Detroit Lions’ defense was simply inexcusable against a brutal Chicago Bears offense

Detroit Free Press

Free Press sports writer Carlos Monarrez answers three questions about the Detroit Lions24-14 loss to the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on Sunday.

How bad was this for the Lions?

It was by far the worst game of the season for them, especially as a winnable game. Yes, the Lions were without some key players because of injuries and they sustained a few more injuries during the game. But they shot themselves in the foot, with a bazooka, when they turned over the ball twice inside Chicago’s 10-yard line. I hate it when teams chase points in the first half of a close game; coach Dan Campbell got too antsy going for it on fourth-and-goal from the 5 when the Lions were down 14-0 midway through the second quarter. At that point, the defense was struggling. If the Lions had kicked that field goal, they would have just needed a touchdown to tie things in the fourth quarter, instead of trailing by 10 when they started a drive from their 34 with 7:31 left.

SUNDAY’S GAME: Lions drop to 0-4 after Justin Fields, Bears dominate them, 24-14

KIDS’ PLAY: What’s wrong with this year’s NFL rookie QB class? Maybe nothing at all

How big are the injuries to Ragnow and Okwara?

The commonality among all bad or rebuilding teams is a lack of depth. That’s what the Lions are faced with as they face potentially filling the voids left by two of their best players — center Frank Ragnow and outside linebacker Romeo Okwara. Ragnow left the game with a toe injury and Okwara left with a foot injury. Ragnow was replaced by young veteran Evan Brown, who was serviceable but not the force Ragnow is. Left tackle Taylor Decker seems closer to returning from the injured/reserve list with a finger injury, but the offensive line is suddenly a concern rather than a strength. Okwara’s absence also will be felt more keenly if Trey Flowers, who missed his second straight game with shoulder and knee injuries, remains out. Austin Bryant and Charles Harris replaced Okwara. But even with Okwara, who is excellent at setting the edge, in the lineup, the Lions struggled to contain the Bears’ run game. That’s likely to be a huge problem against Dalvin Cook and the Minnesota Vikings next week in Minneapolis.

Who deserves the most blame for this loss?

The offense and defense both played poorly. And while the defense has been shorthanded for a while, especially in the secondary, it’s inexcusable to let the Bears roll up more than 370 yards. The Bears entered the game with the NFL’s worst overall offense, as the only team averaging fewer than 200 yards a game (191.7). This Bears offense was ice-cold entering the game, with a rookie quarterback who had been sacked nine times the previous week. The Lions’ defense looked confused in the secondary and got pushed around at the line of scrimmage as Chicago ran the ball at will. It was a major disappointment and a step back for the defense a week after it did enough against Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens to win that game.

LAST WEEK: Lions’ defense did enough to beat the Ravens. The offense did not

Contact Carlos Monarrez at cmonarrez@freepress.com and follow him on Twitter @cmonarrez.

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