Glover Quin had a chance to stop Anthony Miller. He ended up on the ground on the sideline, watching as Miller sped toward the end zone.
It was that kind of day for Detroit’s secondary.
Playing without injured cornerback Darius Slay, the Lions were picked apart by Mitchell Trubisky in a 34-22 loss to the Chicago Bears on Sunday. Quin, DeShawn Shead and Nevin Lawson each had costly missed tackles, and coverage issues created large swatches of open green grass for Allen Robinson and the rest of Chicago’s receivers.
“It is on us,” Quin said. “We have to turn it around. At the end of the day, we’re the ones out there playing. We have to get it fixed.”
Detroit (3-6) had played well against the pass in its first year under coach Matt Patricia, who was New England’s defensive coordinator for six seasons before taking over the Lions in February. But the secondary issues for the Lions in their third consecutive loss looked more like their old teams than anything from Patricia’s time with the Patriots.
“Ran into each other on one particular big play. We had a communication thing on another one,” Patricia said. “But look, in the end, I just got to do a better job coaching it up and getting them in the right positions and we got to go out and execute.”
The trouble began on the first drive of the game. Shead was unable to bring down Robinson on a slant, and he ran all the way down to the Detroit 3 for a 35-yard play. Tarik Cohen carried the ball in for the Bears (6-3) on the next play.
Shead got the start in place of Slay, who was sidelined for the first time this season because of a knee injury.
“Look, we’re going to play with whoever’s healthy and whoever’s ready to go,” Patricia said. “So, for us, if you’re out on the field you got to perform. You got to go out and execute. So obviously we didn’t do a good job early on with our execution in the back end.”
The 29-year-old Shead had more trouble in the final minute of the first quarter. Chicago was facing third-and-15 at the Detroit 36 when Shead was beaten by Robinson at the line. He caught up, but couldn’t find the ball as Robinson adjusted to make the catch in the end zone.
It was more of the same in the second quarter. Miller was wide open on a reception on the right side of the field. Quin came over and tried to bring him down near the 20, but Miller ran through his tackle attempt for a 45-yard touchdown that made it 19-0 with 11:24 left in the first half.
“We just have to execute better,” Shead said. “Just go in, look at the tape and just see, I mean the little things, the little mistakes. I know … one play was miscommunication on my part on the back end. Just being on the same page and just jelling together and executing.”
Chicago led 26-7 at halftime. Trubisky was 14 for 16 for 209 yards at the break with a perfect passer rating of 158.3.
The Lions’ chances for a comeback took a hit when Robinson ran out of Lawson’s tackle attempt for a 26-yard TD reception in the third quarter.
Detroit began the weekend ranked fourth in the NFL with just 214.6 yards passing allowed per game. But Trubisky finished with a career-high 355 yards through the air, and Robinson and Miller each went over 100 yards receiving.
“There’s a combination of a lot of fundamentals right now that need to be better across the board,” Patricia said. “Tackling is one of them, but there’s certainly, obviously, a bunch of things we need to work on.”
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