Brian Gornick, Sports Editor
When the clock struck zero yesterday and the Detroit Lions lost 28-13 to the Chicago Bears, frustration from Lions fandom was understandable.
The Lions have gone 3-2 in their past five weeks with two wins against the Chargers and Bears coming off game-winning drives. Their win against the Saints was almost overshadowed by the team almost choking away a 21-0 lead. The Lions' prevous loss to the Green Bay Packers on Thanksgiving was a complete blowout early on, with the Lions making marginal gains to still fall 29-22.
Many of the same issues that have plagued the Lions during this rough period came back to bite them once again against the Bears.
Quarterback Jared Goff had another game in which he struggled to take care of the football, throwing an interception in each half as well as losing a critical fumble in Lions territory in the third quarter that allowed the Bears to score a touchdown on the following possession. Goff finished the game with three turnovers and a QBR of 36.8.
In their past six games, four of those have ended with the Lions turning the ball over at least three times.
Another issue the Lions had is defensive scoring. While the Lions defense has improved from the past two seasons under defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn, the defense ranks eighth worst in the NFL in defensive scoring, giving up over 24 points a game.
The biggest issue the Lions faced yesterday against the Bears however, was the offensive play calling stalling in the face of adversity. In the latter half of the 2022 season and the beginning of the 2023 season, the Lions showed an ability to bounce back from adversity. Whether it be turnovers, bad penalties, or simply getting a play stopped behind the line of scrimmage, there was a confidence in the team that they could respond with a score of their own.
Now, however, the offense yesterday showed that when they are thrown off their rhythm, they cannot get any momentum going. The first quarter resulted in the Bears getting to an early 10-0 lead. The Lions first offensive drive saw the Lions pushed into a 2nd and 21 after a tripping call on center Graham Glasgow. After a chunk yardage play to set up a 3rd and long situation, Goff walked into pressure and took a sack, forcing the Lions to punt. The second offensive drive resulted in a deep pass by Goff that was intercepted, keeping the Lions scoreless in the first quarter of the game.
After a second quarter that saw two scoring drives, the second half was a complete disaster. The Lions offense had three consecutive drives in which they had to punt after three plays, followed by a fumble by Goff in Lions territory, sealing the team’s fate after the Bears responded with a touchdown.
The main topic of discussion has to be the Lions inability to mold their offense to fit the situation. It’s now become a common occurrence in which the offense is pushed into long yardage situations on 3rd and 4th downs, and fails to convert.
Whether it's the play of Goff, the scheme itself, or simply a talent issue, most Lions fans can agree that they need to figure out how to get out of this hole they’ve dug quickly. With the playoffs looming and the NFC North not clinched, the Lions cannot afford to have many more games like this one.