DETROIT — Rookie safety Eddie Jackson gave credit where it was due. But he also gave blame where it was due.
“It was a good play by him, but that was on me,” Jackson said when asked about Lions wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr. beating him to a jump ball for a 58-yard reception on third-and-18 that was an early turning point in the Bears’ 20-10 loss Saturday at Ford Field.
“When I saw him out of the corner of my eye, I didn’t think he was as close as he was. By the time I timed the jump, he was under me already. He just body-positioned me and made a great catch.”
The Bears trailed 6-0 in the second quarter but had a chance to regain the momentum after Pernell McPhee tackled Ameer Abdullah for a six-yard loss to put the Lions in second-and-26 at their 22. The Bears were about to get the ball back. But on third-and-18, quarterback Matthew Stafford rolled to his right to escape pressure and threw the ball up for grabs.
Even if it was intercepted, it would’ve been an effective punt. But Stafford hit the jackpot when Jones — who’s averaging 18.0 yards per catch, third in the NFL — got inside position on Jackson and won the jump ball for the huge gain to the Bears’ 12-yard line. Three plays later, Stafford threw a three-yard touchdown pass to TJ Jones for a 13-0 lead with 6:10 left in the first half.
“Just a mistake, you’ve got to learn from it,” said Jackson, who also had a fumble recovery — his fifth takeaway. “I’ve been playing football a long time. The one thing I learned is that it’s going to happen. There are [other] good players out there, too. He’s a good player. He’s made those plays on a lot of people. I was supposed to come up with that one. It’s part of the game. You’ve got to win more than you lose.”
The Jones-Jackson play typified the misfortune that befell the Bears against the Lions. Earlier in that drive, a holding penalty on cornerback Prince Amukamara on a third-and-eight incompletion gave the Lions a first down.
And after Stafford’s touchdown pass to TJ Jones, the Bears responded with Tarik Cohen’s 90-yard kickoff return to the Lions’ 14, but the play was called back because of a holding penalty on DeAndre Houston-Carson.
“They called it, so obviously I wasn’t playing within the confines of the rules — and I hurt the team. I didn’t have to do it,” said a disconsolate Houston-Carson, who has emerged as a key four-phase special-teams player. “I take a lot of pride in my work, but ultimately it’s about my teammates — and that was a crucial situation in the game. We would have had great field position, an opportunity to score and get back in the game, and I hurt my teammates.”
Follow me on Twitter @MarkPotash.