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3 and out: Bears vs. Lions

Published: Monday, Sept. 30, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

3 Quotes “There are no moral victories, but I thought our guys played tough for the last 30 minutes of that game, and I know as a staff we appreciate that.” – Marc Trestman

“It’s tough. I thought the defense did a good job. They held them to field goals, and I have to give us a better chance to win. I mean, three picks, it’s hard to come back from that. Have to play better.” – Jay Cutler

“We just felt like we could definitely dominate at the line of scrimmage and, obviously, they lost one of their best players – the D-tackle [Henry Melton]. So we felt like that was an area we could definitely take advantage of.” – Reggie Bush

3 things that worked
1. Throwing to Alshon –
The Bears’ second-year receiver put together some highlight-reel receptions for Cutler down the sideline. He finished with five catches for 107 yards and a touchdown, on a jump ball, plus a 27-yard run on an end around.

2. Containing Megatron – He did beat Charles Tillman for a 2-yard touchdown, but Calvin Johnson had only four catches for 44 yards on 10 targets.

3. Second-half defense – It must be taken into consideration that the Lions had a big lead and weren’t going to take many chances, but the Bears’ defense did keep things interesting. They held Detroit to 127 total yards after halftime, 0 for 4 on third downs and forced two turnovers.

3 things that didn’t work
1. Third-down offense –
The Bears converted their first third down of the game with 47 seconds left when Cutler hit Earl Bennett for a touchdown. They finished the game 1 for 13 on third down.

2. Containing Bush – The Bears’ defense struggled mightily to corral Reggie Bush, who finished the game with 22 touches for 173 yards. Bush broke tackles, and some Bears flat-out whiffed when trying to bring him down in the open field.

3. Punting – Micheal Spurlock returned a punt 57 yards for the Lions in the second quarter, setting up a touchdown. While Adam Podlesh helped keep Spurlock from scoring, his net punting average on the day was an ugly 28.8 yards.

3 moments that mattered
1 Penalty stalls drive –
The Bears were up 10-9 in the second quarter and had good field position after a horse-collar penalty on a kickoff. It ended up being bad timing for the team’s first false start of the year, when right tackle Jordan Mills jumped early on third-and-10. That set up a third-and-15, and the Bears punted, and the Lions then went on a 31-6 run.

2 Big INT return – On the first play of the series after the Lions went up, 16-10, Cutler badly underthrew Brandon Marshall and Glover Quin picked it off, returning the ball to the Bears’ 2-yard line. Stafford hit Calvin Johnson on the next play, giving the Lions 14 points in less than a minute.

3 Penalty, INT halt momentum – Facing third-and-8 in the third quarter, trailing by 14, Cutler avoided pressure and found Earl Bennett for a 27-yard gain, which could have been a huge momentum shifter. But it was called back for a hands-to-the-face penalty on Kyle Long. At first glance, it seemed Long did a fine job keeping Ndamukong Suh back, but the replay showed why Suh couldn’t get past the rookie. Cutler threw an interception on the next play.

Now what?

It means: No 16-0 season for the Bears, not that anyone expected that, but the loss was certainly a wake-up call after the hot start.

Next: The Bears’ defense will need to get better in a hurry with the Saints coming to town Sunday. New Orleans (3-0) plays the Dolphins on Monday night.

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