The Lions last faced the Chicago Bears in Week 5. The Lions won 24-13 before a Monday night audience and dropped the Bears' record to 2-3.
Since, Chicago have won three straight games and pulled to within one game of the Lions for second place in the NFC North, and considered a valid threat to Detroit in the Wild Card hunt.
The Bears offense seemed to struggled with pass protection during the first five games of the season. Offensive coordinator Mike Martz took much of the criticism for sending his quarterback (Jay Cutler) on seven-step drops, while the receivers ran long developing routes, leaving the quarterback exposed to sacks, hits and pressure.
The Bears have since tweaked their offense slightly, starting with protecting the quarterback.
“On top of the (max) protection, he’s getting the ball out a little bit faster,” said defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh.
The Bears are also running the ball well with running back Matt Forte, taking some pressure off of Cutler.
More protection, quicker throws and an effective running game have been catalysts to the Bears improved play.
“They’re running the ball a little more effectively and they’re protecting the quarter back,” said cornerback Eric Wright. “He has great ability when you protect him and give him opportunity to make plays and he can make all the throws and manage the game properly to get them wins. Obviously they won three games in a row since they played us and it has been working well for them.”
If the Lions hope to complete a season sweep of the Bears and put some distance between them and their division rival, they will have to be prepared to stop Forte and disrupt Cutler’s timing.
The Lions had success when the team’s first met. Replicating that success may prove to be more difficult.
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