Bears cornerback D.J. Moore says he doesn’t hold any grudges against the Lions or quarterback Matthew Stafford. But he can’t promise the simmering rivalry won’t fire up again Monday night.
The feisty Moore was ejected from the last Bears-Lions game in Week 10 last season. Moore was blocking Stafford after a Tim Jennings interception, and the frustrated quarterback yanked him to the ground by the helmet.
Moore retaliated by charging Stafford and knocking him to the turf, drawing a personal foul and banishment.
“I don’t think there’s bad blood,” Moore said. “I just think a guy was frustrated. He did something, I did something, and that was pretty much it.”
Moore hasn’t sworn revenge, but the 5-foot-9, 180-pounder doesn’t plan to take any abuse either.
“I don’t really see it as something that keeps going,” he said. “(But) if it happens again, I wouldn’t react any different.
“If I get a chance to go in there (on a blitz), I’ll give him everything I’ve got. But I don’t get to be back there very often, so hopefully I can get an interception or something like that. Other than that I’m just trying to do my job out on the field.”
Before the Motown resurgence last season, the Bears-Lions rivalry paled in comparison to Bears-Packers and even Bears-Vikings. The reason was simple, according to Moore.
“Previously, they weren’t good,” he said. “It’s not really a rivalry until you get good. They’re a better team now, so it’s more of a rivalry.”
In last season’s first meeting the Lions prevailed 24-13 on a Monday night at Ford Field. The Bears were done in by a 73-yard Stafford-to-Calvin Johnson TD pass and an 88-yard TD run by Jahvid Best, who also had a 43-yard run.
In the rematch, the Bears picked off Stafford four times, returned 2 of them for touchdowns, and got an 82-yard punt return TD Devin Hester.
“In the first game we gave up a couple big plays that cost us the game,” Moore said. “The second game we didn’t want to give up big plays. We wanted to make big plays, and we made a lot of them.”
The rivalry with the Lions has become intense enough that Bears coach Lovie Smith doesn’t have to provide any motivational speeches to his 4-1 team.
“It’s not like I had to bring out the George Halas pep talk to get them ready to play Detroit,” Smith said. “We realize what’s at stake. We know about the rivalry that we have with them.
“I know they have a 2-3 record, but they looked good last week (in an overtime victory at Philadelphia), and we need to be ready to go.”
A more aggressive approach on the field — confrontational, even — is part of the Lions’ personality under coach Jim Schwartz. Chippy play has become part of their DNA.
“They’re playing hard, but I just feel like sometimes there’s a line that gets crossed,” Moore said. “Sometimes it doesn’t. (But) they seem to play us a little bit harder than they do anyone else.”
That style of play isn’t unique to Bears-Lions games, and Moore said it makes for a more entertaining game.
“I think every NFL game gets chippy,” he said. “It’s normally chippy. I think it’s better if it’s chippy; it’s more competitive. You just don’t want to get kicked out of the game or nothing like that.”
“So, lots of love for the Lions, right?” Moore was asked in jest.
“Love?” he said. “Yeah, hugs and kisses … birthday wishes.”
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