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Other Week 11 Game Recaps

Week 11 Game Recap: Detroit Lions 27, Chicago Bears 24

What you need to know

Detroit Lions

The Lions' pass protection stood out in this game. Rather than keep Ameer Abdullah or Theo Riddick in on third down, Zach Zenner came into the game at times in obvious passing situations and did an excellent job picking up blitzers. Matthew Stafford played a mature and poised game and didn't put his team in harm's way. Marvin Jones' route-running nous and technical prowess stole the show as he bullied Bears defensive backs. The running back split seemed to favour Riddick slightly, who looked more decisive and patient and took what the play gave him.

Chicago Bears

The Bears finally got Tarik Cohen involved again, and they also leveraged Mitchell Trubisky's running ability. Cohen was a big factor, scoring a game-tying touchdown in the fourth quarter, and Jordan Howard was more effective even though he was used less in this one. Trubisky was good as a passer as long as he wasn't pressured and made use of fellow rookie Adam Shaheen's length on a first quarter score. The Bears offense had their best game of the season by a good margin.

Detroit Lions

QB Matthew Stafford, 63 offensive snaps, Pass: 21 - 31 - 299 - 2 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 3 - 3 - 0
In a mature and controlled performance, Matthew Stafford kept the offense on schedule and in rhythm. After linking up well with Marvin Jones on some rhythm throws to begin the game, Stafford soon made a crucial error as he lost a fumble. Stafford appeared to be pumping the football, but was contacted simultaneously and let it fly loose. The turnover seemed to inject a new sense of urgency into his play, and he soon settled down with a hurry-up offense. Stafford connected well with all of his targets, but especially Marvin Jones, who consistently ran excellent routes and gave Bears defenders fits. Stafford was a little high on a couple of passes that he tried to squeeze between zones, but in general played an accurate game. His most impressive throw came with the Lions backed up against their own goal line. With pressure in his face, Stafford threw a flat-footed pass to T.J. Jones on the right sideline to get a first down. He would follow that up with his first touchdown pass of the game to Jones. The route by Jones a double move left the defender in no man's land, giving Stafford a straightforward throw. His second touchdown pass came on a simple pitch and catch to Ameer Abdullah, who had escaped the attentions of the defender assigned to him in man coverage. Both passes came with the Lions set up in the high red zone. The second half saw Stafford lead the offense with patience as they matriculated the ball down the field to secure the victory.

RB Ameer Abdullah, 29 offensive snaps, Rush: 11 - 22 - 0, Rec: 2 - 13 - 1 (2 targets)
Ameer Abdullah got the starting nod over Theo Riddick and found it tough sledding early. The energized Bears front seven was dead set on stopping the run, and did so to good effect. Abdullah often had to check his runs and cut back when it wasn't really a viable option. He got into his groove slowly and made a man miss on an outside zone run to gain 10 yards. His touchdown was a simple pitch and catch. Set up in the shotgun as an offset back to Matthew Stafford's left, Abdullah sneaked through the line of scrimmage and left his defender in the dust. In fact, the defender who was supposed to follow Abdullah in man coverage didn't even move.

RB Theo Riddick, 30 offensive snaps, Rush: 9 - 35 - 0, Rec: 1 - 4 - 0 (2 targets)
Of the two Lions backs that carried the load, Riddick looked the more explosive and decisive. He wasted little motion when the yards were there to be gained, and shows excellent patience, footwork and guile on the Lions' staple inside and outside zone runs. Riddick made Bears defenders tackle air on occasion with his spin moves. On one in particular (in the red zone), Riddick was unlucky not to pull away from a tackler and score. He almost busted off a huge run in the latter stages of the game, but was tripped up just as he broke through the line.

WR Marvin Jones, 62 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 85 - 1 (7 targets)
Marvin Jones assumed the lead dog role in the Lions receiving corps in this matchup, bossing Chicago defensive backs routinely. He and Matthew Stafford connected early on a smooth timing pass, a sign of what was to come between the quarterback and receiver. Jones' route-running nous and technical skill were crucial factors throughout the game, as he was able to consistently get open against both man and zone coverage. A deep target in the first half saw the football fall just short and out of his reach, but Stafford connected with him for a touchdown not long after. Jones' route left the defensive back in no man's land. After initially winning at the line of scrimmage by getting lower and chopping away the defensive back's arms, Jones stutter-stepped before darting towards the end zone. Stafford's pass was laid out in front of Jones, who plucked it effortlessly. Jones capped his day with a tough catch along the right sideline on third down, securing the ball before absorbing a thud right into the midsection.

WR Golden Tate, 48 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 32 - 0 (4 targets)
After a quiet start to the game that saw him eschewed in favour of zone runs and targets to Marvin Jones, Golden Tate quickly made his presence felt. Tate made an impressive juggling catch on a zipped ball over the middle before making a linebacker look silly in man coverage in the two-minute drill. In the second half, he showed good burst and patience on a quick screen only for it to be called back by penalty. Tate worked back to his quarterback on a quick inside-breaking route against pressure, giving Stafford a nice target.

WR Kenny Golladay, 35 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 52 - 0 (3 targets)
Kenny Golladay was the odd man out in the Lions receiving corps against Chicago, as it turned into a game of what could have been. Golladay drew an offensive pass interference penalty on his first target of the game, a deep shot down the left sideline. Not to be deterred by the infringement, Golladay bounced back with a beautiful route and catch on a deep crossing pattern. The Lions utilised his blazing speed in similar fashion off play action not long after. Golladay's next deep target saw the penalty go in his favour, setting the Lions up in scoring territory.

TE Eric Ebron, 28 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 49 - 0 (7 targets)
Eric Ebron had his biggest impact against the Bears in the two-minute drill in both halves, when he and Matthew Stafford were able to connect on long passes. The first came on an impressive sideline grab as he absorbed a hit, while the second was a tad fortuitous as the defender in coverage lost his feet and fell down at the crucial moment. Ebron operated mostly as an outlet receiver, as Stafford picked apart the Bears' man to man defense with his quicker, shiftier targets.

Chicago Bears

QB Mitchell Trubisky, 63 offensive snaps, Pass: 18 - 30 - 179 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 6 - 53 - 0
Trubisky was off on his first throw of the game to Tarik Cohen, but got dialed in after that, converting a third and long and using his whole array of receivers. Trubisky was used more as a runner on read options and looked like a threat to do more than get short gains. He was patient on a red zone throw to Adam Shaheen and also led Shaheen well on the short touchdown pass. He was too low on a pass to Benny Cunningham at the goal line and again later on a pass to Daniel Brown on third down. Trubisky also seemed to react poorly to pressure the few times the Lions were able to generate it without Ziggy Ansah. Trubisky's other bad moment in this one was a bobbled snap that was returned for a score to turn the tide of the game after a hot start for the Bears. Trubisky demonstrated good field vision in the fourth quarter on a touchdown drive to tie the game, and his scrambling ability converted a fourth and long late. He hit Dontrelle Inman to set up a game-tying field goal attempt that was missed and cost Connor Barth his job.

RB Jordan Howard, 31 offensive snaps, Rush: 15 - 125 - 1
Howard was back in a committee backfield with Tarik Cohen in Week 11, but was more productive for it. He had a 50-yard run on a play that benefitted from a pass fake that froze the defense. He had easy significant gains on many carries, including a red zone carry that was a walk in score. Late in the game, Howard was fresh and his four straight carries for good gains fueled the game-tying drive in the fourth quarter.

RB Tarik Cohen, 31 offensive snaps, Rush: 9 - 44 - 1, Rec: 4 - 15 - 0 (6 targets)
Cohen got the first target of the game and also got first down carries throughout the game. He even got a first and goal carry. He was making tacklers miss on multiple touches and his speed allowed him to get outside and soar over the pylon for the game-tying score in the fourth. One would expect him to remain this involved and carry at least flex value going forward.

RB Benny Cunningham, 17 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 18 - 0 (2 targets)
Cunningham was a small part of the offense, but got a target at the goal line that was too low and a nice gain on a screen pass.

WR Dontrelle Inman, 53 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 43 - 0 (5 targets)
Inman wasn't a mainstay in the pass offense, but he had the catch to set up the game-tying field goal attempt and had another nice catch downfield when he came back to the ball to aid Trubisky.

TE Adam Shaheen, 46 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 41 - 1 (4 targets)
Shaheen was pressed into duty and scored the game's first touchdown, sprawling for a diving catch in the end zone. He had a catch in the red zone to set up that score and another catch to help the team get out of the shadow of their own goalposts.