There's a lot of fuss right now that the Lions "should have won the game." I love this in football. I really do. Take the last play, or the biggest play, and assume that it was the only play that could have made a difference in the game. How about if the Lions want to win a game they can try picking up a first down more than once in the first 28 minutes of the second half?
The simple fact is that this game should not have even been close. Take away the three fumbles and the Bears probably come close to scoring 40 points in that game, so for every jackass that's saying that "should have been a touchdown", well, so should the four possession the Bears fucked away in the Lions redzone.
Anywho, let's break things down methodically.
Jay Cutler: I'm putting the big guy up front this week. 372 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 108 rating. Those are outstanding numbers. The interception was a bad decision, but it was the only one he made all game. He threw deep, intermediate, and short passes well, and while Forte and the line should be given all the credit in the world for that outstanding 89 yard touchdown catch, Cutler placed that ball perfectly and gave him the room to run. He should have had a third TD pass on the first drive of the game, but DA dropped it. Good on you, Jay. Keep it up.
Matt Forte: Add today to the Raiders pre-season game as evidence that the kid has his speed back. The run game wasn't so hot, but he's still the first Bears RB with 200+ yards from scrimmage since Neal Anderson. He and Taylor both are extremely capable receivers. And his game winning touchdown catch was a thing of beauty as well.
The Linebackers: Please baby Jesus let these three stay healthy this year. Detroit gained 20 yards rushing. 20. I don't care if they're the Detroit Lions, that's an impressive showing by the run game. Urlacher showed some great range and speed from sideline to sideline, Briggs made a number of key plays including a textbook strip-sack, and Tinoisamoa made his presence known as well. Shirtless hugs to these three.
Julius Peppers: He had two sacks, in my opinion, one waved off due to a ridiculous roughing call on which I'm forced to agree with Tom Thayer (a rarity), who called it "an embarrassment to the game of football", and one that knocked Matthew Stafford out of the game and forced a fumble. He was also disruptive on several other plays. Way to earn that paycheck, big fella.
Mike Martz: I am pissed he didn't even try a sneak on that goal line possession. Outside of that, however, the man called a perfect game. It was almost surreal to see a Bears team effectively run a screen play. Keep proving me wrong, Mike.
The offensive line, sorta: These guys did a lot better than I expected. They also did some really great things. Cutler had way more time to throw than he usually did last year, and the blocking on the Forte swing pass was brilliant. 2 of the sacks that the Lions had were coverage sacks, and Cutler needs to learn to throw the ball away. They weren't so great at opening holes in the run game, however, and a couple of the sacks were really terrible break downs. Overall I'd give them a C.
Lovie Smith: Mother of God, Lovie. I hate you so much. Why go for it on fourth down and pass up the easy points? At that point the defense hadn't so much as allowed Detroit a first down in the entire second half. You should have taken the 16-14 lead and assumed they'd stop the Lions and get you the ball back. You know, cuz they did. It was also nice to see the return of the Lovie Smith Puckered Asshole Prevent Defense That Stops Absolutely Nothing. As though the Panthers, Buccaneers, and Falcons games of 2008 and the Packers game last year wasn't enough evidence that this is an awful strategy, Lovie (or his partner in crime Marinelli) insisted on switching from the incredibly effective defense they'd played all game to sitting back and allowing Shaun Hill (!) to carve them up without much resistance. Even worse, he then inexplicably switched from zone to man in the red zone and left Bowman without safety help on the the Touchdown That Wasn't. Guh.
Greg Olsen: What purpose do you serve, good sir? You can't block. You drop easy passes. And you fumble after the slightest contact. I've seen enough of this. I'm wondering why I spent all season acting like Mike Martz being willing to use the tight end was a good thing.
Well, that's it for now, folks. Calm down, enjoy the win, and realize that the 463-168 edge in yardage and the 21-13 edge in first downs was far more indicative of the talent levels of those two teams than the close score. The fumbles were flukes that will go away, but the ease with which the offense and defense imposed their will on the Lions in the yardage category may be just the beginning. Obviously those numbers will change against better teams, but even last year the Bears struggled to contain the offenses of terrible teams like the Lions and Seahawks. These are good signs, people.