In the National Football League, head coaches will almost unanimously agree about one thing—turnovers are very bad.
For the Chicago Bears on Sunday, they were a major contributing factor to the team’s first loss of the season.
Bears quarterback Jay Cutler threw for three interceptions and coughed up a fumble in the third quarter in the Bears’ 40-32 loss to the Detroit Lions.
Cutler’s fumble, caused by Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, was recovered by defensive tackle Nick Fairley and returned for a four-yard touchdown. That led to a commanding 37-16 lead from which the Bears simply couldn’t recover.
Cutler led a furious charge in the fourth quarter in an attempt to get his team back in the game, throwing fourth-quarter touchdown passes to Alshon Jeffery and Earl Bennett. But Bennett’s TD came with just 43 seconds remaining, and the Bears were unable to recover the ensuing onside kick.
The Lions were led by running back Reggie Bush. After sitting out last week’s game against the Washington Redskins with a sprained knee, Bush came back with a vengeance. He picked up 173 total yards, including 139 on the ground. He was particularly impressive in the first half, accumulating 136 of his total yards in the first half and giving the Lions a huge boost with a 37-yard scamper into the end zone that gave the Lions a 30-10 lead shortly before the end of the first half.
Cutler is prone to throwing interceptions, and his play on Sunday reflected that. He now has eight touchdown passes on the year with six interceptions, and the three picks on Sunday were costly—the Lions scored 17 points on Cutler’s turnovers.
The third interception, a pass intended for Jeffery, sailed a good six feet over the receiver’s head. Cutler admitted that as an NFL quarterback, those are plays that simply need to be made.
"Throws I'm accustomed to making and usually make," Cutler said. "I've just got to make them."
The Bears outgained the Lions overall, 417-387. But Cutler was quick to point out that mistakes can indeed be costly.
“Three picks and a fumble, it's hard to come back from," Cutler said.
The loss for the Bears along with the Lions win has the two teams tied atop the NFC North division. The two teams will face off once again in Week 11.
The biggest key for the Lions was the play of Bush, who darted his way through the middle of the Bears defensive line on numerous occasions. His offensive line was able to create running lanes for the agile back.
The Bears were also playing without defensive tackle Henry Melton, who was placed on the injured reserve list earlier in the week with a torn ACL in his left knee. Melton was a big body in the middle for the Bears, and the Lions exploited his absence.
“We felt like we could dominate the line of scrimmage in this game, especially after they lost a key player to injury," Bush said after the game.
Dominate they did, to the tune of 159 total yards on the ground.
The Bears will now go back home and work to prepare to face the undefeated New Orleans Saints, who are facing off against the Miami Dolphins on Monday Night Football.
The Bears will have to work on relying on a short memory. Their miscues on Sunday were indeed costly, but they have a tough road ahead in the immediate future with the 3-0 Saints.
Bears linebacker James Anderson said it best after the game, it’s about making adjustments.
"We go make corrections," Anderson said, "and we go back to work."