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Preparing for Bears, Jim Caldwell not denying some Lions quit vs. Cardinals

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Preparing for Bears, Jim Caldwell not denying some Lions quit vs. Cardinals

While the growth of positive momentum was palpable in Chicago after a second straight Bears come-from-behind win last Sunday, something quite different and more sinister was building over in Detroit where the Lions collapsed in a 42-17 fall-from-ahead loss to the Arizona Cardinals.

Lions coach Jim Caldwell did not explicitly cite individual players for quitting, but neither did he state that full professional effort was present in a team now 0-5 and teetering on an abyss.

“I think guys still played hard and worked hard,” Caldwell said on Wednesday. “Now, if you ask me, was it every single guy? It’s tough to monitor that, to tell that deep inside every individual. They’re the only ones that can answer that question.”

[MORE BEARS: Week 6 in-foe - A Motown mess]

Caldwell benched a handful of players — among them, quarterback Matthew Stafford — as the downward spiral intensified, to the point of the Lions allowing 28 points in 13 minutes to the Cardinals.

Whether Stafford, who threw three interceptions in last Sunday’s loss after taking six sacks the week before in a loss to Seattle, was one of those effort questions is between Caldwell and quarterback. But Caldwell acknowledged that when a succession of setbacks occur, the need is there to guard against a “here we go again” mindset, something afflicted the 2014 Bears.

“You do,” Caldwell said. “You have to make [players] understand that it’s not a perfect game, no matter what the situation is. There’s never been a game played perfectly across the board so there’s going to be some ups and downs. They have to be able to weather through that storm.”

[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]

Which the Lions didn’t do: "We didn't fight through it very well yesterday." Caldwell said the day after the Arizona debacle.

When a team talks about not quitting, some thought is that quitting blood already is in the water. When confidence is a talking point, it already is a problem and the Lions appear to be fighting against more than just opponents.

“I mean, it's still early in the season and definitely 0-5 is not where you want to be,” said defensive tackle Haloti Ngata. “But if we start stacking wins and getting that confidence back in ourselves and back in each other and practicing real hard and trying to focus on getting a win, it'll come back to us.”

Which says that it’s not there now.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Who deserves the blame in the Bears loss to Miami?

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Who deserves the blame in the Bears loss to Miami?

David Haugh, Adam Jahns and Patrick Finley join Kap on the panel. The Bears lose a rough one in Miami as Matt Nagy goes conservative at the end zone. Does the rookie coach deserve all of the blame? Dave Wannstedt joins the guys to discuss.

Plus the guys discuss the Cubs’ newest hitting coach/scapegoat, Brandon Saad’s upcoming healthy scratch and Bobby Portis betting on himself this season. 

Listen here or in the embedded player below!

Akiem Hicks makes Pro Football Focus Team of the Week after strong game against Dolphins

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USA TODAY

Akiem Hicks makes Pro Football Focus Team of the Week after strong game against Dolphins

The Bears defense was not its usual self in their overtime loss to the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. The pass rush was minimal and tackling looked optional, and Brock Osweiler threw for almost 400 yards.

There was plenty of blame to go around, but a few individual defenders had success while their teammates struggled.

Defensive lineman Akiem Hicks made the Pro Football Focus Team of the Week for Week 6 with a 92.2 overall grade.

He recorded seven tackles that resulted in a defensive “stop,” the most of any defensive lineman according to PFF.

Chicago’s next highest-graded player was cornerback Kyle Fuller (78.2), who intercepted Osweiler twice but also missed two tackles.

Offensively, wide receiver Taylor Gabriel led the way with a 76.9 mark. PFF credited four of his five catches coming against Dolphins cornerback Torry McTyer in coverage.

Meanwhile, outside linebacker Khalil Mack had the lowest-graded game of his career (47.8), while linebacker Danny Trevathan (29.9) and safety Adrian Amos Jr. (47.5) each had their second-worst games.

Some of the Bears’ best players were at their worst in Miami. They’re going to need to get their act together for the New England Patriots on Sunday.