Bears' defense back to its old ways

Bears' defense back to its old ways
December 31, 2012, 12:38 am
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DETROIT Once again the Bears managed to keep All-Pro receiver Calvin Johnson from running amok in their secondary. The Detroit Lions put 327 yards on the Bears defense and converted half of their 14 third downs but needed Matthew Stafford throwing 42 times to stay close to the Bears.
Israel Idonijes sack and forced fumble recovered by Julius Peppers was a huge turning point in the second quarter, setting up a TD on a 10-yard drive. The rush harassed Matthew Stafford with some consistency and forced the fumble and an interception despite registering just two hits (Peppers, Corey Wootton).
Nick Roach finished with a team-high eight tackles and a pass deflection. Lance Briggs added six tackles, one for loss, and the Bears allowed no run longer than 13 yards, limited Mikel Leshoure to 57 yards on 15 carries (3.7).
The Lions found openings for a first-quarter drive that included third-down conversions but was stopped for a field goal. Consistent tackling was a problem.
Tim Jennings intercepted his ninth pass of the season in the second quarter to set up a scoring chance and the overall coverage of Calvin Johnson was excellent again. Johnson had just two catches (on eight targets) in the first half and finished with five for 72 yards and zero touchdowns, leaving him with five for the year.
The Bears offense could not put the game out of Lions reach, forcing the Bears to play under pressure throughout. Several lapses, however, allowed the Lions back into the game after falling behind 20-3 in the first half. Breakdowns on third downs were alarming.

Special teams gave the offense a gift with a fumble-recovery on a Detroit kickoff return and kicking was crucial in a surprisingly close game against a poor team.
Olindo Mare converted four of five field goal tries, missing wide right from 43 yards. Adam Podlesh was superb with four of five puts inside the 20 and one touchback, all with a 43.8-yard average.
Joe Anderson forced a fumble and is a clear favorite to land a roster spot next season, and Eric Weems recovered the ball on the first-quarter kickoff. Coverage units were in position on punts but did allow Joique Bell to average 27 yards on two kickoff returns.
Devin Hester continued his season of undistinguished returning and sometimes that would be putting it politely. His failure to get the second-half kickoff beyond the Chicago 5 was appalling and gave the Lions a shot at momentum after theyd closed the first half with a TD. Hester finished with a 19.7-yard average on kickoff returns but was no threat to the Lions.
The Bears were prepared and allowed the Lions few seams or opportunities in the return game in a game that was one-score through much of the second half.