The Lions defense definitely did their part on Monday night. Holding the Bears to just 13 points and almost snapping Jay Cutler in 2 pieces.
However, the offense couldn’t get out of its own way and repeatedly made costly errors to prevent a win. Two fumbles inside the red zone, including one at the 1/2 yard line and an interception on the 4 yard line (would have been a turnover anyway, it was 4th down) prevented the Lions from crossing the goal line until just 30 seconds remained.
The team moved the ball decently well, but errant throws and dropped passes ended up stalling most drives after just a few plays. Is there someone to blame for the offensive struggles? Is it Matthew Stafford, is his leadership plateauing and his increased number of bad passes running thin with the receiving corps?
Is it the offensive line? While doing an average job, it does seem that almost half the plays Stafford has to rush his throws or he is running for his life. How about the lack of a player outside of Calvin Johnson making plays? Ryan Broyles made a few nice plays in what was just his second NFL game but that can’t be the only thing they have outside of Johnson. Brandon Pettigrew has proved he is an average, at best, NFL tight end and will be nothing more, his drops and fumbles will eventually get him benched for good.
Should everyone look higher up, is it Scott Linehan, the Offensive Coordinator? Has his play calling become stale and predictable? He seems to be trying to not only establish a running game, but he almost prefers to cram the run game down the opponent’s throat, and that isn’t how this team was built.
If that is Jim Schwartz’s direction than it becomes his problem, but if he is a hands off the offense kind of coach, then maybe a change is needed. Linehan has done a good job at OC for the Lions the past few years, but sometimes players will tune a coach out after repeatedly hearing the same thing. If it does, indeed, come down to needing a new OC, there will be plenty available in the offseason with lots of coaching changes that will be made across the league.
And this is the NFL, where even though the Lions are 2-4 and trending downward, they are only one season away from winning the division. Because even though it looked like they were never in the game last night, they only lost by 6 points.
In other Lions news, Nate Burleson broke his leg and is out for the year. This will further hurt the struggling offense as he was one of the veteran leaders that needed to keep Titus Young’s head on straight and could be relied upon to actually catch the WR Screen pass. However this does give Broyles a chance to step up, next to Young and show what he has, see if he can replace Burleson as the possession receiver in this line up.
And in my preseason predictions for the Lions, I said the Bears would win this game and it would be OK as long as Suh snapped Cutler’s head off…and boy did he try to: