LIONS INSIDER

TWENTYMAN: The Good and the Bad from Sunday's win over Chicago

Posted Sep 30, 2013

The play of both the offensive and defensive lines was one of the bright spots for the Lions on Sunday, but they needed to be better closing out the game

The Detroit Lions held serve at home Sunday vs. Chicago, 40-32, and earned their third win in four tries this season.

The first quarter of the season is done and the Lions sit atop the NFC North and have one of the top records in the NFC.

The good always outweighs the bad in a win, but let’s take a look at both from Sunday’s key division win.

THE GOOD …

  • The Lions offensive and defensive lines were outright dominant against Chicago.

    The offensive line allowed just one sack and the Lions run game put up 159 yards and a 5.3 yards per attempt.

Entering the game, the Bears defense was allowing just 88.6 yards per game on the ground. They were without Pro Bowl defensive tackle Henry Melton, and that certainly had an impact, but the Lions won at the point of attack and running back Reggie Bush wasn’t touched until he got into the second and even third levels a lot of times.

Defensively, the Lions got to Cutler three times in the contest. He’d been sacked only three times all year coming into the game.

In all, the Lions defense had three sacks, four tackles-for-loss, six quarterback hits, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and three interceptions.

All that started upfront.

  • The Lions decisively won the field position battle.

The average starting spot for the Lions was their own 43-yard line. Three interceptions and a 57-yard Micheal Spurlock punt return were a big factor, but so too was the Lions offense recording just one three-and-out in the game.

The Bears, on the other hand, started from their own 25-yard line on average.

Coming into the game, the Lions’ average field position was their own 37-yard line in a win over Minnesota, their own 15-yard line in a loss in Arizona and their own 21-yard line last week in a win in Washington.

  • Penalties have been an issue at times this season for the Lions, but they weren’t vs. Chicago.

They were penalized just three times for a total of 25 yards.

Defensive end Ziggy Ansah was called for a 5-yard offside penalty.

Linebacker Rocky McIntosh was flagged for a 15-yard horse collar penalty on Devin Hester.

Linebacker DeAndre Levy was penalized five yards for an illegal contact penalty down field.

  • The Lions entered the game No. 1 in the NFL in third down defense, allowing opposing offenses to convert on just a 26.5 percent clip.

The Lions didn’t allow a third-down conversion through three quarters on Sunday. Chicago finished 1-of-13 on third down.

THE BAD …

  • The Lions were trying to milk the clock and close out the game in the last four minutes with a 40-24 lead, but running back Joique Bellfumbled the ball with 3:06 remaining and the Bears recovered. The fumble led to an Earl Bennett touchdown catch and subsequent two-point conversion to trim the Lions lead to 40-32.

    Another fumble, this one by quarterback Matthew Stafford with 26 seconds left in the first half at the Chicago 40-yard line, prevented the Lions from potentially extending a 30-10 lead. Instead, the fumble led to a late Bears field goal four plays latter that trimmed the Lions lead to 30-13 at the half.

  • With starting cornerbacks Chris Houston (leg) and Rashean Mathis (concussion) out of the game, Cutler completed 17 of 25 passes for 157 yards with two touchdowns passes in the fourth quarter.
  • The Lions had a comfortable lead, and were admittedly playing to not give up any quick scores, but the Bears receivers were able to make too many plays on the outside late in that game against the Lions' young reserve cornerbacks.

  • The Lions continue to struggle with their third-down offense.
  • They entered the game converting just 26.5 percent of the time (24th in NFL) and were limited to just a 2-for-10 clip on Sunday.

    Offensive coordinator Scott Linehan said last week that not being able to convert on third-and-short was his biggest concern there. The Lions missed on a third-and-1 and third-and-2 vs. Bears, both leading to David Akers field goals inside the Bears 25-yard line.