The Detroit Lions lost two of their best players early in Sunday's 24-14 loss in Chicago.
Pro Bowl center Frank Ragnow left the game in the first half with a toe injury and did not return. Outside linebacker Romeo Okwara, who led the Lions in sacks (10.0) last season, left early with an ankle injury that the team later updated to a foot injury. After the game, Lions head coach Dan Campbell said Okwara's injury was an Achilles, and that it "didn't look good."
Ragnow left the game not too long after some miscommunication on a shotgun snap led to a Lions fumble after Detroit had worked their way inside the Bears' 10-yard line on their opening drive. The Bears recovered the fumble, and the Lions came away with no points.
Ragnow entered Sunday as the top-ranked center by Pro Football Focus and the only center with a PFF grade above 90.0 through the first three weeks.
Evan Brown replaced Ragnow and did an admirable job.
Okwara limped off the field in the first half, and was looked at by trainers along the sideline for quite a while. He was trying to walk it off and then test it in front of trainers, but he was eventually ruled out.
The injuries are beginning to pile up for the Lions, who came into the game already down their starting left tackle (Taylor Decker), No. 1 wide receiver (Tyrell Williams), starting outside linebacker (Trey Flowers), top cornerback (Jeff Okudah) and his replacement (Ifeatu Melifonwu).
HARRIS COMING ON
Make it three games in a row with a sack for veteran outside linebacker Charles Harris. He sacked Bears quarterback Justin Fields and stripped the ball from him early in the fourth quarter with the Lions trailing 24-14. Chicago recovered the ball, but not until after a 24-yard loss that eventually forced a punt.
Harris also added four tackles and two quarterback hits in the contest. He's now tied his career high in sacks (three last year with Atlanta) in just four games with the Lions.
His role will be even more important moving forward with Okwara likely to be out awhile.
"Really just doing my job," Harris said after the game. "Just doing what the coaches ask me to do, position coach Kelvin Shepard, AG (defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn). They call the play and it's up to us to execute and make the play happen. I'm just doing my job. There's nothing magical. Just doing my job."
After a couple really nice games of run defense for the Lions Weeks 2 & 3, Chicago was able to push them around a bit Sunday on the ground.
Last week, Detroit held Baltimore, the league's leading rushing offense, to just 116 total yards on the ground. Before that, in a Week 2 matchup in Green Bay, Detroit held the Packers to under 100 rushing yards and a 3.1-yard average.
Chicago came out running hard early and often, and when the dust settled had 188 yards on the ground with three rushing touchdowns. The Bears averaged 4.8 yards per attempt.
"We know if we can't stop the run it'll open up a lot of other things," cornerback Amani Oruwariye said after the game.
And it did. Chicago establishing the run early allowed rookie quarterback Justin Fields to use the play action game to get some open receivers and get into a rhythm.
Campbell said after the game they need a lot of work on third down and red zone this week. He said they'll work on them all three days of practice, if needed. Detroit was 4-for-11 on third down, 1-for-3 on fourth down and 1-for-5 converting in the red zone.