By Ashley Dunkak
FORD FIELD (CBS DETROIT) – Just like the Detroit Lions needed to contain Adrian Peterson to beat Minnesota, the Lions needed to contain Matt Forte to beat Chicago. Against both players, Detroit allowed a big run early but ultimately limited them enough to win.
Forte burst away for a 53-yard touchdown run early in the game, but aside from that big run he amassed just 42 yards over his other 12 carries. Still, the long run for a score rankled Lions head coach Jim Schwartz.
“We could have done better,” Schwartz said. “The biggest thing of taking Forte out for most of the game was when we got a big lead. The easiest way to stop the run is to be protecting a big lead where the run really doesn’t matter.”
The defense helped immensely in the pursuit of a big lead, picking off Bears quarterback Jay Cutler three times and forcing a fumble. Louis Delmas snagged two interceptions, and Glover Quin grabbed another, which he returned 42 yards. Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley, who had been getting pressure on Cutler all game, combined for a forced fumble and fumble return for a touchdown.
Going into the game, the Bears led the NFL in turnover margin. Even after mistakes in garbage time, though, the Lions still came out ahead in that category.
“We have been good at turnovers,” Schwartz said. “Our guys have proven this year that they can do that. It was a big problem for us last year. We didn’t get very many turnovers on defense. We got some playmakers on defense. We have some guys up front that can rush and guys in the back and that can go get the ball.”
Schwartz said he could not believe the referees did not whistle a hundred holding calls on the Bears but that Suh, Fairley and others on the defensive line know better than to fixate on any lack of penalties assessed.
“Every single play of this game there is some sort of holding,” Suh said. “The great players learn how to play through it. I think as a defense, and especially as a defensive line, we’ve gradually learned to play through that and understand that we’re not necessarily going to get calls and sometimes we will get calls. I’ve gotten calls and I appreciate them, without question, but I’m not going to sit there and harp at a ref and say, ‘It’s a holding call, it’s a holding call.’ I’m just going to keep playing. That’s all I’ve got to do.”
Despite the solid performance and all the turnovers forced, Schwartz still seemed peeved after the game – understandable enough considering the Lions had a 40-16 lead at the beginning of the fourth quarter and ended up winning just 40-32.
“They were able to work their way down the field, get into scoring range, complete a couple short passes and they ended up getting in the end zone,” safety Glover Quin explained. “When [they’re] down 24 points, three touchdowns and three two-point conversions, we don’t want to give up anything quick. Those drives that they were scoring, it was taking them two or three minutes, so it was good for us.”
It worked fine this week, but the Lions will need to finish better in the future. In the meantime, though, it would be hard to ask for more than four turnovers in a single game, so the Detroit defense is looking pretty good.