CHICAGO – Burning questions: What ragged defense, no-show offense and another scoring binge by the opponent meant in the Detroit Lions' 34-22 loss to the Chicago Bears at Ford Field Sunday:
Question: What did it show about the Lions in their third straight loss?
Answer: It wasn't one side of the ball or one play or one strategic decision by head coach Matt Patricia that made the difference. It's what happened from start to finish, and not just in Sunday's game but what has happened too many times for too long.
The Bears blitzed them from the start to hold a 26-0 lead midway through the first half. The Lions were not competitive, with no answer for what the opponent was doing. It's the same thing that happened before this season when the Jets scored 31 straight points in the opener, and the same when the Seahawks scored 28 straight two weeks ago.
It happened so many times a year ago – Saints, Panthers, Ravens, Bengals and more – and it hasn't stopped.
When teams getting rolling, the Lions have not been good enough to stop them. That's why they missed the playoffs last year, and that's why they're in a dire position after Sunday's loss to a division rival.
Q. North race: Did the loss knock them out of contention in the North?
A. No, but it knocked them down another notch to make their situation more desperate.
The Bears lead the North with a 6-3 won-loss record. The Lions are in last place at 3-6. With seven games left, it would take an unusual set of circumstances for the Lions to catch up with the way they've been playing in the losing streak.
View game photos from the Detroit Lions Week 10 game against the Chicago Bears.
Q. Key stat: What was it Sunday?
A. It was 355 yards by Mitchell Trubisky, the Bears' second-year quarterback. He threw three TD passes, ran for a TD and did not have a turnover. He outplayed Matthew Stafford, who didn't do much until the fourth quarter, when he threw both of his TD passes.
Stafford had two interceptions, and he was sacked six times while the Lions got to Trubisky only once.
That makes 16 sacks given up in the last two games, and the defense has gotten only two – one in each game.
Q. Strategy --fourth and go: On their first possession of the game the Lions went for it on fourth and two at the Bears' 40, Right call?
A. Yes. It's what I would have done. The Bears had scored first to take a 6-0 lead, and the Lions had a good drive going. Trying to keep it going was the right call. The Lions got the first down on Kerryon Johnson's 10-yard run.
Q. Fourth and punt: Four plays later, the Lions punted instead of trying a 55-yard field goal on fourth and 17.
A. Probably. It wasn't a yes or no situation. The field goal team was sent out originally, then brought back to the sideline after the Lions' called time. The punt team went out, and Sam Martin's punt forced the Bears to start their position at the nine-yard line.
Punting was probably the right call because of the field position the Bears would have gotten with a miss.
Q. Third and flinch: An offside was a key play in the Bears' drive to a touchdown on their second possession. How much did that hurt, and is there any excuse for it?
A. First things first. On a 91-yard drive that takes nine plays to score a touchdown, one play does not do all the damage. However, giving away a first down is unacceptable. It was 6-0, and the Bears had third and four at their 15, and Devon Kennard was flagged for being offside.
That gave the Bears a first down, and they were on their way to their second touchdown. It took them six more plays to go the final 80 yards, with Allen Robinson getting the touchdown on a 36-yard catch on third and 15.
Q. Third and run: It was 13-0, and the Lions had Nick Bellore run the ball on third and one at the 34 early in the second quarter. Right call?
A. No. Bad play call. It was the Lions' 14th play of the game after running 504 offense plays in the first eight games. That makes 518 offensive plays called. I'd rate it in the bottom 18 – and maybe lower. Stay tuned for further review.
Q. TD drive, bottom line: What was it on that 91-yard drive?
A. Add it up: offside on third and four deep in the Bears' territory; touchdown on third and 15 at the 36. The long and short of it is the Lions' defense could not make a play when it had the advantage on third and 15, and it isn't nearly good enough to give away anything on third and four.
That's why the Lions are where they are. It was another game where they just weren't good enough.