No Tommie Harris? No Nathan Vasher? No problem. The Detroit Lions were so awful and so inept that the Bears nearly pitched a shutout, and quite possibly might have done just that had Devin Hester not fumbled on a punt return.
In my game breakdown, I suggested that it was premature to be concerned about Matt Forte’s declining rushing totals in each of the first four games. Well, guess what? Now is the time to be concerned. Against the 32nd run defense in the league, Forte managed just 36 yards on 15 carries and the Bears as a team accumulated just 97 yards on 34 attempts, a 2.8 average. That didn’t hurt the Bears today because they played such an inferior opponent, but it could haunt them down the road.
Perhaps it’s too early to push the panic button. The Lions did stack the box and plan on taking the run away from the Bears. But the offensive line didn’t create any running lanes for Forte.
That’s a segway to Kyle Orton, who probably played his best game yet as a Bear. 24 of 34 for 334 yards, 2 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. He even made much better throws downfield, something he’s been erratic at this season. My one criticism of Kyle Orton prior to this season was that he could not make all the NFL throws. But if he’s able to make those throws with more consistency while not impeding his judgment, he suddenly tranforms from a game manager to a competent NFL starting quarterback.
But we have to see consistency in those downfield passes.
The defense played spectacular, but let’s not forget whose offense they were playing against. As I mentioned earlier, the Bears were backed up deep in their own end after a Hester fumble and they collapsed and couldn’t hold on to the shutout. But they picked up 4 sacks and 1 interception — by Charles Tillman, which he returned to the house for a score — and held the Lions to 185 total yards. That’s the kind of effort you can be proud of, but they can’t get overconfident because they head to Atlanta next week against an underrated Falcons team that knocked off the Packers at Lambeau Field today.
To recap, a complete effort from top to bottom, but this was the kind of game — and the manner in which they did it — that they needed to win.