Payton Presser: Bears fall short in Indy
I had ample time to think about yesterday’s game as I drove home from Indy last night. All I kept thinking was that the Bears should have won that game. It was right there for the taking, but missed opportunities and undisciplined play resulted in the Bears leaving Indy with their 4th loss of the season. Even with this loss, I think John Fox’s team will be able to use the film to find things that they can build on. The process didn’t just stop after last week’s 1st win of the season, right? This team has some work to do, but let’s jump to my takeaways from yesterday 29-23 loss to the Colts.
What QB Controversy?
Not sure if you have watched the last few weeks of the Brian Hoyer era, but things don’t seem as dark as they did at the beginning of the season. My feelings haven’t changed since last week’s presser about who should be under center. Hoyer got another go at it and showed that he can be very efficient and take care of the football. Hoyer completed 33 of 43 passes for 397 yards and 2 touchdowns. I will be honest. Watching Hoyer in the preseason, I was very skeptical if he could be a serviceable back-up. Now, I think he’s what this team needs from a signal caller. The only beef I have with Hoyer has to do with not targeting Alshon Jeffery more over the past few games and especially in yesterday’s game. Six targets is not enough for your biggest offensive weapon. Not even looking his way on the Bears last drive is unacceptable. Hoyer has done something that I truly love and that’s take care of the football. He did that on Sunday and gave the Bears a chance to win the game.
Let Jordan Howard Spin!
Do you remember Boobie Miles from the movie Friday Night Lights? There was the scene when he was on the sideline begging to get in the game and told his coach, “If y’all wanna win, put Boobie in and let me spin.” That’s how I feel about Jordan Howard the last three weeks. If this team is going to keep taking steps forward, they will have to make sure Howard is getting no less than 20 rushes each game. Yesterday, he ended the contest with 16 carries for 118 yards and 3 catches for 45 yards and a TD. He is becoming a reliable 3 down running back. People want to “aww” over his stats, but I praise him on his pass protection today. He wasn’t perfect, but by watching from the press box I can tell he is getting a better feel of how defenses are bringing pressure. That means he is paying attention in film study and it’s paying off. Now back to his running abilities. For the 3rd straight week I’ve watched Howard feel comfortable running the ball in any running scheme and possesses the ability to run around you, through you or over you. The great part about him is we are seeing the first act of Jordan Howard this season. Just imagine what he will be like as he gets more game experience.
The Colts offensive line is known for giving up sacks and yesterday was no different for the Bears defense. They would find a way to sack the Colts’ QB 5 times. Outside linebacker Willie Young was the man of the day. He would finish the day with 3 sacks. Jonathan Bullard and Akiem Hicks each racked up sacks. Getting to the QB hasn’t been something that this defensive line has done a lot of this season. Coming into the game they had 6 sacks in 4 games. With the young secondary, the Bears have to make yesterday’s sack output a common theme.
Cameron Meredith Shines
Last week, the Bears received bad news when second year receiver Kevin White was placed on injured reserve after an MRI revealed a fracture to his fibula. It was crushing news for Bears fans who were really looking forward to seeing what he could do after missing all of last season. The hardest thing for me was watching him progress in every game that he played this season. The mentality of this Bears team has been “next man up” and that means with a vacancy someone has a chance to step up. Yesterday, that guy was second-year receiver Cameron Meredith. Meredith would end the day with 9 catches for 130 yards and a touchdown. Meredith did have a costly fumble in the 4th quarter, but his team and QB did not lose confidence in him, going right back to him on the first play of the final drive of the game. Watching him play yesterday, he looks more polished with his route running. He’s done something that White never did this season and that’s go over 100 yards. In my option, he gives you more than White was giving you this season. Meredith’s game and confidence should grow after yesterday’s performance. It’s good to have another weapon in the arsenal.
Connor Barth Decision
The Bears have to get the place kicking issues resolved, and soon, because you can and will lose games if you don’t have a dependable option. Connor Barth has been under a microscope since coming into the organization. The shoes he was brought in to fill are pretty big ones. Yesterday Barth would miss a 54-yard attempt wide right, but Colts safety T.J Green ran into Barth giving him a second attempt from 49 yards, which he also missed. If I was Fox, I would have a new kicker in every week to push Barth or find his replacement. Robbie Gould wasn’t perfect, but anyone that kicks after him will be held to his accomplishments here in Chicago.
Things still have me thinking after yesterday’s game. How does a team put up 522 yards of offense and have only 23 points to show for it? Also, a team can get 5 sacks and create pressure, but the back end of the defense is still getting gashed. I understand it is possible, but it is hard to wrap my head around. With everything that went wrong Sunday against the Colts, the Bears are a better team after week 5 then they were when they started the season in Houston. The biggest takeaway from yesterday’s game is this team has to learn how to finish games. They also have to cut down on all the silly penalties. The way this team sits right now with all the injuries, they can’t afford dumb penalties. The little things hurt this team yesterday and they will have to correct the mistakes as the Jaguars come in to Soldier Field this weekend. Oh yeah, they are coming off a bye week after beating the Colts 30-27 in London. Sometimes it’s hard to see the progress in a loss. But I’m here to tell you, I see a team working hard to battle with the men that they have at their disposal. New pieces were added to the foundation that we are building here in Chi-town. Have Faith Bears fans. #BearDown