By Herman Moore:
Ford Lions Report Live Analyst
Lions Will Need Offensive, Defensive Intensity Against the Bears
If the Detroit Lions’ offense can match the recent intensity of their defense, then a win Monday against the NFC North-leading Chicago Bears is quite possible.
The Lions (2-3) scored just six points last week during the first half of their 26-23 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles.
Just. Six. Points.
That’s enough to make even the most ardent Lions fan question the effectiveness of the offense, especially when there are two of the league’s most prolific players in quarterback Matthew Stafford and receiver Calvin Johnson spearheading the attack.
We don’t have to mull over numbers, compare stats to others at their positions – they’re too good at what they do.
And that’s where the confusion sets in, where questions of potency arise.
Leaning on the D
Luckily for Detroit, its defense toed the line and allowed for the comeback win over Philadelphia.
Much of that success had to do with the return of safety Louis Delmas, who is better known as the spark-plug of the secondary (and possibly the defense as a whole).
Delmas’ energy was a breath of fresh air – the defense has lacked vigor at times this season, too, just like the offense.
Delmas will have to rally his troops during Monday Night Football if they want to stop the Bears’ high-flying receiver-quarterback combination of Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall.
At 6-foot-4, 230 pounds, Marshall has the physical attributes to dominate his competition.
Despite his personal issues with other teams, Marshall seemingly has found a great fit with the Bears – and that could spell doom for the Lions if they’re not careful.
The status of Jacob Lacey and Bill Bentley for Monday’s game are questionable and when facing a Bears offense that’s second in scoring (29.8 points), that could throw a wrinkle in the Lions’ pass coverage plans.
Brandon Marshall – who is Chicago’s version of our own Megatron -- is one of the most talented, physically-imposing receivers in the league today and it will be Delmas’ job – along with the rest of the corners and safeties – to lock down Marshall and not allow chunk yard plays to happen.
Keeping the chains moving is important. Not only do the Lions have to stand on-guard for the 20- and 30-yard Cutler-Marshall connections, but they’ll have to be alert for the short-yardage throws which create first downs, therefore sustaining drives and capturing momentum.
Marshall’s 22 catches for first down are the 15th-most in the NFL.
Pressuring Cutler matters
Cutler has one of the league’s elite arms something that’s never really been questioned.
However, once he gets rattled, the former Vanderbilt star gets in a hurry and ends up making poor throws or getting sacked.
Cutler isn’t Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kevin Kolb, who has been sacked a league-leading 27 times; but he’s taken a lot of punishment this year in the form of 14 sacks, making him the ninth-most sacked signal-caller this season.
Create turnovers, create success
How did the Lions overcome a sputtering offense against the Eagles? They relied on their defense, of course, which came through with game-impacting turnovers last week.
Interceptions are always keys and they can force a quarterback to mentally faze himself out of the game.
That’s what happened to Michael Vick – after a botched snap/fumble and two interceptions, Vick concentrated more on not getting hit than on beating the Lions.
Herman Moore joins Tom Leyden and Rob Rubick on the Ford Lions Report Live every Sunday at 11am throughout the season. You can follow Herman on Twitter @HMAN84
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Latest Lions Headlines
The Detroit Lions have claimed defensive back DeQuan Menzie off waivers from the Kansas City Chiefs. He started 20 of 25 games over two seasons at Alabama before missing his rookie season with a hip injury.
The Lions had to make changes after going 4-12 last season. They wasted no time in making adjustments to the offensive line, and two days into OTA's, the new group is hitting the field together for the first time.
Top Sports Headlines
By the time the final horn sounds at Joe Louis Arena tonight, the Red Wings could find themselves up 3-1 in their best-of-seven series with the Blackhawks. Before then, they have to keep their foot square on the gas pedal.
Miguel Cabrera is proving his Triple Crown season of 2012 was no fluke, as he sits at or near the top of the AL in each statistical category yet again. The reigning MVP looks to extend his hitting streak against the Twins tonight.
Red Wings forward Patrick Eaves fought through pain and turmoil to recover from a broken jaw and a concussion which sidelined him for more than a year.
The biggest offseason addition to the Lions offense? The answer is easy: Reggie Bush. Two days into OTA's, the running back is already seeing the potential to the question of how good the Lions offense can be.