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FOUR DOWNS: Secondary struggles without Slay


Lions All-Pro cornerback Darius Slay was inactive Sunday in Chicago. To say Detroit's secondary missed him would be a bit of an understatement.

Missed communication, missed tackles and an overall lack of execution dogged the Lions' secondary all game, and helped lead to a 34-22 defeat at the hands of the Bears.

Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky threw for a career-high 355 yards and three touchdowns and finished with a nearly perfect 148.6 passer rating.

Without Slay, the Lions moved Nevin Lawson back outside and started veteran DeShawn Shead. The used a mix of players in the slot, including safety Tavon Wilson. The Bears attacked Shead and Lawson early and often, with both giving up touchdown catches.

The frustrating part about the performance for Shead after the game was that the Bears didn't do anything the Lions weren't expecting.

"That's definitely the frustrating part," said Shead. "Not executing. We just have to get better, me included. I felt I could have done better to help this team."

No one in Detroit's secondary had a good performance Sunday. It was a collection of failures for them in Slay's absence.

"Look, we're going to play with whoever's healthy and whoever's ready to go," head coach Matt Patricia said after the game of the secondary. "For us, if you're out on the field, you have to perform.

"You have to go out and execute. We didn't do a good job early on with our execution in the back end and we just have to keep coaching it, keep working and get better."


Detroit got to Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins just one time last week. Ziggy Ansah's second-quarter sack was the only time they hit Cousins in the Week 9 loss.

It was more of the same this week against Trubisky. Da'Shawn Hand recorded a sack late in the game, but that was the only one for Detroit's defense. They hit Trubisky just three times total in the game.

The coverage and the rush have an important relationship on defense. One usually can't be good without the other. Sunday's performance from Detroit's defense is the perfect example of that. They couldn't cover to give the rush time to get home. They also couldn't rush to give the cover a chance to be successful

"It's a great quarterback over there," Patricia said of Trubusky. "He does a good job of extending some plays and getting out of the pocket and use his vision downfield. Another guy that can run really well.

"He turns into a running back and extended some of those plays and was able to convert those into first downs. We missed opportunities when we did have a good rush. It wasn't in sync well enough."


Lions outside linebacker Devon Kennard compared Trubisky to Seattle's Russell Wilson earlier this week. Trubisky has a long way to go before he's on Wilson's level, but the two do have one thing in common this year – terrific performances vs. the Lions.

Wilson recorded a perfect passer rating a few weeks ago in Seattle's 28-14 win over the Lions. He threw only three incompletions all game and notched three touchdowns.

Just a few weeks later, the Lions again had no answer for a versatile quarterback with the ability to run.

Like Wilson, the second-year Bears quarterback threw three touchdowns against Detroit's defense. He ran for another score and finished with a passer rating of 148.6. A perfect rating is 158.3. Trubisky completed 23 of his 30 pass attempts in the game.

View game photos from the Detroit Lions Week 10 game against the Chicago Bears.


Another loss and another slow start for Detroit's offense.

Detroit started punt, punt and interception the first three possessions, and found themselves down 26-0 midway through the second quarter.

At that point the game plan is out the window and it's scramble time. That's been the case way too often for Detroit's offense, especially early on in the three straight losses.

Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford really seemed at a loss for words after the game.

"Just didn't make enough plays," he said. "We didn't start fast as a team. Everyone included. We have to do a better job of that."

Stafford threw two fourth-quarter touchdowns after the game was out of hand, but Detroit managed just 10 points through the first three quarters. It's been an issue in each of the last three games.

Stafford said the offense has to just put their heads down and go back to work. Patricia made the point after the game that the coaches have to do a better job getting the Lions ready to play.

That certainly goes for offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter and the coaches on offense. It's looked pretty bad on that side of the football the last three weeks, and that's been a big disappointment with a veteran quarterback and experienced coordinator.

"They were just more ready to go than we were," Patricia said. "They out-executed us early."

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