Bears 26 Lions 24
Everyone knew what needed to happen going into today's game. The Bears needed a victory over the Lions and the Packers needed to beat the Vikings to make the playoffs. The Bears won their game, but did not receive the help they needed from the Packers. A hot 7-1 start to the season ended with a 10-6 record and no playoff appearance. The questions will now be if Coach Lovie Smith will be allowed to return for the final year of his contract? Or will the Bears eat the $5 million dollars owed to Smith and move in a different direction? Also, questions remain if Brian Urlacher will be back next year or did he spend his final game as a Bear on the sidelines? We will get our answer soon enough. Here's the last Bears Report Card of the season. Thanks for reading all season long!!
Jay Cutler was 18/31 for 257 yards and 1 TD. Cutler had a 95.8 passer rating. Cutler started the game off good with 55 yard completion to rookie wide receiver Alshon Jeffery. Cutler also was able to get Earl Bennett involved in the game plan and hook up for a TD. Cutler was under pressure though and frequently scrambled for his life till he could find a receiver. The Lions limited Cutler's favorite target Brandon Marshall. Cutler and the offense lacked on third down efficiency, only converting 4 of 15 opportunities. Cutler did take matters into his own hands late in the game and got the Bears a win.
Running backs: A
Matt Forte was a difference maker on the field. Forte had 24 carries for 103 yards and 1 TD. When Forte rushes for 100 plus yards the Bears usually win. This was Forte's third 100 plus game of this season. Forte also caught both passes thrown to him for 21 yards. Kahlil Bell provided some relief for Forte on plays. Bell only had 4 carries for 12 yards. He converted on one 3rd and short opportunity, but failed on another. Bell was a effective blocker in the backfield as well.
Brandon Marshall was limited by the Detroit Lions. He was targeted 14 times and only caught 5 passes for a total of 42 yards. Most of those yards were picked up on a 19 yard completion. Earl Bennett stepped up in Marshall's place with a 109 yard game. Bennett had his best game of the year catching all 5 balls thrown to him. Cutler and Bennett hooked up on quick swing pass that resulted in a 60 yard TD. Alshon Jeffery caught 4 balls for 76 yards and had a 55 yard opening completion. Kellen Davis dropped a very catchable ball in the end zone. Matt Spaeth and Evan Rodriquez both had one completion a piece.
Offensive Line: B
The offensive line had good results in the run game. The pocket collapsed a few times to early on Cutler, but he also held the ball longer than he needed to. Cutler was only sacked twice and hit five times. James Brown and Jonathan Scott both started on the line. Scott had a costly false start penalty that cost the Bears a scoring chance in the 1st quarter.
Defensive Line: B
The defensive line had consistent pressure on Matthew Stafford throughout the game. Israel Idonije was able to register a sack and cause a forced fumble. Julius Peppers recovered the forced fumble at a pivotal moment in the game. Henry Melton and Stephen Paea provide pressure up the middle. Corey Wootton registered one QB hit.
The Bears were again without Brian Urlacher in their final game of the season. The linebackers did a good job of filling their gaps. Lions running back Mikel Leshoure was limited to 57 yards on 15 carries. Nick Roach led the team with 8 total tackles and a pass deflection . Lance Briggs had 6 total tackles and 2 pass deflections. Briggs picked up a costly penalty late in the game that hurt the Bears. Geno Hayes had 3 tackles.
Charles Tillman had 3 tackles and 2 pass deflections in the game. Tillman was able to limit Calvin Johnson to 72 yards and 0 TD's. Tim Jennings got his ninth interception of the year and broke up two passes. Anthony Walters started for the injured Chris Conte. He had 6 tackles, but missed tackles consistently. Major Wright had 6 tackles and recovered a forced fumble in the game. The secondary did have issues stopping the Lions on 3rd down.
Special Teams: B
The coverage for the Bears was solid. Joe Anderson, recently elevated from the practice squad, caused a forced fumble. Olindo Mare was 2/2 on XP's and 4/5 on FG's. Adam Podlesh landed 4 of his 5 punts inside the Lions 20. Devin Hester's nightmare of season on special teams continued in the season finale. Hester averaged 19.7 yards and was embarrassed not getting the ball past the 5 yard line on a 2nd half kickoff.
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