The Detroit Lions improved to 5-0 Monday night as they defeated the Chicago Bears 24-13 in a game that was pretty ugly. The Lions eventually broke through, but not before slogging through a first quarter so hideous it is likely going to play on a loop in hell for eternity. The game was filled with penalties as the two teams combined on 26 penalties for 198 yards. It was ugly football but there were a few things to take away from the game.
Head after the jump for the run down. Feel free to add some of your own thoughts on the Lions performance and what to take away from it.
Calvin Johnson is really good
In reality, he did not exactly show off all his wares tonight. He had the big 73 yard touchdown reception, but that was more a matter of poor defensive decision-making. You don't put a safety one-on-one with megatron. Vernon Davis could have made the same play against a safety. It's a great play by the offense, but more a case of smart offense than Calvin Johnson being an athletic freak.
Trap Jahvid Best
He struggled through the first half before blowing up with an 88-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. The Bears did an excellent job containing early on, but they lapsed late and were burned accordingly. The 49ers defensive front seven is awesome against the run so hopefully they can continue their strong play as of late. Best has struggled for the most part this season, so it's not rocket science slowing down the Lions in the run,
Rushing on the edge
Matt Forte had his way with the Lions on the edge, piling up big run after big run when he went outside. The Lions defensive line did well on interior runs, but struggled sufficiently against outside runs that it is something the 49ers offensive game-planning will hopefully take into account on Sunday.
At the same time, that defensive line is something to behold. While they appear to have only grabbed three sacks against the Bears, it seemed like they were in Jay Cutler's grill most of the evening. The 49ers offensive line performed well against the Bucs and will need to build on that this Sunday.
"Punch 'em in the mouth"
That was a Singletary mantra of sorts, but this year's 49ers are actually doing that this season. Calvin Johnson is plenty tough to cover down the field, but if the 49ers can get a consistent pass rush together, Matthew Stafford could struggle getting the ball to him. When the Bears got in Stafford's face, he would whip some passes up on occasion, but he couldn't get quite as much going. That seems a little bit like common sense, but sometimes common sense needs to be emphasized.
The 49ers have plenty of work to do if they want to take Detroit's zero. The Lions are inconsistent at times, but they bring talented playmakers on both sides of the ball. The 49ers could make a statement with a win, but a loss isn't necessarily the end of the world. Well, if they're blown out it is cause for concern, but if they put together a solid four quarters of football they'll be in a position to have a chance at the road upset. While it'd be nice to go in and dominate every which way each week, going on the road and having a chance at winning is a good start.