Bears vs. Lions: What to Watch 4
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Cornerback Kyle Fuller’s renaissance season hit a speed bump last week against Davante Adams and the Packers. Now he faces a tough challenge against the Lions and receiver Marvin Jones (34 receptions, 537 yards, five touchdowns).
Jones was limited to one reception for 22 yards last week against the Browns. Before that, however, he had big games against the Packers (seven receptions, 107 yards, two TDs), Steelers (six receptions, 128 yards) and Saints (six receptions, 96 yards, TD).
Based on his consistent play this season, Fuller’s subpar game against the Packers seems like a hiccup.
‘‘He’s been fine,’’ defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said. ‘‘He’s been practicing as usual and is back into it.’’
Does Fuller have a short memory?
‘‘I hope so,’’ Fangio said. ‘‘You need to at that position in this league.’’
The Bears beat the Lions 17-14 last season at Soldier Field behind quarterback Brian Hoyer’s two touchdown passes (to Eddie Royal and Zach Miller) but have lost seven of the last eight games in the series after a 13-3 stretch under Lovie Smith.
Nine of the last 10 games between the teams have been decided by a touchdown or less, including the last four by four points or fewer. The Lions won 37-34 in overtime and 24-20 in 2015 and 20-17 last season at Ford Field.
Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford is fifth in the NFL in passing yards (2,461) and 10th in passer rating (96.3, 17 touchdowns, five interceptions). He has been particularly good in the last two games, averaging 10.3 yards per attempt in victories against the Packers (361 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions, 132.4 rating) and Browns (249 yards, three touchdowns, one interception, 118.9 rating).
‘‘He’s one of the top quarterbacks in the league because there’s really no one way to play him,’’ Fangio said. ‘‘He’s good against pressure. He’s good against three-man rush. He’s good against different types of coverages. You have to mix it up with him.’’
The Bears lost their focus and discipline a bit coming out of the bye week. They were called for 11 penalties in the first half (including four that were declined) and 12 for the game against the Packers. No telling if that will change Sunday.
‘‘We’ve worked on it all week,’’ receiver Dontrelle Inman said. ‘‘Coach [John] Fox has been adamant about it. It feels like he has 20 refs out there just to make sure we’re on the same page and we’ve got those mistakes corrected.’’
Follow me on Twitter @MarkPotash.