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Bears Beat Lions Despite Major Coaching Mistake

Mike Burzawa

Die hard Bears fan and lead blogger at Bear Goggles On

Lovie lions win.jpg

Lovie leaves the field after escaping with a 19-14 win over the Detroit Lions

The Bears' 19-14 win over the Detroit Lions was a really strange game.  The Bears dominated the stat sheet but the Lions led throughout much of the game.  Then the Lions seemingly make the game-defining play only to have the referees pull the rug out from under them.  A win is a win, so the Lovie Hot Seat cools slightly, but from Section 443 where I was sitting, the FIRE LOVIE chants rained down early and often.  (No, I wasn't leading them either!)

The entire game could have swung on one critical decision midway through the fourth quarter.  After an amazing play by Lance Briggs, where he perfectly timed the snap count with the Lions in the shadow of their own goal post, the Bears took over inside the 1-yard line down 14-13.

The Bears tried to run off right guard for no gain.  Then Jay Cutler tried a short pass to Greg Olsen that fell incomplete.  On third and goal, they tried to run Forte off left guard for no gain  Fourth down.  Time to kick the field goal, take the lead and play some defense for the last nine minutes and go home a winner.

But wait - the Bears decide to go for it on 4th and goal after they've just tried unsuccessfully to gain any ground on the previous play.  Needless to say, the Bears didn't convert the fourth down and the Lions took over on downs. 

I know what Lovie apologists will say.  "You would be the same guy yelling 'Go for it!' if they didn't go for it." I'm sorry, but not in that situation.  In the first quarter, when the Bears had the same opportunity, yes, that's the time to go for it.  But in the fourth quarter and trailing by a point, you take the lead there. 

Let's hear what Lovie had to say after the jump:
Here's a transcript of Lovie's comments:

"Going into the game, of course, you get an opportunity. It's been a long time since we've been at the top of our division. I just felt that we needed to take advantage of the home-field crowd. The guys have worked hard throughout the offseason and I just wanted to come out and play well.

"Offensively, we moved the ball quite a bit throughout the game. But it's a turnover game and the turnover ratio is always big on who wins the football game. That hurt us quite a bit early on. Some of the guys really stepped up on the offensive side of the ball. I saw Jay (Cutler) make play after play, getting the ball, distributing the ball around. Matt Forte, of course, was outstanding catching the ball and running the ball. I liked some of the things we did in the running game too. Sacks -- we have to eliminate that; there were too many sacks for us.

"On the other side of the football, guys hung in there. We played strong early. We played the run throughout the preseason well, so it wasn't a surprise how we played there. We talk about getting three-plus turnovers a game and I think we came up a little bit short on that. Julius' (Peppers) play early on, Lance's (Briggs) play, guys made play after play. Injury-wise, we had a few guys who went down. Hunter Hillenmeyer was sick and Nick Roach had a hamstring injury. Besides that, we came out of the game in fairly good shape. We are 1-0 right now going into Dallas."

On going for it on fourth-and-goal:
"I felt like we were playing great defense. ...The worst-case scenario would have been for us not to get it and have them backed up. Felt like we could still make them punt and get good field position. It's a field-position game throughout. I make that call every time."
Photo: Bears coach Lovie Smith watches first-half action Sunday. (Scott Strazzante/Tribune)

On the Calvin Johnson ruling:
"I saw it exactly the way (the referee) did. Didn't really think they had to look at the replay. The rule says you have to come down and complete the catch all the way through. The ball came out at the end, so I thought it was pretty cut-and-dry."

On making the call to go for it on fourth-and-goal:
"I said I would make that call at that time every time. That's what I'm saying now. You know, different situations. Early on, I wanted to get some points on the board."

Lovie must have forgotten that in the first quarter, he sent Robbie Gould and the field goal unit out to take a quick 3-0 lead against the Lions when they failed to convert a third and goal from the 2 yard line. Isn't that the better time to take a risk?   

It's Lovie's arrogance and defiance that completely galls me.  The Bears won this game in spite of 4 bad turnovers, a TD that wasn't and a horrible coaching effort.  Will that be enough on the road in Dallas next week?  I don't think so either.

For more Bears coverage, check me out on Twitter or on my other site, Bear Goggles On.




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logikal77 said:


I'm glad they went for it on 4th and one. Shows they have confidence in their offense. Sure, they didn't convert. But they had the leeway I think to take the chance. Lovie's explanation on why he made the call and how he would do it again, works for me.

Obnxs1 said:

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Lovie's explanation for why he made the call changed every time he was asked the question......glad that works for you. It was an asinine call by an inept coach who seems to only get worse each game. Not taking the lead in the 4th quarter of a close game is dumb EVERY time no matter what the situation or how Lovie tries to justify his ineptitude.

jack lacan said:

user-pic let me get this straight...this blog or whatever is where we go if we commented on the thread last Mike Burzwa?

I enjoyed those comments throughout the entire last season and want to read and remark again this year. It's better than watching WeatherScan or Sprout.

I was listening to the game in my son's new home in South Bend and all he kept saying was - "We suck!!"

At the end of last season I recommended and I believed that the truck was backing up ---apparently no one was thrown into the back.

Mike Burzwa where are all the gentlemen from last season commenting during game time? Here? --- Let me know - thanks.

Last season most comments were not expletive filled rants --- does this policy ease up this year?

Thanks for this "blog" or whatever it's called. I'm an old guy fan.

Ken of Clarendon Hills

Mike Burzawa said:


Hi Jack - thanks for coming back and finding my "newer" little corner of the interwebs. They have unchained me from my duties at Bears Game Day so I can go out and actually see a game or two. I will continue writing a blog on this site, but won't be doing a weekly live game blog. I also have another blog: where I'll have an Open Thread for each game so we can try to get something similar going like we had last season. Thanks for looking me up. Keep in touch!

jack lacan said:


Whoops! I forgot I used the mysterious psychiatric name Jack Lacan last year...


Mr. Pickles said:

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This is quite possibly the only call where I will give Lovie the benefit of the doubt in the last three years. You would think the offense would be able to get the ball over the goal line by accident in that situation. Doesn't Martz have a playbook that's bigger than my Webster's Unabridged dictionary, there's nothing a little more creative in there? It's actually making me a little uncomfortable even typing this, but I think Lovie made the right call.

Mike Burzawa said:


Mr Pickles - we usually see eye to eye but I have to tell you that you're wrong on this one. If Lovie really believed his defense was playing well, why not let them continue to play well WITH A LEAD?!?!? Maybe Lovie knows that his Cover-Who defense is the butter to opposing offenses' hot knife?

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