Thoughts and observations after watching film of the Bears’ 20-10 loss to the Lions on Saturday:
1. I don’t know if Akiem Hicks will be named to the Pro Bowl on Tuesday, but I think the Bears defensive end will play in the Orlando all-star game this year, whether he’s chosen now or named an injury replacement. He logged his first sack since Oct. 29 in one of his best games of the season. He absolutely humiliated center Graham Glasgow in the third quarter — sorry, Aurora native — by lining up over his left shoulder, crossing his body and sacking Matthew Stafford in about three seconds flat. Unreal.
2. Jordan Howard tied his season high with 26 receiving yards; his catch on the Bears’ first play of the game was his first all season that wasn’t a screen or a check-down. Howard’s hands are more worrisome now than they were even at the end of last year—which is saying something —but it should be item No. 1 for him to fix this offseason.
3. Tarik Cohen’s one-handed catch in the third quarter was impressive, but his final stats weren’t. He had two rushes for 1 yard and four catches for 16. Here’s Cohen’s offensive season in a nutshell: in the second quarter, Cohen taught a tunnel screen near the painted 20 on the left-hand side, ran behind the offensive line and eventually scampered out of bounds at the 20 — on the right sideline. He must have run 30 yards, and gained zero.
4. Listen, the Bears didn’t lose the game because they decided to pooch a kick rather than try a tradition onside attempt down 10 with 2 1/2 minutes to play. But John Fox’s explanation — that they were playing field position — makes little sense. He said the Bears would have to get an onside kick eventually, be it then or, theoretically, after they scored. Why not try then? Why not try to get lucky and inject some momentum into the offense? I’ll be curious to see what special teams coach Jeff Rodgers says about the play they had ready to go; veteran kicker Mike Nugent undoubtedly has a few favorites he’s acquired over the years.
5. The Bears got lucky when Theo Riddick fumbled toward the end of the first half; the Lions running back landed on Sam Acho, who was face down. The ball then came out before he hit the ground.
6. Cornerback Prince Amukamara’s hold on third down was obvious— it was in front of coach John Fox and defensive backs coach Ed Donatell along the Bears’ sideline. He pulled TJ Jones’ jersey around his shoulders. Donatell immediately barked at Amukamara and smacked him on the backside.
“The guy redirected,” Bears coach John Fox said. “He changed direction and he did get a stretch (on the jersey).”
7. The Lions have an audible called “Kardashian.” You could hear Stafford call it out at the line. There’s a joke in there somewhere.
8. There wasn’t much Danny Trevathan could do to stop Eric Ebron’s third quarter touchdown. The tight end stands three inches taller than Trevathan, making it easier to pluck Stafford’s pass out of the air on the seam route.
“I just didn’t have a good read on that,” Trevathan said. “I expected something else, but I will make up for that one.”
9. The Lions’ all-gray uniforms were brutal; they reminded me of an Air Force alternate set. They suffer from the same affliction as the Bears’ “Monsters of the Midway” throwbacks — their numbers are impossible to read.
10. Maybe Trubisky’s best throw of the night came on third-and-18, when he stepped into a first-down throw to Markus Wheaton. You could feel his confidence building.
11. I’m not convinced Trubisky ever saw Lions safety Quandre Diggs playing underneath Dontrelle Inman on a third-down slant route in the end zone. Double-teamed on essentially the same play the Bears ran for a touchdown in the first quarter of the 49ers game, Inman never had a chance. That’s a rookie mistake— and his first third-down pick of the season.
12. Good call by NFL Network’s Mike Tirico when Golden Tate juked Kyle Fuller to the ground early in the fourth quarter: “Oh, man, broken ankles there.”
13. One area where Trubisky has improved: when a screen wasn’t open with 5 minutes to play, he threw the ball at Jordan Howard’s feet. A week earlier, he threw it deep and got his lineman flagged for being downfield.
“I’ve loved how he’s grown and matured, and even (Satruday) with his screen pass,” Fox said. “You know, he spiked it in the dirt. He’s had steady growth.”
14. Benny Cunningham caught his second touchdown pass of the year; amazingly, he and Zach Miller — who hasn’t played since Week 8 ‘ are tied for second on the team in touchdown receptions. The leader, Adam Shaheen, has three.
15. In his return from a hip injury, Eddie Goldman only played 35 percent of the team’s defensive snaps — though that could be partially attributable to the Lions’ pass-happy ways.
16. Man, how bad must the Bengals be?
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