Bears' play-calling inexplicably puzzling again
DETROIT -- The Bears had 8 running plays and 51 pass plays in their 34-17 loss to the Lions.
That's offensive balance?
Two-time Pro Bowl running back Matt Forte got 5 carries, which produced 6 yards. The argument could be made that the running game wasn't working, but it's impossible to tell with such a small sample size.
"We got down by 2 scores and felt we had to throw it a little bit more by just kicking the ball out on some short throws," was as close as Bears head coach and offensive play-caller Marc Trestman got to explaining the run-pass discrepancy, which has been an issue most of the season.
Trestman and Jay Cutler both agreed that throwing so frequently against the Lions' pass rush put the quarterback in a precarious position.
"It's difficult on any quarterback to throw the ball that much, especially under a pass rush like this," Trestman said. "I thought he did a good job of standing in there. He did the best he could."
Cutler completed 31 of 48 passes for 280 yards, 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions, including a meaningless pick on the final play of the game. He finished with a 76.7 passer rating.
"It's hard," Cutler said. "We went into the game thinking some of these shorter passes would be an extension of our run game, some longer handoffs. It worked early on and then we had to try and push the ball down the field a little bit."
Drought is over:
The last time the Bears scored in the first quarter of a game was Oct. 5 against the Carolina Panthers when Jay Cutler ran for a 10-yard TD after throwing a 10-yard TD pass to Matt Forte.
That was seven games ago.
The Bears opened the second half with their longest drive of the game -- 63 yards -- but it ended with a field goal, Robbie Gould's first in six games. That was it for the Bears' scoring.
"We just didn't do enough, and it starts with me," coach Marc Trestman said. "I'm looking inside and accepting accountability for this loss."
Form of flattery:
It appeared as if Lions defensive tackle Andre Fluellen was mocking Bears defensive end Willie Young after he got one of 3 sacks on Jay Cutler.
Fluellen celebrated his sack by "casting" an imaginary line, a blatant ripoff of Young's fishing-themed sack celebrations. But Young, who played his previous four seasons for the Lions and was teammates with Fluellen, said there was no disrespect.
"That goes a long way back," Young said. "Andre Fluellen, when I came here my rookie year, I lived with him, I stayed with him, he fed me. He's one of the guys that showed me around, taught me the game a little bit. "I knew that was coming from him, I just had a feeling. Had anyone else done it, it would be like, 'Oh, that's cold.' But for him, I give him the right of way to do it anytime he feels like he wants to."
Young, who leads the Bears with 8 sacks, appeared to add to his total when he yanked Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford o the turf. But Young was flagged for grabbing Stafford's facemask, negating the play.
The offensive line has now changed nine times this season from week to week.
This week's change had Jordan Mills back at right tackle for the first time in three games, which allowed Michael Ola to move from right tackle back to left guard in place of Brian de la Puente, who was placed on injured reserve Wednesday with an ankle injury.
The Bears have used seven different O-line configurations through 12 games, and Ola has started games at left tackle, right tackle and left guard. The only constant has been Kyle Long at right guard for every game.
National exposure: Thursday's game was the 16th Thanksgiving Day meeting between the Bears and the Lions, but the first since 1999, a 21-17 Lions victory. That 15-year gap between Bears-Lions games on Thanksgiving was the longest in the holiday series. Only the Green Bay Packers have played the Lions more times (21) on Thanksgiving.
Thursday's game was the first of three straight national-television appearances by the Bears. They host the Dallas Cowboys next Thursday night and then entertain the New Orleans Saints at Soldier Field on Monday night, Dec. 15.
Sitting it out:
Cornerback Tim Jennings limped off in the fourth quarter and did not return.
Safety Chris Conte (concussion) and defensive end Cornelius Washington (chest) were injured in the first half and did not return.
Inactives Thursday were linebackers Lance Briggs (groin) and Darryl Sharpton (hamstring), defensive tackle Jeremiah Ratliff (knee), defensive end Trevor Scott (knee), guard-center Eben Britton, wide receiver Chris Williams (hamstring) and cornerback Terrance Mitchell.
The Lions were missing four starters: right guard Larry Warford, left tackle Riley Reiff, running back Reggie Bush and defensive tackle Nick Fairley.