ReFo: Lions @ Bears, Week 16
In a game where every inch had to be earned, the Lions and Bears put together a rather enjoyable fight. Tied 7-7 at the half, Chicago would ride newly-appointed starter Jimmy Clausen’s second touchdown pass into the fourth quarter with a lead, only to see Detroit answer back with an impressive Joquie Bell run and take over for good in the final frame.
The Lions are now one of five 11-win teams in the NFC and they’ll wrap up the regular season next week with another division road game as they visit Green Bay in search of their sixth straight win and a division crown. The Bears, on the other hand, losers of four in a row, have settled firmly into the draft’s Top 10.
Detroit Lions – Performances of Note
Ndamukong Suh: +3.1 pass rush
Breakdown: Bouncing back in a big way from a rare down week against the Vikings last time out, Suh peppered the scoresheet with six total pressures as owned the matchup with second-year Bear, Michael Ola. Winning inside and outside against the overmatched guard, it didn’t seem a fair fight.
Signature Play: 2Q 13:30, with the Lions backed to their own goal line, Suh quickly thwarted a quick Jimmy Clausen throw by reaching through the “A” gap for a handful of the QB’s elbow, sending the pass fluttering off target.
Rashean Mathis: +4.3
Breakdown: The highest-graded outing we’ve seen from Mathis in the eight years of his we’ve logged. He let up just five catches on 11 targets and those went for a meager total of 24 yards. He benefitted from a couple of drops, but also mixed in a pass defensed, a would-be catch jarred loose, and a couple of plays coming up to limit short gains to highlight his day of work.
Signature Stat: Mathis has brought home six straight games of positive coverage grades and in that time he ranks third in overall grade among corners.
Dominic Raiola: -4.5
Breakdown: The tough sledding in 2014 continued for Raiola in this one as the Chicago interior, Stephen Paea in particular, gave him headaches. None of it was worth the stomp, of course, but being handled as he was, you might see where the frustration was born. Charged with a hit and four hurries surrendered and seeing his season grade slip to -14.7 overall, he’s looked something much different than the center who pushed for a Top-5 spot in the group last year.
Signature Play: 4Q 14:56, never a good thing for an O-lineman to end up spun and facing his QB in the pocket, but that’s where Raiola found himself after Jay Ratliff had roughly turned him and bulled past.
Chicago Bears – Performances of Note
Stephen Paea: +5.9
Breakdown: A menace for the duration of the contest, Paea made his presence felt in the run game and as a pass rusher. Three run stops on just 13 snaps of run D gave him the week’s second-highest Run Stop Percentage among all DT/NTs and his five total pressures (he had a sixth wiped away by penalty) tied for third-best at the position this week.
Signature Play: 2Q 5:06 Paea gets his arms extended against Lions guard Larry Warford and shuts off the gaps to either side before swatting the ball loose from the trapped and dancing Joique Bell.
Kyle Fuller: -2.0
Breakdown: An improvement on his last outing against Detroit, but still not one that’ll be a cherished memory. Posting a line of 11-141-2 allowed when he last saw the Lions three weeks ago, Fuller followed by giving up an 8-106-0 in this one. He didn’t allow a score, but six of the catches went for first downs, he missed a tackle on one throw and was flagged for pass interference on another.
Signature Stat: Calvin Johnson again was the thorn in the rookie’s side as his six catches in Fuller’s coverage make 15 on the year and he’s surpassed 100 yards against him in both efforts.
Jimmy Clausen: +2.0
Breakdown: Last time we saw Jimmy Clausen starting he had actually put together a two-out-of-three mini run of green grades to wrap up his Carolina career. Now, not knowing how he’d look after so much time off (his last start was in 2010), it was a pleasant surprise to see him making throws. The numbers weren’t huge and he suffered some drops, but the variety of pass types he hit on have to inspire confidence, especially considering the rust — see the two touchdowns for examples of touch and placement.
Signature Play: 3Q 4:28, it was one of the drops, but this opposite-hash, well-timed and located ball on a comeback route is not what you’d expect from a QB who is fresh off of multiple seasons watching from the sideline.
PFF Game Ball
Ndamukong Suh’s impact up front help set the tone for the fiery Detroit defense in this one.
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