Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler appeared to have not missed a beat on the opening drive of his return game against the Detroit Lions.
On the opening drive of the game, Cutler drove the Bears offense down the field connecting with wide receiver Brandon Marshall 3 times including a 32-yard connection for a touchdown. One thing to note is that the Lions secondary was covering the Bears wide receivers with man-to-man coverage and that is what created an advantage for Cutler and Marshall on the opening drive.
On the following drive by the Detroit Lions offense, quarterback Matthew Stafford took advantage of the inability of the Bears defensive line to generate pressure. Stafford drove down the field with ease with the Lions offense before connecting with wide receiver Kris Durham for a five-yard touchdown pass.
The concern after the opening series for the Bears defense was the lack of pressure. The key to the Bears on defense against the Lions would be to generate pressure. If the Bears defense could not generate pressure, then Stafford will continue to pick apart the Bears secondary.
After touchdown drives to begin the game by the Bears and Lions offense, the two teams failed to add another score as the first quarter of play expired.
Early in the second quarter, the Bears were presented with a 4th and 1 situation. The Bears opted to go for it but the play was thwarted when the Lions defense tackled running back Michael Bush in the backfield. Considering the Bears went for the fourth and 1 last week against the Packers while on their own side of the field, it’s no surprise they opted to go for it when on the Lions side of the field. The problem was the execution of the play.
Similarly, on the Lions proceeding offensive series, they too faced a 4th an 1 situation. On the play, Stafford took the snap from the shotgun position and his pass was deflected down by Bears safety Chris Conte.
Surprisingly, the Bears defense was one of the strong suits in the first half for the team. The reason for their success was likely a result of the the Bears offense keeping the Lions offense on the sidelines.
The Bears offense received the ball after the failed fourth down conversion by the Lions offense at the 7:30 mark in the second quarter. Three third down receptions by Alshon Jeffery kept the Bears offense driving into the red-zone. On the 13th play of drive, Cutler’s pass into the end-zone was tipped by Ndamkukong Suh and picked off by DeAndre Levy.
At the half-time, the Bears and Lions were tied at 7.