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NOTEBOOK: Lions' offense struggles in loss to Bears

CHICAGO – Third-year wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown and rookie tight end Sam LaPorta have been the key cogs all season long in Detroit's passing game.

LaPorta entered Sunday's game against the Bears with 64 receptions for 679 yards and six touchdowns. He was the first tight end in NFL history to catch at least 60 passes for 675 yards and six touchdowns in his first 12 NFL games.

St. Brown had 87 catches on the year for 1,063 yards and six touchdowns. He entered Sunday sixth in receptions (288) in league history through a player's first three seasons and counting.

But credit Chicago's defense for taking two of Detroit's most consistent weapons out of the game Sunday in a 28-13 win at Soldier Field. St. Brown caught just three of his nine targets for 21 yards (7.0 average). LaPorta was thrown at six times and caught just two of those targets for 23 yards.

"They did a good job on defense," Lions quarterback Jared Goff said after the loss. "We didn't connect like maybe we'd like to on some of those. I'll have to go back and look but I thought we had some guys where we'd like to be able to make some plays. I'd like to be able to make some better throws on some of these.

"Unfortunately, we just didn't connect. It happens. It sucks. We need to be better."

Detroit totaled just 267 yards of offense, well below the 400 they were averaging coming in. They put themselves behind the sticks with some costly penalties and didn't push the ball down the field enough to help soften the Bears' defense over the middle and in the short and immediate parts of the field, where St. Brown and LaPorta do most of their damage. Goff had just one pass play greater than 20 yards on the afternoon (27 yards to Josh Reynolds).

It's the second time in two weeks a defense has been able to limit St. Brown's receptions. The Saints focused extra attention on him and allowed him to catch just two passes last week, though LaPorta made up for it with a big game (9 receptions for 140 yards). That wasn't the case this week vs. Chicago and Detroit's passing game struggled as a result.

View photos from the Detroit Lions vs. Chicago Bears Week 14 game at Soldier Field on Sunday, Dec. 10 in Chicago, IL.


According to Bears quarterback Justin Fields, all the Bears tried to do on their 4th & 13 play late in the third quarter was get Detroit to jump offsides. Unfortunately for the Lions, Aidan Hutchinson obliged.

"Yeah, I mean, basically we were just lined up in a formation, and we tried to just get them to jump offsides," Fields said. "Just one-on-one and did a dummy protection adjustment to make it feel like a real play, and of course the second one we got somebody to jump.

"At that point you want to convert because I think it was 4th & 12? That's only a five-yard penalty. Did a great job of front protecting. I think they did a great job selling it and stuff like that and D.J. (Moore) ran the ball hard. We practice that each and every week, so it was great execution by everyone."

Hutchinson was upset with himself after the game that he made the mistake.

Fields hit Moore for a 38-yard touchdown and that proved to be the winning score.


The Lions recorded three sacks Sunday and one was from Hutchinson, who totaled two tackles (one solo), two quarterback hits, one pass defense, one tackle for loss and a sack. He upped his career total to 16.0 sacks, passing Ezekiel Ansah (15.5) and Tracy Scroggins (15.5) for the most sacks a Lions player has produced through their first two career seasons.


Look for veteran linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin to continue to get run on defense moving forward. He recorded one tackle, one tackle for loss, one pass defense and a sack Sunday. A couple of those were on critical third downs.

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