Bears' Long tackles one big assignment
DETROIT -- Handling the Lions' Pro Bowl defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh is difficult for anyone, and Bears rookie right guard Kyle Long had that unenviable task Sunday at Ford Field.
"You prepare for it like you're trying to stop a train," Long said. "That's what he feels like."
Suh was dominant at times, and his nonstop effort helped the Lions defeat the Bears 40-32. Although the Lions frequently flip-flop Suh so that he works against both opposing guards, he was head-up over Long for almost the entire game.
While Long frequently got help from center Roberto Garza in trying to control Suh, there were times when he was left to contend with the 6-foot-4, 307-pounder 1-on-1.
Bears quarterback Jay Cutler and coach Marc Trestman both had encouraging words for the first-round pick out of Oregon. But there also were some welcome-to-the-NFL moments for Long, when he probably felt as if he had been run over by the train.
Long allowed Suh to sack Cutler twice. On the first he was bull-rushed back five yards as Suh powered through him to get to the quarterback. The other sack resulted in a Cutler fumble that was returned 4 yards by Lions tackle Nick Fairley for a touchdown that gave the Lions a 37-16 lead at the end of the third quarter.
That one was more attributable to good coverage by the Lions' secondary and Cutler holding the ball a bit too long.
"They make a living on rushing the quarterback, so that's what they do," Long said of the Lions' defensive linemen. "They're relentless, they're big, they're physical guys.
"Credit them, Credit the Lions for bringing it every play. I thought we played our butts off, but you win some, you lose some."
Long also had a hands-to-the-face call against Suh that negated a 28-yard, third-down completion to Earl Bennett with the Bears chasing a 14-point deficit in the third quarter.
"They threw a flag," Long said. "You see laundry on the ground, you ask the ref, 'Who's that on?' He points to you, and you say (to yourself), 'There's nothing I can do about it now.' Just go on to the next play and try to battle."
Cutler blamed himself and his 4 turnovers more than he did his offensive line, which permitted a season-high 3 sacks but also allowed him to complete 27 of 47 passes for 317 yards and 2 touchdowns.
"He did well," Cutler said of Long. "We got a little leaky at times, but those guys did great. I was proud of those guys."