Losing to a team more interested in chasing draft picks than the playoffs is one thing, but the Lions were outmatched in every facet. The offense put up a mere 13 points, all of which came exclusively in the second quarter. The defense, meanwhile, continues its struggles, giving up deep shots and failing to contain a scrambling Justin Fields. Coupled with some questionable calls from coaches and officials, and it was a recipe for failure on Sunday.
The Lions are still in good position to reach the playoffs at 9-4, but there are serious issues in need of correcting if they want to make the most of a playoff race. Let’s examine some takeaways.
Tired of the Turd Quarter
The notion of the Lions’ woes in the third quarter is not a new concept, but we are in Week 14 and it remains a weekly problem. This week’s edition of the Turd Quarter especially hurt. The Lions offense had three-straight three-and-outs, but those were surprisingly the best parts of the quarter.
Instead, the drama is focused on the Bears touchdown drive and the ensuing chaos. After the defense stepped up to force a third-and-13, Julian Okwara seemingly got to Justin Fields for a sack to force a punt. However, Fields was barely able to get the pass off in time, throwing it into his lineman’s ankles.
An easy intentional grounding penalty, no?
Instead, the officials determined that “the hit affected the pass” and therefore was not intentional grounding. This call was mindboggling awful, and the Lions defense was just as mindboggled on the next play. The Bears would go for it on fourth down, and Aidan Hutchinson would jump offside for a free play. Jerry Jacobs got burnt by D.J. Moore for an easy touchdown and the Bears took the lead.
Worse yet, the call was blatantly wrong:
To add to the misery, the Lions would fumble the snap on the following drive, setting the Bears up with great field position. The ensuing touchdown would officially come in the fourth quarter, but it was very much a product of the turd quarter.
I simply do not understand how the Lions can continually fail in the third quarter like this. How can you speculate about how to fix this issue? It isn’t as simple as making better halftime adjustments. The Lions are self-destructing in ways that no one can reasonably expect. All I can suggest is to burn some incense in the locker room since a curse is the only explanation I have.
The Ben Johnson honeymoon is over
Ben Johnson was seen as the guiding light in the surging Lions offense, but as of late, that luster is gone. The offense was stagnant against the Bears, and that might be generous. The execution on the field may have sunk the Lions, but the play calling was setting them up for failure. With Penei Sewell lined up out wide, Johnson telegraphed a screen play that amounted to very little. A Jahmyr Gibbs carry was stuffed for a loss of four on fourth down in a pivotal moment. The Lions continue to run the ball on long-distance downs.
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