsetting penalties gave the Bears a shot at the end zone but it was the Lions who seized the opportunity with the aforementioned interception.
It was the secondary’s second interception of the game, the first came when cornerback Darius Slay tipped a pass on the sidelines, allowing Quin to make an acrobatic catch.
Slay is one of the defense’s unsung heroes and a big reason the unit is enjoying success this season.
“My dog Slay be locked in on game day,” said Quin. “We’ve been working with him and working with him. His confidence is sky high. He’s locked in on game day. He’s covering the elite guys and he’s shutting them down. He has to start to eventually get the respect he deserves. He’s got to keep playing and stay focused.”
With this performance, the Lions defense showed they are capable of battling back after suffering adversity.
“That’s what we talked about, is letting our DNA shine on that field and we did that,” said safety James Ihedigbo. “We saw it on offense, lighting up the scoreboard and defense shutting them (down).”