Payton Presser: Bad News Bears
The last time we chatted, the Bears were handed a tough loss Monday night against the Eagles and a rookie QB. Last night: Different game, same result. After being embarrassed last Monday night on national TV, you would think they would come out with more fight. Instead, the Bears came out on another big stage and looked overwhelmed. The Bears came into last night’s game undermanned with all of the injuries they suffered a week ago. It’s crazy to think that coming into the Eagles game the Bears had one guy on the injury report. That’s not the case three weeks into the season. This Bears team is in need of so much. They need to get healthy; they need more consistency in all three phases of the game; and, most importantly, they need to start forming an identity as a football team. I’ve been wondering what this team is all about. But, after three games, I still have no clue. With all the injuries, it’s going to be a while until we can really get a grasp of what the future will hold for this organization. This is the second year in a row that the Bears find themselves winless after three games. Let’s take a look at some of my takeaways from the 31-17 loss to the Cowboys on Sunday Night Football.
1. The Offense Needs Work
For the third straight week the Bears offense has struggled to find a rhythm. The offense was abysmal in the first half. They were not able to establish a running game or stay on the field. With Jay Cutler out with a sprained thumb, Brian Hoyer was the man under center. Hoyer would finish the night going 30 of 48 for 317 yards and 2 TDs. The Cowboys were adamant in taking away the wideouts as an option, which left lots of opportunities for tight end Zach Miller, who ended the night with two touchdowns. Miller is going to have to be the safety blanket for this team moving forward. Once again, the Bears didn’t establish the run game. After being down again, they abandoned the run. Jeremy Langford left in the third quarter with an ankle injury. Rookie Jordan Howard saw more playing time and moving forward could be the workhorse of this Bears offense. It was great to see Kevin White making some plays last night. White played 52 downs last night, was targeted 14 times and finished with 6 receptions for 62 yards. Efficiency on 3rd down is still a glaring problem for this offense. The Bears would end Sunday night going 2 of 10 on 3rd down. Their inability to keep drives going is wearing on the defense that is already depleted by injuries. Just as the players on this offense need work, the same can be said for offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains. His play calling is suspect at times and hopefully with some time he can find a better groove. No one gets a pass on the offense. Everyone needs to get better and do better.
2. Injury Report
Harold Jones-Quartey (Concussion)
Jonathan Bullard (Foot)
Jeremy Langford (Right Ankle)
Mitch Unrein (Left Knee)
3. The Tale of Two Halves Continues
As I was watching the game and seeing the Play 60 commercials, I wondered when I would see the Bears play a full 60 minutes of football. The first two weeks, this Bears team would start the game with some promise, but would flame out in the 2nd half. This week, the Bears were nowhere to be found in the 1st half, but were more aggressive in the 2nd half. I know this is not going to sound good, but I am more worried about this team putting together a complete game then I am about getting a win. Once you can put together a complete game, then we can start talking about wins. You’ve got to start somewhere.
4. Defense Playmakers
The Bears defense can’t catch any breaks so far this season, but there are two players that shine to me. One of those guys is inside linebacker Jerrell Freeman. Since week one, you can tell he is a difference maker. When the first whistle blows, his motor is on and he is ready to go. He’s not perfect, but he seems to be around the ball every play. He is a double digit tackle machine. Last night, he racked up 12 tackles, 7 of those solo. The saddest part is his running mate Danny Trevathan isn’t on the field right now due to injury. The other guy that I have to give props to is cornerback Tracy Porter. He was matched up against Cowboys number-one wideout Dez Bryant. Porter would hold Bryant to 3 catches for 40 yards and one TD. That is a tough task for any corner in the NFL and he was up to the challenge. The Bears still need more playmakers to surface on the defensive side of the ball. With all the injuries, it has opened the door for guys to shine.
5. The Trenches
One positive was the Bears didn’t give up a sack! That hasn’t exactly been normal for the Bears this season or last. Week 1 Cutler was on his back most of the game and week 2 Cutler was once again running for his life. This week the O Line wasn’t perfect, but they played better. The line will have something good to build on after watching film. With time they will only get better as a unit. Leno and Massie will have to step up their games, but I’ll take no sacks off the edges. On the other side of the ball, the Bears defense also had zero sacks. I need to see more pressure from these guys. I need to see more of Leonard Floyd with his ears pinned back trying to get to the QB. A good pass rush is the secondary’s best friend.
The Bears are in football purgatory right about now. They know what they want to be, but I don’t know if the road map to their destination is very clear. As I sat and watched the Bears play last night, I had the Cubs game on my other TV. Just think about the process it took for the Cubs to be in the position they are in right now. Not sure this Bears team has the young talent like the Cubs, but they are getting the experience that is so valuable. Rebuilding is never easy, but staying focused on the end goal when you are not seeing results right away is key. As my mom would always say, “You gotta have faith, son.” The faith is there. I just need to see this team take a few steps forward in the upcoming weeks. Next up for this ball club is the Lions. Just when you think this is an easy game, the Lions gave the Packers a game on Sunday. It won’t be an easy one, but it’s one the Bears can win. Time for the Bears to watch the film, learn from it, and move on to the next game. Sunday we welcome the Motor City Kitties to the Lakefront. Will they leave purring or roaring? We will soon see. #Beardown