The defense allowed the Lions 91 total yards and zero points in the first half, of some significance given Detroits average of 25.2 points and nearly 420 yards per game. Detroit finished with 340 yards total but much of it was late and with the Bears playing to protect a 13-0 lead until the final minute.
Detroits game plan was curious: 52 pass plays, 15 run plays, despite running backs averaging more than five yards per carry. And the Bears were effectively neutralizing the Lions biggest offensive weapon.
DEFENSIVE LINE A-
Julius Peppers overran left tackle Jeff Backus for a first-quarter sack and came out of a second-quarter scrum with a fumble recovery to end a Lions scoring threat. Detroit tried to establish the run with Mikel Leshoure but the front left few gaps for yardage. Shea McClellin and Stephen Paea shared a second-quarter sack.
Henry Meltons forced fumble by Joique Bell at the Chicago one turned back a third-quarter Lions scoring threat. Israel Idonijes sack of Matthew Stafford in the final minute was a 19-yard loss. The line finished with six additional hits on Stafford.
Lance Briggs ended a Detroit second-quarter drive with a pass deflection and topped that on a crucial subsequent possession inside the Chicago 25 with a forced fumble. Brian Urlacher grabbed a Detroit fumble inside the Chicago 1 and was active in coverage with two pass breakups and a tackle for loss. Briggs had eight tackles and Urlacher seven, six of them solo. Nick Roach saw little action with the Bears playing predominantly nickel for the game.
Charles Tillman spent much of his evening shadowing Calvin Johnson and shut the Lions linchpin in the first half when Detroit netted 43 passing yards. Johnson was targeted three times with no catches in the half. He finished with just three receptions on the 11 passes thrown to him, and no touchdowns. Tillman broke up a throw to Johnson in the end zone and the Bears recovered a Detroit fumble a play later.
D.J. Moore ended a scoring threat with his second interception of the season while sharing nickel duty with Kelvin Hayden. Tim Jennings led the Bears with nine tackles.
Chris Conte and Major Wright delivered effective blitzes without getting a sack but pressuring Stafford. Each had a near interception and Conte was credited with six solo tackles.
The defense used occasional blitzes for pressure on Stafford and personnel shuffling confused the Detroit offense, including Johnson. The defensive line rotation was using a different foursome almost every play at times and the scheme forced the Lions to become impatient, leading to three red-zone turnovers.
The White Sox made some adjustments to their 40-man roster ahead of Monday's deadline to protect players from the Rule 5 Draft.
Rules stipulate that a player who signed when he was 18 or younger and has played five seasons of professional baseball is eligible to be selected in the Rule 5 Draft if he is not on his team's 40-man roster. Because of that, the White Sox — like the rest of the teams in the league — made some moves Monday to protect certain players.
The White Sox announced Monday afternoon that they purchased the contracts of infielder Casey Gillaspie from Triple-A Charlotte, outfielder Eloy Jimenez from Double-A Birmingham, outfielder Luis Alexander Basabe and pitcher Ian Clarkin from Class-A Winston-Salem and outfielder Micker Adolfo from Class-A Kannapolis.
Simultaneously, pitchers Chris Beck and Tyler Danish were outrighted to Charlotte.
The most notable name on the list is of course Jimenez, the highly ranked outfielder acquired from the Cubs in July's trade that sent Jose Quintana to the North Side. Jimenez was a no-brainer to be protected after he slugged 19 homers and hit 22 doubles with 65 RBIs in his 89 games in the minors last season, splitting time between Birmingham and Winston-Salem in the White Sox system and Class-A Myrtle Beach in the Cubs' system. Jimenez is ranked as the White Sox No. 1 prospect by MLB.com.
Gillaspie was acquired in the trade that sent Dan Jennings to the Tampa Bay Rays. The brother of former White Sox infielder Conor Gillaspie, he hit 15 homers and 20 doubles in 125 games all at the Triple-A level. Gillaspie is ranked as the White Sox No. 11 prospect by MLB.com.
Basabe, the White Sox No. 17 prospect, was in last offseason's Chris Sale trade and hit .221 with five homers and 12 doubles at Winston-Salem. Adolfo, the White Sox No. 14 prospect, was signed as a free agent in 2013 and hit .264 with 16 homers and 28 doubles at Kannapolis. Clarkin, the White Sox No. 22 prospect, was acquired in the seven-player trade with the Yankees in July and posted a 2.60 ERA and 63 strikeouts in 86.2 innings of work at the Class-A level.
The 27-year-old Beck posted a very high 6.40 ERA in 64.2 innings out of the White Sox bullpen last season. Danish made just one appearance with the big league club last season, getting his first major league win in the second game of a doubleheader against the Detroit Tigers.
Only three more months till the White Sox are back in action.
The South Siders announced their spring training schedule Monday, with Cactus League play commencing Feb. 23 out in Arizona.
The White Sox have the unenviable task of opening the exhibition schedule against the defending National League champions, the Los Angeles Dodgers playing hosts to the Pale Hose in Glendale. The White Sox will be the visitors, though they share the Camelback Ranch facility with the Dodgers, so they'll still be in their home ballpark. Their first official home game comes two days later, in a Feb. 25 matchup against the Cincinnati Reds.
The White Sox will face off against the Cubs in three "Cactus Crosstown" games on Feb. 27 and March 10 in Mesa and on March 16 in Glendale.
And in a cool wrap to the preseason, the White Sox will square off against their own Triple-A affiliate March 26 in Charlotte. The game against the Knights should be a fun watch considering all the future White Sox expected to make their way to the big leagues over the next couple seasons. The Knights' roster could be loaded with highly ranked prospects depending on how things shake out.
Here's the full schedule: