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With or Without Israel Idonije’s Help, the Detroit Lions Still Manhandled the Chicago Bears’ Defense

October 1st, 2013 at 1:33 PM
By Max DeMara

Who doesn't love an NFL conspiracy? Some Chicago Bears, after getting embarrassed on the ground by Reggie Bush and the Detroit Lions to the tune of 159 yards, apparently do. Their assertion? Former Bears' defensive lineman Israel Idonije fed his new offense line signals, leading to their success.

Lions' coach Jim Schwartz was puzzled by that assertion, to say the least, violently slamming the idea down like an obstructive headset during his Monday press conference.

"Yeah, I really think that's ridiculous," Schwartz said. "I think it takes away from the players on the field."

Idonije, for his part, didn't confirm or deny the allegations, as reported by Dave Birkett of The Detroit Free Press. As Birkett wrote, when talking on the radio Monday night, Idonije was careful to keep things clandestine while also agreeing with Schwartz's midday assessment.

"I'm a Detroit Lion, so there is no such thing as insider information, as far as this is my team, this is my family," Idonije said on WXYT-FM … "It just says a lot about the preparation and execution of our offense to go out there and just be able to deliver and dominate that defense the way they did such that they thought they're getting some sort of inside information because they're executing so efficiently."

His last point, as well as Schwartz's, is the real story here. The Lions didn't have anyone helping them or Bush during their first home game against the Minnesota Vikings, the last one Bush played completely healthy. That day, Bush was similarly dominating, putting up 90 yards on the ground, while getting loose in the passing game and second level with outstanding moves. Perhaps he is just that good in Detroit's offensive scheme.

Instead of signals, Chicago seemed to miss Henry Melton the most, as a good chunk of Detroit's running plays went over the middle. The Lions knew that Melton's backup Nate Collins wouldn't be able to go toe to toe with a player like Bush. Credit the Lions' offensive line for dominating, as well, led by Larry Warford and Riley Reiff, a few young players who are learning the ropes in the NFL and stunningly not missing a beat. Perhaps they are making the difference.

Basically, because of Bush's moves in the second level and the solid run blocking of Detroit's line, the Lions were able to embarrass the Bears up front and reduce them to slinging mud after the fact. How about the turnovers of the Chicago's offense? How about not being able to tackle Bush? Besides, if Idonije did manage to steal signals and Bush managed to figure that out, why didn't the Bears defense change things up for a new season? Wouldn't a forward thinking team do that, especially one going up against a notable former player?

Members of a proud defense should be ashamed this even became a story. At least one offensive player was. Credit running back Matt Forte for simply admitting his Bears were beaten and crediting Bush on today's Dan Patrick Show.

"Why do you think we didn't win? Conspiracy man, it's all his fault!" Forte said, joking around when asked by Patrick if Idonije stole signals. "No, I mean, coach Lovie (Smith) actually was the defensive guy calling the plays last year, we have Mel Tucker now, so it's a similar cover two style defense but I couldn't imagine the signals are exactly the same or anything like that." 

Patrick pushed further, asking Forte about the idea that the Lions knew Chicago's defense, which helped Bush excel.

"Well, I mean, you can know the defense all you want but we still have to play the game and make plays and stuff, I mean, he's a good running back. He made a lot of people miss and broke tackles and stuff. He had a good game." Forte said.

Forte then went into detail about the intense preparation from the offensive side of the ball prior to games, which can lead to success against a defense.

"As an offense, we study defenses and know what they do. A lot of times we know what blitzes they run and tendencies so it's kind of like knowing what they do, but as far as signals, that's pretty farfetched," Forte explained.

Forte gets it. Some of his teammates on the other side of the ball, trying to compensate for the massive amount of post-game egg on their face, clearly do not. The Lions were better up front and Bush himself was dominant against them, whether Idonije was a main factor in that success or not.

It's time for these nameless Chicago defenders to personally man up and simply take this loss to Detroit on the chin. In the first meeting of the year between the teams, the Lions simply did everything better. That's life in football.

Remember, the Bears still have their chance for revenge in November.

Max DeMara is the managing editor of Lions 101. You can find him on this site's Twitter @detroitlions101

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Tags: Detroit, Detroit Lions, Football, Henry Melton, Israel Idonije, Jim Schwartz, Larry Warford, Matt Forte, NFL, Reggie Bush, Riley Reiff

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