CHICAGO – Back to the old Chicago formula, the Bears’ defense seemed on the verge of bailing out the offense in a much better effort for Mel Tucker’s unit. However, there was a “but” at the end of any positive the Bears’ defense created in Sunday’s 21-19 loss to the Lions.
“I don’t know. We’ll see about that when we watch the film,” defensive end Julius Peppers said. “Whatever it was, it wasn’t good enough.”
The defense held Matthew Stafford and the league’s second-ranked passing offense to a season-low 219 yards, but Detroit rumbled for 145 rushing yards.
Calvin Johnson caught only six of 17 passes thrown his way, but he had two touchdowns.
The third-down defense played great after the first drive, but the unit put up goose eggs with zero sacks and zero quarterback hits.
The defense held the Lions to seven points between their first and final drives, but the 14 points on those two drives sealed it.
“A loss is a loss, so we’ve got to bet back [to work],” linebacker Jon Bostic said. “Obviously, we didn’t do enough on our part to win this game.”
The defense played much better after allowing a 12-play, 85-yard scoring drive on the Lions’ first crack at it.
“That first drive – it’s unusual that a team can grind it out against us without us coming up with a big play or turnover,” safety Chris Conte said. “They did a great job on that drive, we just kept on forcing them to grind it out, [and] for the most part, they were not able to do that.”
Conte made three key plays in the game after missing a tackle on Reggie Bush’s long run. He had a pass defended on a fourth-and-1 throw to Calvin Johnson, another one on a third-and-20 toss to Johnson in the end zone and the biggest play of all – an interception, returned 35 yards to the Lions’ 9-yard line.
Like the way the rest of the defense felt about its overall performance, though, Conte couldn’t be too thrilled with his second pick of the year. There was a “but” looming at the end of his pick.
“[Stafford] put the ball up and I just went up and got it,” he said. “But I need to score on that, because I think we got a field goal out of that offensive drive. So I need to help out the offense and score there.”
At first glance, Conte had the best game on defense, a big positive because the Bears needed him to play better.
“There’s a lot of good things on the defensive side of the ball that we could take to the next game,” he said, “... but I think there’s always things you can take away from a game and learn from.”
Gutsy call backfires: Coach Marc Trestman has shown no problem going for it on fourth down, but Michael Bush was stopped for no gain on fourth-and-1 from the Lions’ 27-yard line in the second quarter, leaving points on the board. “It’s early. We’re coming off a game where the Lions put up 500 yards and they went down the field on the first series and scored,” Trestman said. “So, that possession became critically important. The field position was such that, if we don’t get it they have to go the long field and we’ve eliminated a kickoff. So that was part of it.”