False starts foul-up Bears in big way

The Chicago Bears set an NFL record last season by allowing nine sacks in the first half of a loss at the New York Giants.

They set a record in the first half Monday night when they lost to the Detroit Lions 24-13 at Ford Field. According to Stats LLC, the six false starts committed in the first half was an NFL record. They wound up with nine false starts in the game – eight on offense and one on special teams.

It was a stunning breakdown before the biggest crowd in Lions’ history at the stadium they have used since 2002. The Bears couldn’t hear on the field and went to a silent count early in the game. It didn’t work. It didn’t seem to help that the Bears practice with crowd noise piped in every week because they believe their crowd at Soldier Field is too loud when they are on offense.

“I’ve never heard it like that,” said Bears receiver Roy Williams, a first-round draft pick by the Lions in 2004. “We were 6-2 (in 2007), but it was nothing like this.”

The Lions faithful was jacked up to witness the club’s first 5-0 start since 1956;.

“We were going against a loud crowd, but that isn’t an excuse,” Chicago coach Lovie Smith said. “Pre-snap penalties kill you.”

They completely threw the Bears off, and the team’s defense surrendered a 73-yard touchdown pass to Matthew Stafford and an 88-yard run by Jahvid Best. It was a meltdown that has the Bears 2-3, three games back of the Lions and defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers in the NFC North.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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