The Detroit Lions offense went over, through and around the Bears’ defense for 125 rushing yards (the Lions netted 30 off a fake-punt run) and 405 passing, rendering specific positives somewhat moot. Linebackers were a significant part of an overall defense that did not come out with the resolve and fire to shut down a potentially vulnerable 0-5 Lions team.
“It’s a four-quarter game,” middle linebacker Christian Jones said. “We kept playing hard, but they just outplayed us at the end. It’s as simple as that.”
Pernell McPhee provided a major contribution with pass coverage on a third-and-one on which the Lions spread Bears personnel out with a nickel look. McPhee’s coverage allowed the pass rush to get home for a sack and end of a drive. McPhee also played a fourth-quarter reverse perfectly to create a tackle for loss by LaRoy Reynolds and pulverized Detroit right tackle LaAdrian Waddle with a bull rush for his fourth sack of the season.
But McPhee also was flagged for roughing the passer to give the Lions an extra shot at the end zone after a third-down incompletion late in the fourth quarter.
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“I was getting turned and felt like the tackle was pulling me as I made the move,” McPhee said. “I fell down, and when I looked up, I saw the flag on the ground. I can’t leave that in the referee’s hands. I’ve got to make my move faster and finish the play.”
With middle linebacker Shea McClellin inactive with a knee injury, Jones again directed the defense. Jones finished with a team-high nine tackles but whiffed badly to allow a 16-yard catch-and-run by running back Theo Riddick that moved the Lions back into field-goal range after a holding penalty had moved them back.
Linebackers did deliver several crucial hits at key points. Sam Acho’s tackle for loss on a screen pass to Golden Tate early in the fourth quarter set up a third-and-long that allowed the Bears’ pass rush to force Matthew Stafford into a hurried throw toward Riddick. Jones delivered a hit on Riddick as the ball was hitting off Riddick’s hand, allowing Jonathan Anderson to make an interception at the Detroit 25.
Moon's Grade: D