Sunday, December 21, 2014

2014 Game 15 - Lions @ Chicago Bears


The 11-4 Detroit Lions narrowly beat the 5-10 Chicago Bears 20-14 but had already been guaranteed a playoff spot before the game even started virtue of the Philadelphia Eagles losing their game this week. The Bears was an outside game, and cold, and the Lions rarely win when it's under 40 degrees out... but this time they did just enough to end whatever streak they were on there. This is also only the fourth time the Lions have won 11 games in a season, ever. On top of that, Matthew Stafford topped 4,000 yards for the fourth straight year and Calvin Johnson has once again topped 1,000 yards (I think that makes 6 years for him).

None of this information would've been the least interesting had the Lions lost and they very nearly did. Not because Chicago is a better team, or was playing better, but because of 4 plays. WR/KR Ross allowed a punt to hit him and Chicago recovered the ball in the red zone which led immediately to 7 points for them. Also on special teams, backup TE Stanford ran into the kicker giving the Bears a new set of downs which led to another 7 points. A third difference making play was Matthew Stafford's first interception, on a bad throw/decision. The forth play I am referring to was another interception that was due to Tate not taking the route that Stafford had anticipated him taking, and was therefor out of his reach, in the end zone. So basically special teams gave up the yardage necessary for the Bears to score 14 points when the defense had already stopped them and Stafford (with help from Tate) threw 2 interceptions that cost them 14 points. The score could easily have been in the area of 34 to 0. Even though they didn't lose this one, they still allowed the cold to affect them.

Matthew Stafford was 22 of 39 (56.41%) for 243 yards, 0 TDs and 2 INTs. Bell and Bush combined for 128 rushing yards and 2 TDs, though Bell didn't play the entire first quarter due to violating team rules (likely late for a meeting). Prater did the rest. On defense the Lions allowed only 64 yards rushing, 55 from Forte, but they did allow Clausen who hasn't played in years to be 23 of 39 (58.97%) for 181 yards 2 TDs and 1 INT. Clausen faced a much better defense and yet completed 1 more pass on the same number of attempts, Stafford really needs to focus better if the Lions are going to do anything at all in the post season.

Next up (and the last one for the regular season) is for the NFC North division title, in Green Bay. Whoever wins is the North Division champs and gets a first week bye in the playoffs, whoever loses gets a wildcard spot. Other teams will determine which seed each team will end up as. Every player on the Lions will have to do much better in the cold of Lambeau Field to win this one, and winning it could really help them not only with the bye, but home field in the playoffs. Merry Christmas everyone.

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