In loss to Lions, Chicago Bears' Trubisky takes a step back
DETROIT -- The Chicago Bears' 20-10 loss to the Lions did not represent a step forward in rookie quarterback Mitch Trubisky's development.
After throwing just 4 interceptions in his first nine starts, the second overall pick in the draft was picked off three times by the Lions, who improved to 8-6, while dropping the Bears to 4-10.
A late, cosmetic Bears touchdown made the final score more respectable, but the outcome of the sixth loss in seven weeks was never in doubt.
The first Trubisky pick set up a Lions TD early in the third quarter, and the second cost the Bears points as it occurred in the end zone on a third-and-goal from the 5-yard line early in the fourth quarter. The end zone pass intended for Dontrelle Inman was intercepted by Quandre Diggs with the Bears trying to cut into a 20-3 deficit.
"I just lost (Diggs) in my vision," Trubisky said. "I thought I had Dontrelle in the back of the end zone, so I kind of just forced it in there. Should have thrown the ball away and settled for the field goal."
The last interception came in desperation time with 28 seconds left and was the second of the afternoon for Darius Slay.
"Mitch had some really good throws and then we had a couple errant ones, just looking at it by the naked eye," Bears coach John Fox said. "I saw some of maybe the better ones I've seen him throw all season. Obviously, you don't want to go into a game with 3 picks."
The Bears' running game was a bigger disappointment than Trubisky. After churning out 232 yards six days earlier in a 33-7 drubbing of the Bengals, it nowhere to be found at Ford Field.
With less than four minutes left in the third quarter, the Bears had 19 yards on 9 rushes, and they finished with 43 on 15 for a 2.9-yard average, less than half the 6.1 they averaged at Cincinnati.
"They did a lot of run blitzes, stuff like that, to stop our runs," said Jordan Howard, who was held to 37 yards on 10 carries.
"We just have a problem right now with being consistent in the things we do," said rookie Tarik Cohen, who had just 2 carries for 1 yard. "I think it was more ourselves, shooting ourselves in the foot, holding penalties, pre-snap penalties, not winning first downs."
The Bears had 13 penalties for 97 yards, most of them on offense. But the most crushing flag was thrown on special teams, when DeAndre Houston-Carson's holding penalty nullified Cohen's 90-yard kickoff return that would have given the Bears the ball at the Lions' 14 immediately after Detroit had taken a 13-0 lead.
Instead, they began at their own 10 and, despite putting together a 48-yard drive, wound up punting.
The Lions' defense was focused on stopping the Bears' ground game, which should have opened up the air game. Trubisky, however, wasn't able to capitalize, although his receivers let him down with a few drops.
The rookie had career highs with 46 attempts, 31 completions and 314 yards, but he finished with a 66.8 passer rating.
As has been the case in several other losses, the Bears' offense couldn't convert enough third downs to maintain their possessions for more than a handful of plays -- until it was too late.
When Howard caught an 11-yard pass with 3:23 left in the third quarter, it was just the sixth first down for the Bears. At that point, they were 1-for-5 on third-down conversions.
Trubisky's first interception in three weeks opened up the second half and set the Lions up for a 41-yard touchdown drive that gave them a 20-3 lead.
The Bears' offense barely avoided a first-half shutout, but it took a huge play by the defense. Linebacker Sam Acho forced a fumble by Lions running back Theo Riddick that was recovered by Sherrick McManis with 12 seconds left at the Detroit 27. Mike Nugent's 41-yard field goal with two seconds left closed the deficit to 13-3.
Matt Prater field goals of 48 and 31 yards, the second on the first play of the second quarter, had given the Lions a 6-0 lead.
The Bears ran just seven first-quarter plays for 18 yards in yet another slow start.
• Follow Bob's Bears reports on Twitter @BobLeGere.