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Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Mark Potash

End comes swiftly for beleaguered Bears defense

Lions running back D’Andre Swift (32) scores on a 21-yard screen pass to give the Lions a 3910 lead over the Bears in the third quarter Sunday at Ford Field. (Mike Mulholland/Getty Images)

DETROIT — Bears defensive ends Trevis Gipson and Dominique Robinson were celebrating the end of an almost seasonlong sack drought after they combined to tackle Lions quarterback Jared Goff for a nine-yard loss on the third play of the third quarter Sunday at Ford Field. 

Gipson was awarded the sack, but it didn’t matter to them who got the credit. It was Gipson’s first sack since Week 2 against the Packers. Robinson had not had one since the season opener. 

“For a second, it was like, ‘Woo!’ Relief. We finally got to him,” Gipson said. “Me and Dom talk all the time. We’ve been hunting down the quarterback — for three months now? And it’s been tough. 

“So it didn’t matter who got the sack. I just know the quarterback was down and me and him were there. So I was happy. I celebrated. Dapped him up. Hugged him. Lining up for the next snap — ‘All right. Here we go. We broke the ice. Let’s get it going.’ ” 

That’s when NFL reality gave Gipson a cold, hard slap in the face. Before his excitement could die down, Gipson was in a state of despair and bewilderment. On that very next play — a third-and-18 from the Lions’ 17-yard line, running back D’Andre Swift spun out of a Robinson tackle at the 25-yard line for a 35-yard gain on a draw play.

Wide receiver Jameson Williams followed with a 40-yard gain on an end around to the Bears’ 8. Two plays later, Williams scored on a two-yard run. Less than three minutes after Gipson’s sack, the -Lions led 31-10, and the rout was on.

“They got that big gain [the 35-yard run], and we were like, ‘Damn,’ ”

Gipson said. 

“You can never take a deep breath — that’s when you swallow water. [Stuff] can get tough. After that turn of events, it was like, ‘You can never get too high. Never get too low,’ because as soon as you look away, that’s when you might get punched.” 

It was that kind of day for the beleaguered defense, which came in hoping to parlay its cherished hustle, intensity, culture and pride into a strong finish to the season. Instead, it reached a new low. 

The Bears allowed 504 yards — 265 rushing and 239 passing. That’s the eighth-highest total in regulation in the NFL this season. 

And it’s the most yards allowed by a Bears defense in regulation since 2013, when it surrendered 513 in a dreadful 54-11 loss to the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. 

“I can speak for myself — I gotta play better,” veteran safety DeAndre Houston-Carson said. “If everyone does that and looks at themselves and gives an honest evaluation of how they played and enough people say they can play better ... we just didn’t have it. We just didn’t play good enough to give ourselves a chance to win. I know I didn’t.” 

Houston-Carson had his own moment of opportunity turned to dust. The Lions had a fourth-and-four at the Bears’ 35 in the first quarter with the Bears leading 7-0 when Goff threw a pop-up for DJ Chark in the end zone. 

Chark was double-covered by Houston-Carson and cornerback Kyler Gordon. But instead of an -interception or breakup that would have given the Bears possession, Gordon was called for pass interference. Two plays later, Goff threw a two-yard touchdown pass to tight end Brock Wright to tie the score 7-7. 

“He threw it up for grabs. It was right there,” Houston-Carson said. “I’ve got to find a way to intercept the ball and make something out of it, and we didn’t. I don’t know who they called it on.  

“But either way, we can’t allow the refs to even get involved. He threw me a punt. We can’t put it on anybody but ourselves.”

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