“It’s huge,” Briggs said regarding the Monday night matchup between the Bears and the then 4-0 Detroit Lions. “It’s a division game. And it’s a game that puts us right in the mix or will set us back three games. We’re just coming off two losses in the conference. This is a must-have. We have to have it, period.”
Too bad Briggs and his 31st ranked defense (Going into Monday night) couldn’t deliver.
Instead, the Lions rolled over the Bears in a 24-13 loss that saw the Bears’ defense giving up big plays that we haven’t been accustomed to seeing in recent years. Never mind the second quarter 73 yard bomb from Lions’ quarterback Matthew Stafford to Calvin Johnson for the moment. What was really surprising was the third quarter touchdown run by Lions runningback Jahvid Best for 88 untouched yards. Yes, not one single Bears player got a hand on Best as he stormed through the once vaunted Chicago defense.
“We’re playing like sh*t…” Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher said. “We’re not disciplined; we’re not running to our gaps, we’re not physical. I don’t know what is going on with the big plays this year. That’s just not us.”
Everyone knew Johnson was going to get his on Monday night; he’s just too good…but in the form of a 73 yard touchdown reception? Definitely not impossible, as we saw tonight, because of his talent but a little surprising given the Bears history of preventing the “big play” from happening.
“We’ve got to look in the mirror and do some self-evaluation,” said Bears safety Chris Harris, who was smoked by Johnson on the play. “OK, Calvin is a game-changer; he might be the best receiver in the NFL right now. But we have to fix some things, starting with myself. I wasn’t deep enough in the Cover 2.”
Harris may feel the fixing starts with him but it certainly doesn’t end with him or the defense…
Quarterback Jay Cutler and runningback Matt Forte were the lone bright spots on the other side of the ball. However, nine false start penalties on the Bears’ beleaguered offensive line and the age old fact that they can’t keep Cutler upright long enough made matters worse.
“We were going against a loud crowd, but that isn’t an excuse,” Bears head coach Lovie Smith said in regards to the false starts.
There’s also no excuse for the apparent confusion of the offense which periodically this season, including tonight, have forced the Bears to call early timeouts. By the end of the first quarter, the Bears burned all of their time outs with the final one being sacrificed on a bone-headed play challenge by Smith.
The “bone-headedness” of the Bears needs to end quickly as the Lions are now 5-0 as well are the Green Bay Packers. The Bears sit behind both Detroit and Green Bay in the NFC North and will be facing another divisional opponent next weekend when the last place Minnesota Vikings come to Soldier Field.
You can count out any chance of the Bears capturing the NFC North title for a second straight season. They’re going to have a tough battle ahead of them just to even get a whiff of the final wildcard spot in the playoffs. Before they can even start thinking about the battle, they need to start correcting these mistakes in between opponents.
If Briggs says the game against the Lions was a must-have, he better say that next week’s game against the Vikings is a must-win.