The Chicago Bears went into Detroit for the annual “Lions and Tigers and Bears Oh My Classic” and almost pulled off the upset over the Lions. However, Detroit scored with 3:17 left to regain the lead 20-17, giving Detroit yet another comeback victory led by QB Matthew Stafford. This was Stafford’s 8th comeback in the 4th quarter this season, a new NFL record!

My biggest take from this game were the awful referees. How bad can this officiating get? It’s actually getting laughable. The CBS broadcasters Spero Dedes and Solomon Wilcots even got in on the criticism when they mentioned how this officiating crew has called more penalties than any other crew in the NFL this season. These officials lived up to their reputation as they called 11 penalties on the Bears for 139 yards (both season worsts) and 7 penalties on Detroit for 55 yards. They made terrible mistakes for both teams so you might argue that it evened out. However, Bears fans that watched the game felt hosed! Here’s a list of the referees for Sunday’s game:

Referees: Jeff Bergman, Steve Freeman, Dyrol Prioleau, Scott Edwards, Head Referee #42 Jeff Triplette, Line Judge #53 Sarah Thomas, Shawn Smith

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Beware of this group. They take all the fun out of the game by getting “flag happy”. They call anything and everything. Here’s a detailed report card (Grade F-):

  • They penalized the wrong team! What’s up with that call against Detroit that should have been called against Chicago? With 7:55 left in the 2nd quarter, the Lions had the ball on their own 40 yard line with a 1st and 10. What would’ve/should’ve gone for a nice 14 yard run by #36 Dwayne Washington was erased when Lions C #60 Graham Glasgow was called for “illegal hands to the face” in his grapple with Bears DT #91 Eddie Goldman. Only when we saw the replay it became clear that the only player using his hands to the face was in fact Goldman. What in the world is going on here? How can these officials get this THAT WRONG? If I were a Lions fan I would have been furious. CBS color commentator Solomon Wilcots was incredulous. I simply don’t understand how they could “see” an illegal hands to the face but then penalize the wrong team. It must have been a miscommunication between the ref that saw it (and threw the flag) and the head referee (to whom he told). In other words, when they got in the refs huddle and discussed the play, he/she must have told Triplette incorrectly. However, when that ref that threw the flag heard Triplette announce the penalty on the microphone to the entire crowd, didn’t he consider going back and telling Triplette that he was misunderstood? Are ethics a part of the equation? This is unacceptable. Big thumbs down here. For more, see: http://thebiglead.com/2016/12/11/video-jeff-triplette-made-an-egregious-illegal-hands-to-the-face-call-against-the-lions/

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  • They made up phantom calls. Two plays later, the refs messed up again. What was up with that penalty called on Stafford’s long pass to Marvin Jones? At first glance it looked like the flag was going against Detroit for offensive holding committed by LT #68 Taylor Decker who held OLB #94 Leonard Floyd. After the play continued and Jones caught the ball for a 48 yard gain, Bears fans didn’t worry because it looked like it was coming back anyway. However, the refs announced a DEFENSIVE holding. If you watch the replay, you’ll see all Lions receivers UNTOUCHED. So I guess I’m a little confused. The way the ref (I believe it was the female line judge Sarah Thomas) threw the flag toward the line of scrimmage would imply it was a hold against OLB #97 Willie Young who was pass rushing against Lions RT #71 Riley Reiff. While Young was rushing the passer, Lions FB #34 Zach Zenner tried to help Reiff with a chip block. Zenner then went out of the backfield into a pass pattern. The flag was thrown closest to this area. The only problem was, Zenner put on a nice block to help pancake Young. Holding on Young? Impossible. He didn’t WANT to hold Zenner. He wanted to sack Stafford. Holding?…..”C’MON MAN!”

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  • They are a disgrace. What’s up with Triplette and Thomas anyway? Judging by the photo above, they look a little cozy. Why is Triplette hugging her on the field? Why does he have his hand on her lower back? I think we have some ethics violations to be uncovered soon. Are these relationships OFF the field ruining the refs quality ON the field?
  • Let the guys play! The Bears comeback attempt was thwarted more by the refs than by the Lions defense. Twice in a row QB #12 Matt Barkley converted with passes that would’ve put Chicago in game-tying field goal range, only to be denied when questionable holding calls went against RG #62 Ted Larsen and LT #72 Charles Leno. I’m sure all the fans bought their tickets because they were dying to see Triplette and company throw penalty flags all over Ford Field. Thanks refs for trying to upstage the players. You succeeded! YOU ARE A DISGRACE! The NFL needs to address this officiating problem.

Game Balls nfl-game-ball

WR #81 Cameron Meredith – Meredith caught 6 balls for 72 yards and 1 TD. He continues to impress with his hands and his route running. He is becoming Barkley’s most trusted weapon in the passing game. I think Meredith has iced his future as a Bears playmaker. Whether it’s as a #1, #2, or #3 WR, the Bears have found a young player they can count on in the receivers room.

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QB #12 Matt Barkley – Barkley’s 1st road start went pretty well considering his teammates made more mistakes, yet again, in Barkley’s 3rd straight start. They had more dropped passes, penalties, and missed blocks. Josh Bellamy caught 3 passes on 7 targets. I counted at least 2 more drops by him. Barkley went 20-32 with 202 yards and 1 TD. He spread the ball around to 6 different receivers on Sunday including 3 WR, 2 RB, and 1 TE.

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TE #85 Daniel Brown – Brown caught 6 passes for 42 yards as he became a decent security blanket for Barkley. It seems like Barkley enjoys utilizing the TE quite a bit so if Barkley and Brown stick around in the coming years, they may develop a nice chemistry. Of course, don’t forget about #86 Zach Miller. He should have first dibs on the 2017 starting TE job. Whether it’s Miller, Brown, or someone yet to be named, look for them to become a big part of the offensive game plan if Barkley is starting.

CB #22 Cre’Von LeBlanc – LeBlanc had the big interception that he returned for the go-ahead touchdown with 7:07 left in the game. Don’t stop there however. He also recorded 4 tackles and provided decent coverage of the Lions WR’s throughout the game. Supposedly LeBlanc is so good in practice that he routinely intercepts passes yet this was his first real interception in a game. He could have a future as a solid cover man in Fangio’s scheme.

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DE #96 Akiem Hicks – Hicks was excellent once again. Last week, he was our Player of the Week with 10 tackles, 2 sacks, and a forced fumble. This week at Detroit, he recorded 6 tackles and another sack. Hicks is playing at such a high level that he could garner a Pro Bowl invitation at season’s end.

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Player of the Game – ILB #44 Nick Kwiatkoski

Last week Kwiatkoski earned a Game Ball. This week he takes our “Player of the Game” Award. He recorded 8 total tackles, 1 sack, and several intense hits on Lions ball carriers. Kwiatkoski is simply a hard hitter. In my notebook, I tallied him with 7 “good plays”. Kwiatkoski is only a rookie, but if he keeps this up, he might not give either Danny Trevathan or Jerrell Freeman their jobs back. Of course Trevathan’s injury sounds serious enough where he won’t be 100% until after next season begins. That’s why Kwiatkoski’s development is so important for the future of this defense. It looks like he is providing key depth at worst and a possible new starting role at best going into 2017.

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Recap of Predictions

Prediction : “Usually the Detroit crowd causes at least 2 false starts by Chicago’s offensive line.”

Result : In total, the Bears offense committed 5 penalties. There was one false start by Ted Larsen in the 1st quarter. There was one delay of game. There were 3 holding calls, one each by Josh Sitton, Charles Leno and Larsen. Barkley was only sacked once.

Prediction : “I would think the Lions will cause at least two takeaways.”

Result : I was totally wrong about this one. Bears had zero turnovers.

Prediction : “Detroit Lions 24 Chicago Bears 13. There’s just too much momentum for the 1st place Lions in a home game in which they’re seeking revenge against an old nemesis. I’ll take Detroit with the points.

Result : Detroit 20 Chicago 17

I was close but if people took Detroit with the points because of me, I’m deeply sorry. The Bears played better than expected. Overall, I still believe this Bears team is better than you might think. Their 3-10 record is not indicative of how much the defense has improved since Fox and Fangio came aboard. The main reason for the horrible record is the injuries, mainly to the offense. I mean really, how many NFL teams win games with their 4th string quarterback?

Bears record : 3-10

My record : 7-6 (I’ve won 4 in a row. Can I keep the streak going? Read my next preview of the Bears vs Green Bay later this week to find out)

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