Thu, 28 Jan 2021

NOTEBOOK: Injuries pile up in loss to Bears

Detroit Lions
14 Sep 2020, 20:25 GMT+10

Tim Twentyman

When the Chicago Bears were in the midst of their 21-point fourth-quarter comeback, in what would ultimately be a 27-23 Bears victory, the Lions were down three of their top four cornerbacks and playing backups Darryl Roberts and Tony McRae, along with the lone starter left in the lineup, second-year cornerback Amani Oruwariye.

Starting cornerbacks Desmond Trufant and Justin Coleman (nickel) both left Sunday's game with hamstring injuries.

They join the long list of players currently dealing with hamstring injuries on the Lions' roster. That number is now up to seven.

Wide receiver Kenny Golladay, cornerback Jeff Okudah, tight end Hunter Bryant and safety C.J. Moore were all inactive with hamstring injuries. Wide receiver Danny Amendola was also nursing a hamstring injury this week, but he was able to play.

"When you have a couple of injuries at one position you're trying to do the best you can," Lions head coach Matt Patricia said after the game. "Guys that are going in there are getting ready to go. We have confidence in all of those guys when they've got to go play. We'll see what it looks like tomorrow from the injury standpoint and we'll assess and go forward.

"We know it doesn't stop, you know we've got challenges every week and certainly at the skill positions, the DB position, we know how important it is to have all of those guys out there and to have them be healthy. So we're going to fight through that."

Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky was 8-of-10 passing for 89 yards with three touchdowns in the fourth quarter against Detroit Sunday.

Detroit's health situation at the cornerback position will certainly be something to monitor this week, especially with a road game to Green Bay on the slate next Sunday. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers completed 32-of-44 passes for 364 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions in a win over the Minnesota Vikings earlier today.

HOCKENSON START

It wasn't quite the debut he had in Arizona as a rookie (31 receptions for 131 yards and a TD), but second-year tight end T.J. Hockenson made some nice plays Sunday against the Bears to start his second season in the league.

Hockenson beefed up this offseason and added muscle, but still showed off terrific speed and the ability to separate from defenders and make plays in the open field Sunday.

He finished the game catching all five of his targets for 56 yards and 4-yard touchdown grab in the third quarter that gave the Lions a 20-6 lead at the time.

Wide receiver Danny Amendola led the Lions in receiving with five catches for 81 yards Sunday.

It was a nice start to the year for Hockenson.

KEY MOMENTS

People will look at running back D'Andre Swift's dropped touchdown at the end of the game or quarterback Matthew Stafford's interception inside three minutes or the three touchdown passes allowed by the defense as the key plays in the Lions' loss. They are key plays, but there were other more subtle plays late in the game that contributed to the loss as well.

Holding on to a 23-13 lead with under six minutes remaining, Stafford took a sack on a roll-out play right on 2nd and 8 from the Bears' 33-yard line. The sack pushed the ball back to the 42-yard line. Detroit would get five yards back on the next play on a short pass from Stafford to Swift, but it pushed the field goal back to a 55-yard attempt, which Prater missed.

"Yeah, I probably could have thrown it away," Stafford said after the game. "I think that would have made the field goal easier. We probably could've gotten another five yards on the next play and we're in better range for him. I definitely wish I had thrown that one away."

Whether or not to kick the field goal at all, or try to pin Chicago deep into their end zone with a 10-point lead, was a decision Patricia had to make.

"I mean I think that we knew that we have all of the confidence in the world in (Matt) Prater and we know that that group has done a great job," Patricia said. "And felt that it was an opportunity for us to really be aggressive, which I think we tried to do. And make sure that we are going out and trying to win the game.

"I think it was certainly within our field goal range, from that standpoint. So obviously, if it would have gone through that would have been great. It didn't. You know, we were down a couple of players and we knew that being aggressive in that situation would help us win."

EXTRA POINTS

It was not a bad debut for Lions punter Jack Fox, who punted four times for 197 yards for a 49.3 average and 49.3 net. He dropped two punts inside the 20-yard line. Running back Adrian Peterson, 35, totaled 114 scrimmage yards (93 rushing & 21 receiving) in his Lions debut.

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