Lions Den: Week 4 vs. Bears Recap
The Detroit Lions would look to get back on track in Week 4 & a matchup against the somewhat depleted Chicago Bears would prove to be in their favor. However, Lions fans couldn’t be too eager for their team’s matchup as there are a few signs of concern, both offensively & defensively.
For starters, despite WR Marvin Jones Jr. showing rapport with QB Matt Stafford, the rest of the receiving core has yet to show the same. WR Golden Tate in specific has yet to catch his stride after many thought would be the number-one receiver in Detroit after Calvin Johnson’s abrupt retirement. Newcomer WR Anquan Boldin also has yet to prove his veteran status with the team, not only in stats but also with leadership, as Stafford has predictably taken on that role. TE Eric Ebron also has to continue proving his worth as a dynamic tight-end, though I have been relatively satisfied with him this year.
Defensively is where the matchup with the Chicago Bears becomes interesting because they have all the weapons to exploit the Lions defensive-line & secondary. Despite Bears RB Jeremy Langford being out with an ankle injury, backup Jordan Howard is certainly a viable option as the Lions are still missing DE Ezekiel Ansah & LB DeAndre Levy. With Bears WR Alshon Jeffery, WR Eddie Royal, & TE Zach Miller are proven threats, the Lions would have their hands full in Week 4 & exploiting the pass defense is exactly what the Bears did to jump on the scoreboard first after a four-yard touchdown from backup QB Brian Hoyer to Eddie Royal (7-0).
The first half for the Lions is precisely where the frustration begins with the team as the offensive line still can’t protect Matt Stafford as if their contracts depend on it (imagine that). Now, I can’t put it all on the offensive line when the Lions front office hasn’t spent any money on a decent offensive line. When your team’s punter makes more money than anyone on the O-line, that should typically be a problem for any team but we are talking about the Lions here. Another point of emphasis for the Lions is, yet again, penalties. Six penalties in the first half? I feel like I’ve told this story before when it comes to the Lions. Oh, wait, I have. The Lions are 29th in the league in penalties. A late 50-yard field goal by K Matt Prater would finally put the Lions on the scoreboard, sending them to the locker room to make a number of adjustments for the second half (7-3).
The Lions would open up the second half with a different strut than the first half, taking advantage with their speed but would get stalled by a goal line stand by the Chicago defense, ending the drive with another field goal (7-6). Why the Lions coaching staff decide to completely stray from the play calls that got them to the end zone once they finally get to the end zone is beyond me, I guess that’s why I’m sitting at my desk writing this rather than coaching football myself, but I digress. The Bears wasted no time on the following drive capping off the 75-yard drive with a six-yard touchdown to Zach Miller, completely taking the Lions secondary for a joyride throughout (14-6). Taking the field following a 25-yard field goal by the Bears (17-6), the Lions would be in full attack mode now down 11 points & things looked good until Stafford threw his second interception on the day. The Bears would look to run down the clock & successfully did so with 2:12 left on the clock before punting it away to WR Andre Roberts, who would run it all the way back for an 85-yard touchdown (17-14). That, however, was as close as the Lions would get & would end Week 4 with another loss.
The good news for Lions fans? Well, Stafford seems to like passing the ball to Anquan Boldin on short out routes, which could prove to be useful the more & more Lions find themselves in “third-and-short” scenarios. Also, Eric Ebron is also fighting through injury & still producing solid numbers when he’s thrown the ball.
The bad news? There’s plenty. Stafford looks as if he’s regressing back to his old, familiar ways & the leadership we’ve seen in previous weeks this year was nowhere to be found this past Sunday. RB Dwayne Washington, who I praised last week, could be questionable in Week 5 after an ankle injury which means Theo Riddick will most likely be seeing the majority of the carries for the Lions offense but the team is losing depth, fast.
The Lions will take their 1-3 record back home to Detroit as they take on the Carson Wentz-led Philadelphia Eagles in Week 5