Heading in at 2-3, the Bears desperately needed to beat the Detroit Lions. However, the Lions at 0-5 had even more to prove, including a quarterback fighting not to get benched. It set the stage for an emotional Week 6 game that would come down to the wire and eventually head to overtime. While the box score may have made these offenses look brilliant, the day was filled with sloppy play, turnovers, and penalties that you may expect with two of the worst teams in the league.
The Lions moved the ball 80 yards effortlessly with a combination of Stafford making fairly accurate, but conservative, throws and Abdullah running on the first drive, ending in a touchdown pass to Lance Moore that helped about zero owners in the fantasy community. The Bears missed tackles left and right on Abdullah and Golden Tate, giving up plenty of extra yardage, even on short range passes.
The Bears answered with a drive in which Forte was able to find running room and Cutler’s short passes to Eddie Royal and Martellus Bennett turned into extra yardage as well. Unfortunately, the drive ended in a blocking meltdown, as the offensive line allowed for Forte to be tackled well behind the line, forced Cutler to dodge a rusher and settle for a short scramble, and a rushed pass that was as close to being picked as being a touchdown to Bennett.
After getting a stop from the defense, Cutler and company took over moving the ball well once again. This time Cutler was locked in on Alshon, while supplemented with Forte shaking defenders and picking up necessary yardage for first downs. All of the relevant fantasy options were then vultured on a goal-line carry by Jeremy Langford.
Throughout the game you could see how happy Cutler was to have his number one receiver back. Alshon routinely made big catches on broken plays after Jay escaped the rush, including a long bomb he caught just outside the endzone. Royal maintained a prominent role in the offense and probably would have had a short touchdown in the second quarter if the ball had been thrown on time in front of him on the slant. He’s worth keeping an eye on in fantasy.
The Lions did score on a controversial Tate drop that should have been called an interception in the endzone. Stafford narrowly escaped several interceptions on that same drive at the end of the second quarter. Neither quarterback looked as good as their statistics, but Stafford did make a couple plays with his feet in which he juked defenders to earn a first down. It was as if his job was on the line….
Both teams looked sloppy with the ball despite the defense providing space. The running backs and receivers for both teams seemed loose with the ball but were lucky enough to recover their fumbles. Cutler on the other hand managed to cost the Bears a scoring drive by throwing an awful pick in Alshon’s direction (a fade route with a short pass, bad combo). The Lions’ T.J. Jones also dropped a punt, setting the Bears up for a field goal midway through the third quarter.
The Bears special teams came up big again in the fourth when they blocked Fuller from the Lions into the punted ball as it was rolling on the ground, allowing the Bears to pick it up for possession. That was followed by Jeffery leaping over defenders for the type of score that makes me believe he is fully healthy again.
Stafford played like a desperate man, but his forward shuffle pass to his running back to avoid the sack late was off target and led to an easy pick, once again leaving the Bears in scoring range. This led to a Forte run for a touchdown but only after a pass interference call on the Lions provided a new set of downs from about the 5-yard line.
The Lions later found life with a fake punt run on a fourth down with two yards to gain. The fake provided much more than the necessary yardage and put them in striking distance to hit a field goal that brought them within 4 points with just under 3 minutes to play.
After a quick three and out by the Bears offense, the Lions drove quickly down the field, finishing with a strike to Calvin Johnson as the clock dwindled to 21 seconds (Stafford’s 4th touchdown of the day). The Bears defense looked lost as players like Theo Riddick and Lance Moore got open without much effort and were taken down in-bounds. Fortunately for the Bears, the Lions defense looked no better, allowing two long catches up the sideline by Jeffery and committing an ill-timed defensive pass interference penalty. This led to an easy 29-yard field goal for Gould to take the game to overtime.
After both offenses had several ultra conservative drives that ended in punts, Stafford finally launched a nearly 60-yard bomb to Megatron in single coverage where he was able to secure and come down with the ball. This led to a 27-yard field goal and a Lions win, 37-34.
Neither defense made much of a showing, except on offensive mistakes and carelessness. The pass rushes were unimpressive and the tackling was suspect all over the field. If anything, I’m all the more sure you can stream fantasy quarterbacks and receivers against both teams.
Also from a fantasy standpoint, I noticed Abdullah was kept out until the final game-winning drive after fumbling and recovering the ball early in the third quarter. He was on pace to surpass his previous high scores in fantasy or at least his rushing yards. He had 48 rush yards and 21 receiving yards after playing only about a half of football. I would be higher on him if not for the return of Joique Bell, who for whatever reason is expected to get a fair number of touches despite his 1.1 yards per carry average.
Megatron finally looked like himself, now that he isn’t playing one of the top-tier passing defenses. He managed 6/166/1 and will continue to have much better matchups now that the Broncos and Seahawks are out of the way (ranked 1st and 2nd respectively in terms of fewest fantasy points allowed to receivers). He should be starting in every league, and you may have missed your chance to buy-low on him.
Forte and Alshon look healthy and ready to carry the workloads you drafted them for. They are to be started the rest of the way as well. Cutler remains a matchup play, but I’m also likely to stream defenses against the Bears knowing his high turnover ratio. The same could be said for Stafford.