Football

As the Bears prepare to face Matt Stafford on a short week…

With Matt Stafford out this week, Jeff Driskel will once again…

Making his first NFL start this week is done guy named David Blough…

Fuck it, no one know who is playing quarterback for the Lions this week and I wouldn’t be shocked if Scott Mitchell or Rodney Peete comes out under center on Thanksgiving.

The more interesting question is why Detroit always hosts a Thanksgiving Day game? I get tradition, but there are two reasons obvious why the city that time forgot shouldn’t be hosting any sort of national TV game:
1. The Lions almost always suck, which means its really never a good game, because either it’s a blowout or because like this year, both teams blow and the game is so poorly played, you’d almost prefer hanging out with your brother-in-law and talking about…work.
2. The city of Detroit shouldn’t and can’t have nice things. Detroit is a poor mans Buffalo, which is a poor mans Cleveland. You know you live in a shit hook place when the nicest thing the residents can say is how close it is to Toronto and Chicago.

My favorite joke about Detroit was the contest in which the runner up got two nights in Detroit, and the winner got one night. Shit writes itself.

People talk about what a great sports town it is and how passionate the fans are, but why then, aren’t these people showing up to support their teams:

Pistons

  • Currently ranked 2nd to last in attendance this season.
  • Ranked last in attendance last season.
  • Ranked 2nd to last in attendance in 2017.
  • Ranked 2nd to last in attendance in 2016.
  • Ranked 2nd to last in attendance in 2015.
  • Ranked 2nd to last in attendance in 2014.
  • Ranked last in attendance in 2013.
  • Ranked last in attendance in 2012.
  • Ranked last in attendance in 2011.
  • Ranked 3rd to last in attendance in 2010.

Red Wings

  • Currently ranked 18th in attendance this season.
  • Ranked 15th in attendance last season.
  • Ranked 10th in attendance in 2018.

Lions

  • Currently ranked 24th in attendance this season.
  • Ranked 16th in attendance last season.
  • Ranked 16th in attendance in 2017.
  • Ranked 11th in attendance in 2016.
  • Ranked 21st in attendance in 2015.
  • Ranked 12th in attendance in 2014.
  • Ranked 13th in attendance in 2013.

Tigers

  • Ranked 25th in attendance last season.
  • Ranked 22nd in attendance in 2018.
  • Ranked 16th in attendance in 2017.

What makes every single one of these numbers even more pathetic is that each of these teams are playing in what is considered “newer” stadiums.

But Brian, I came here to read about the Lions quarterback, not the city that was once Detroit. Yes, yes you did, so here we go:
Some guy named David Blough is probably going to start on Thursday. If you didn’t go to Purdue, you probably have never heard of this guy. Blough was undrafted this year, signed by the Browns, then traded to the Lions. The best part about getting traded from Cleveland to Detroit is that you wake up the next day and you are basically in the same city.

I can’t pretend to know how Blough will play against the Bears but getting de-virginized by Khalil Mack probably isn’t the most comfortable thing a rookie QB will experience. The Bears defense will scheme against system instead of individual personnel this week. It will be up to Chuck Pagano more than it has been this season to have the boys ready, as a loss to a David Blough led Lions team on national TV may be the straw that get some folks fired in Lake Forest.

I’m sorry you must witness these two teams play against each other; you will get eye-raped and it will not be pretty.

Bears 16 – Lions 0

Football

You are what you eat, they say. If the old adage rings true for NFL coaches, you are what your team is. In that case, Matt Nagy is a colossal letdown. I’m sure he’s a great guy, but his team has forgotten where Club Dub is and Matt is the Lyft driver whose phone just died. He’s spent the last few weeks pretty much just defending Mitch, so it feels like the other areas of the team is suffering due to neglect. The Eagles game was atrocious. The Bears were penalized nine times for 70 yards which doesn’t sound too bad but a handful of those penalties were pre-snap. Nagy, as is Bears coach tradition, has also forgotten how to properly utilize his timeouts, his challenge record is spotty at best, and his clock management has been terrible this year.

Multiple games have seen Nagy attempt a hurry up offense at the end of the half with minimal timeouts remaining and the resulting quick three-and-out and punt has put opposing teams in a spot where they can try to get points instead. During the Packers game when the Bears went for it on fourth down early in the 4th while in field goal range, with a defense that was playing excellently, it dawned on me: Matt Nagy is a 17-year-old playing Madden. Sure, he’s old enough to know better than to do it, but when his system isn’t working he tries to make it work instead of playing to the situation. Running a four-vertical play against a defense that had been getting to the QB with just a three- or four-man rush is totally something your idiot teenager cousin would do right before he takes a sack and turns off the Playstation.

It’s hard to know exactly what level of control Nagy has over the defensive play-calling, but that’s also been suspect. The Bears have stopped blitzing frequently, relying on the front-4 to bring pressure. Offenses have this team figured out, and the defense hasn’t adjusted from a philosophical standpoint. Matt Stafford can pick this team apart if given time, but he can also make mistakes if he is pressured. Let’s hope the Nagy/Pagano brain-trust picks that one up and doesn’t rely on Aaron Lynch to beat a left tackle in under five seconds.

The edge in this match-up has to go to Matt Patricia, right? The Lions are by no means a playoff team, but they’re a competent football team with less talent than they need to be serious contenders. The Lions don’t look great, but Matt Nagy is also not putting his team in a position to be successful. Too many of the routes being run were five-man curls or short routes that ended with a Mitch sack because an effectively run short zone defense wipes out 95% of the Bears offensive plays. When the Bears were moving the ball, it was because they were down by multiple scores and because it seemed like the first time in weeks that Nagy played to the team and Mitch’s strengths.

Even so, this offense has become so predictable that it’s hard to see how they can be successful at anything. If Matt Patricia wants to win this game by out-coaching Matt Nagy, all he needs to do is watch the tape, where the Bears offense has successfully telegraphed themselves into obsolescence.

Tell me more about the previously indicted for sexual assault head coach of the Lions, won’t you Wes?

Matt Nagy is pretty damn STINKY this year, which you’ve laid out nicely. But I’m not sure that Matt Patricia takes the edge based solely on how crappy Nagy has been in year two. 

Patricia, also in his sophomore season as head coach, is failing Detroit in ways that everyone thought he’d succeed – his defense. Detroit currently ranks 31st on defense, giving up a staggering 424 yards a game on average. This is after the team spent pretty heavily on the defensive side this offseason, bringing in former Patricia players from New England in Trey Flowers and Justin Coleman. The results on those two and the defense as a whole are clearly pretty poor, and whatever the plan was in terms of a system or tweaking said system isn’t working. 
Detroit chose to move on from the statue that is Jim Caldwell in early 2018 in favor of Patricia even though Caldwell had winning seasons in three of his four years in Detroit, albeit with some poor playoff performances. If the plan was to bring in a Belichick disciple and have him elevate your team to that next level, Patricia’s short tenure can be generously described as a disappointment. He continues the long history of coaches leaving New England and subsequently failing, usually miserably. There’s time to turn it around, but the natives are getting pretty restless in Detroit and his players seems to be on the verge of mutiny as well. 
Sure sounds an awful lot like the Lions have the same kind of issues on defense as Nagy and the Bears have with the offense: A scheme that either isn’t being executed/grasped properly by the personnel, not having the right personnel or some combination of the two. Regardless, it ain’t working. Patricia claimed him and Darius Slay spoke about his post-Raiders loss comments and they’re now on the same page, that some of the comments were mischaracterized by the media, that he sees the plays and he needs to coach better but they’re working and they’re close….sound familiar? This is all after Detroit gave up 450 yards to Oakland, including a 75-yard drive late in the 4th to seal the game while also failing to force a punt for the first three quarters. (what sort of shitty team allows the Oakland Raiders to go almost the length of the field in the 4th quarter to give up a game losing touchdown? Terrible. -Tony)
We’ve had this conversation before, most recently ahead of the Chargers game; the Bears offense is dreadful and they’re about to face a defense that’s as equally, if not more, inept than they are. SOMETHING’S GOTTA GIVE, RIGHT??? We’re gonna find out if the Detroit defense is just the right medicine Trubisky, Nagy and the Bears need or if Patricia can use Nagy’s poor year to get his defense back on track. This is a pretty massive week for both of these teams, kicking off stretches of four games with three they each have to feel are winnable (DET/CHI play twice between now and turkey day, sandwiched around CHI @LAR/vsNYG and DET vsDAL/@WSH). Three wins in the next four would put each team at six wins on the year and in the hunt for the Wild Card, but anything less and you’re going to start hearing about whether or not either of these guys gets a crack at year three. 
Nagy has his fantastic first season to buoy him, IMO. And maybe with a different QB the Bears look A LOT better. I think the Bears have to have a total disaster of a 2nd half for Nagy to lose his job. Patricia on the other hand, is coming off 6-10 and another losing season after the investments made and the depressing defense (allegedly his strong suit) could see him and possibly most of the Detroit front office fired into the sun. Matt Stafford isn’t getting any younger and his offense is performing well enough to win games, and none of that sentence bodes well for the defense-focused first time Head Coach staying in charge without showing progress – and quickly. Here’s to hoping Nagy can help Patricia start finding a real estate agent sooner than later.
Everything Else Football

I have an unpopular opinion to share: Matthew Stafford is a Hall of Fame Quarterback who is more skilled than Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. Additionally, if Stafford played in the Patriots system his entire career, he would be the GOAT and it really wouldn’t even be that close.

Now that I have your attention, let’s look at some all-time career numbers that back up my above-noted proclamation:

  • Career Passing Yards Per Game = 2nd
  • Career Passing Yards = 18th
  • Career Passing TD’s = 19th
  • Career Passer Rating = 22nd
  • Career 4th Quarter Comebacks = 10th

What is most impressive about these numbers is that Stafford is doing it with a Lions organization that can’t draft or develop anybody and has a long and dubious track record of having the worst front office in all of football.

Finally, don’t come at me with the whole “Stat Mafford” idea that his stats are ballooned because they are always trailing, and thus, have to throw the ball. Brees, Brady, Manning x2, Marino, Favre, Rivers, Elway, Roethlisberger, Flacco, and A.Rod are just SOME of the names that have attempted more passes than Stafford.

What you are going to see Sunday at Soldier Field is a guy who may be having the best year in a Hall of Fame career. This season, league-wide, Stafford currents ranks:

  • Total Passing Yards = 4th
  • Passing Yards Per Game = 1st
  • Touchdowns = 2nd
  • Passer Rating = 5th

In an effort to better explain Stafford’s 2019 numbers, let’s look at how they compare to Bears QB Mitch Trubisky:

  • Total Passing Yards = Stafford 2,499/Trubisky 1,217
  • Passing Yards Per Game = Stafford 312/Trubisky 174
  • Touchdowns = Stafford 19/Trubisky 5
  • Passer Rating = Stafford 106/Trubisky 80

There is nothing like comparing an opposing QB to Mitch in an effort to better build your case for the former.

Thru 7 games this season, Stafford’s throw charts are as impressive as it gets. In recent weeks, you can clearly see that the preference for deep balls to the left hash and outside is his go zone; the last 8 out of 10 TD throws have gone to the left side and 12 of 19 TDs have been thrown to that side of the field.

This is as impressive as it is scary; especially for the Bears secondary, who is coming into the game playing as good as they have all season. They’ll have to continue this trend because Kenny Golladay is coming into town and he’s not fucking around. Golladay ranks in the top 10 in almost every receiving category and leads the league in TD catches with 7. Marvin Jones will line up opposite Golladay, and actually has more catches (42) and only 1 less TD. Veteran receiver Danny Amendola (31 catches) rounds out a very formidable receiving corps.

Stafford doesn’t rely very heavily on his backfield in either the running game or the passing game. Running Back Kerryon Johnson is averaging about 50 rushing yards and only about 2 passing targets out of the backfield per game. All told, the Lions average just fewer than 100 rushing yards on 26 attempts per game.

Defending Stafford is difficult due to his ability to stay in pocket. He is tough, and will take some hits in order to complete a pass. He will also be a little careless with the ball, both in holding onto it and taking chances on throwing into tight spaces.

In predicting what we will see from Stafford on Sunday, I feel he will be able to make a lot throws, but will also give 1 or 2 back to the Bears. Ultimately, Stafford’s vertical passing and play-action game will make the difference in a close game.

Bears 17, Lions 20