Lions at Bears, Week 1 Recap

September 13, 2010

By Eric Woodyard

CHICAGO–With 30 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, Detroit Lions quarterback Shaun Hill controlled the team’s destiny. After receiving the hike he rolled out of the pocket confidently with his team trailing by five points. Looking deep he found the team’s primary target, Calvin Johnson, with his man beat so he let the ball fly in the air. In perfect rhythm, Johnson met the ball in the end zone with a soaring leap over his defender, catching the ball for a touchdown. Immediately after the catch, Johnson ran off the field celebrating with great satisfaction. The Lions win their first road game in three years!

Perfect ending right? This was too good to be true. Fate would turn out to be the Lions’ worst enemy as Johnson’s game-winning reception was ruled as an incomplete pass by officials even after a review. The Lions lose.

Losing and Detroit Lions football games have become synonymous with one another for the past two seasons. Although the season may have changed, the results remain the same.

The Lions lost their season-opener on the road at Soldier Field on Sunday evening to the Chicago Bears, 19-14, in front of 59, 281 rowdy fans. They also lost their starting quarterback, Matthew Stafford, from a shoulder injury at the end of the first half. Despite all of these unpleasant hurdles, the team made no excuses.

“It always hurts to lose especially like that but there were other situations in the game that we should have took advantage of but it still hurts,” Johnson said. “No doubt it’s frustrating but like I said, I will say it again and again…we gotta move past it. We can’t do nothing about the call (and) I’m not saying nothing about the referees or nothing like that but it is what it is.”

Johnson ended the game with four catches for only 45 yards. Second string quarterback, Shaun Hill, was forced to step in for Stafford as he connected on only nine of his 19 passing attempts and also threw an interception with zero touchdowns. It is unclear whether or not Stafford will return for Week 2 at this point.

Stafford left the game with a right shoulder injury after being pummeled by Julius Peppers late in the first half. After the sack, he fell to the turf and stayed down for a few moments before he could recuperate. Not being able to shake off the big hit, he wouldn’t return for the remainder of the game.

“It was significant enough that there was no consideration to put him back in the game so we will just see how long he will be,” Lions head coach Jim Schwartz said.

The running attack didn’t step up for Detroit either as rookie running back, Jahvid Best, led the way with 20 yards on 14 carries. Best did do something unique though. He managed to score two touchdowns and become the first rookie running back to score two touchdowns in his debut since LaDainian Tomlinson in 2001.

“They definitely did a good job today but it was an alright first game but I’m not happy with anything,” Best said. “We put this loss on ourselves so we just gotta refocus and learn from these mistakes today and not make them again.”

In spite of the meager offensive effort, the Lions defense played relatively solid. They forced the Bears to turn the ball over four times. Prior to the game, there was a concern about the groin of the Lions’ safety, Louis Delmas, but it didn’t bother him one bit once the bright lights tanned his skin. Delmas had 8 tackles.

“Turnovers create wins obviously and we got four turnovers but we needed to get two more and if we would’ve got six then we probably would’ve won,” Delmas said. “On defense that’s our mentality, the more turnovers you get, the more chances we got to win and obviously we didn’t get enough.”

Regardless of the Lions defensive triumphs, Bears quarterback Jay Cutler was still able to pick the team apart. Cutler threw for 372 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. He connected on 23 of his 25 attempts.

None of his completions was any bigger than his pass that hit Matt Forte in the deep left corner for a late 28-yard touchdown at the 1:32 mark of the final quarter. After trailing for almost the entire game, this possession put the Bears up 19-14 and turned out to be the game-winning play.

Matt Forte ended as the game’s as the top rusher and receiver. On 17 carries, he gained 50 yards and on 7 receptions, he gained 151 yards and 2 touchdowns. He also had two fumbles.

The Detroit Lions will pick back up action next Sunday as they host the Philadelphia Eagles for their home opener at Ford Field. The game will begin at 1 p.m.

*This post can also be viewed on the Western Herald’s website!


2 Responses to “Lions at Bears, Week 1 Recap”

  1. carlos collins said

    I’m still mad about this ! If the reffs can do this then I don’t need to watch another NFL game. I can just tune in to sports center and see who the reffs chose to win. This ruling was huge ! Iconic ! Rthe reffs can decide a game.

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