Detroit will try to rush Chicago in ‘Monday Night Football’
In a setting that has all the makings of a frenzy, the Detroit Lions draw a Monday night home game against the NFC North division rival Chicago Bears while trying to extend their unbeaten start to 5-0.
The once-floundering organization that failed to win a game three seasons ago and has one playoff victory since 1957 will send its vaunted pass rush against Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, whose increasingly shaky outings bear the scars of a leaky offensive line.
The Bears (2-2) beat Carolina, 34-29, last week at Soldier Field, but did so thanks to an interception return and a Devin Hester punt return for touchdowns. The Bears got just 102 passing yards from Cutler.
Worse, the defense gave up a staggering 543 yards to an offense directed by a rookie quarterback, Cam Newton.
“We have to be better,” defensive end Israel Idonije said on the Bears’ website. “It’s a big opportunity to do that, facing a team with a lot of momentum on a big stage. I see an opportunity for every individual to turn it up and get better.”
Linebacker Brian Urlacher said, “It’s all fixable,” and defensive tackle Anthony Adams pointedly said, “We need to hustle more.”
The best defense could be in offense, given that Bears running back Matt Forte rushed for 205 yards in 25 carries last week. Similar domination would help keep the ball out of the hands of Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford.
The former No. 1 draft pick has 11 touchdown passes, third behind Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers. He’s been intercepted only three times, thrown for 1,217 yards, and connected with 6-foot-5 receiver Calvin Johnson for two touchdowns in each of the four victories.
The home crowd should be deafening, welcoming back a team that has attracted national attention by rallying from 20-0 at Minnesota and 27-3 at Dallas in consecutive weeks to post 26-23 and 34-30 triumphs.
Johnson said he had a taste of that raucous atmosphere last week when he attended a Detroit Tigers’ playoff game against the New York Yankees.
Monday Night Football, with these circumstances? “I can only imagine,” Johnson told WXYZ television.
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