Detroit Lions vs. Chicago Bears: Live Grades and Analysis for Detroit

Nick KostoraContributor IIINovember 10, 2013

DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 29: Matt Forte #22 of the Chicago Bears tries to escape the tackle of Stephen Tulloch #55 of the Detroit Lions during the fourth quarter at Ford Field on September 29, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. Detroit won the game 40-32. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The Detroit Lions went into Chicago and walked out with a 21-19 victory over the Chicago Bears, taking the lead of the NFC North division.

Detroit Lions Game Grades
Positional Unit1st-Half GradesFinal Grade
Pass OffenseBB+
Pass DefenseB-B
Run OffenseDB+
Run DefenseAA+
Special TeamsCC-
Lions vs. Bears

Final Grades for the Detroit Lions

Pass Offense: Detroit’s passing attack had some stretches where it really struggled, but it was effective overall. Calvin Johnson continued to dominate, racking up 83 receiving yards and two scores. Seven different players caught passes and quarterback Matthew Stafford found the open receiver when he had to. He finished with 219 passing yards and three touchdowns.

Pass Defense: Jay Cutler carved up the Lions pass defense in the first half, but he was slowed in the second half when his groin injury flared up. Detroit’s pass defense took advantage of his misfortune and Cutler finished the day with 250 passing yards. Josh McCown took over near the end of the fourth quarter and managed 62 yards through the air. This was a solid effort for Detroit’s secondary.

Run Offense: Reggie Bush really found his footing in the second half as he finished the day with 105 rushing yards on just 14 carries. A 39-yard rush in the second half seemed to be a catalyst for Bush, but the fact that he received only those aforementioned 14 carries is a bit of a surprise. Joique Bell also contributed 41 rushing yards.

Run Defense: Matt Forte is one of the best running backs in the NFL and is having one of the best seasons of his career, but he was a complete non-factor against the Lions. Forte was only able to muster up 33 rushing yards on 17 carries. The defensive front for Detroit was stout all day and did not allow a run that exceeded seven yards.

Special Teams: David Akers missed a critical field goal in the fourth quarter and has now converted on just 12-of-16 attempts this season. His ineptitude has hampered the Lions in multiple spots, as has the poor returning of Micheal Spurlock. Punter Sam Martin, however, continues to be a bright spot.

Coaching: Detroit played sound, fundamental football against the Bears and had only five penalties on the day. The offense went through a long stretch without moving the ball in the second half, but when in doubt, the plays were designed to go to Calvin Johnson. It’s hard to argue with that strategy.

CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 10: Ndamukong Suh #90 of the Detroit Lions rushes against Jordan Mills #67 of the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on November 10, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

First-Half Grades for the Detroit Lions

Pass Offense: Matthew Stafford has had a number of pass deflected at the line of scrimmage. Those deflections have slowed down a Lions passing attack that has looked good otherwise. Brandon Pettigrew has an impressive four catches for 64 yards. Calvin Johnson has made his presence felt with 32 yards and Stafford has completed eight passes for 105 yards and a touchdown.

Pass Defense: Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall have the type of chemistry that few QB/WR duos in NFL history have ever possessed, and the Lions defense has struggled to slow them down. Marshall has three catches for 61 yards and a touchdown. Cutler is finding seams all over the field and has 148 passing yards and one touchdown. However, a late interception from Levy kept points off the board.

Run Offense: Detroit’s rushing attack has failed to really explode in recent weeks, and that trend has thus far continued in Chicago. Reggie Bush and Joique Bell have just eight carries between them for 28 yards. The Lions are going to the air early and often, leaving Bush and Bell scrambling to find yards when they are given the ball.

Run Defense: If there is one thing you can consistently rely on with the Lions it is a stellar rush defense. That reality held true through the first half, as Matt Forte ran for just 20 yards on nine carries. Ndamukong Suh, Nick Fairley and Willie Young have all looked good in the absence Ezekiel Ansah.

Special Teams: Sam Martin expertly handled a bad snap on a punt, but not much else has happened on the special teams-front. David Akers has kicked an extra point and Micheal Spurlock had one mediocre kick return. The unit has not been bad, but opportunities have not yet presented themselves.

Coaching: Perhaps this is personal bias, but opting for the Shotgun formation on a 4th-and-1 makes little sense to me. It cost the Lions a first down and prevented points from being scored. Outside of that mistake the coaching has been solid through two quarters.