Payton Presser: Bears have a long way to go
I can’t remember the last time a Bears versus Packers game had less hype in Chicago then last night’s match up. It’s understandable with the Cubs in the NLCS and the city on a Northside high. The Bears came into last night’s game with a good chance to win. Both teams had injuries at key positions, this was the perfect time to go into Green Bay and turn things around. After the 1st half things were looking up, but Green Bay’s offense stepped up their game and the Bears defense got tired and was out of gas. The Bears would go on to lose 26-10 on Thursday Night Football. Let’s jump into some of my takeaways from the game.
Hoyer is done for a while.
In the second quarter of last night’s game the Bears would lose QB Brian Hoyer to a broken arm. Hoyer went down with a combo hit by Julius Peppers and Clay Matthews. Hoyer was 4 of 11 for 49 yards before he was taken to the locker room for X-rays. The journey man was never going to be the solution at the QB position for the Bears, but he did bring a balance to the Bears offense that we haven’t seen in a while, especially this season. Hoyer showed he really had a grasp of Dowell Loggains’ offense by the yards he racked up, but couldn’t manufacture the points to go with them. So now that he is done for the season next up, until Jay Cutler comes back, Matt Barkley will be under center. The crazy thing for most Bears fans is they probably never thought they would be wishing for a Jay Cutler sighting.
Leonard Floyd showing the goods.
There has been a lot of chatter this season about the why the Bears selected Leonard Floyd 9th overall in this year’s NFL draft. Last night Floyd showed off the skills that GM Ryan Pace and John Fox love so much. The rookie was very active rushing outside and inside. The biggest thing I saw was his effort and speed that people have raved about. Those two attributes are things you can’t teach. Floyd showed off those traits when he got the ball out of Aaron Rodgers hands and recovered the fumble for a TD in the 3rd quarter. The good thing moving forward is Pernell McPhee is off the PUP list and hopefully he can get back to form so that will leave Floyd with more one on one rush opportunities. The more he plays, the better he will get. I looked at him as a project coming out of college so it’s going to take time for him to progress. Let’s sit back and watch him grow.
When the Bears can’t run the ball, they can’t win.
Back at training camp I saw the Bears were focused on running the ball, we also saw it in the preseason. However, that focus hasn’t translated into the regular season. It was in their only win that the run game was established. I knew it was going to be difficult to get the run game going last night against the stingy Packers defense. This Bears offense is not built on airing the ball out, but it flourishes when it can be balanced through the air and on the ground. The last two weeks we have seen them get away from the run. I would understand if you were getting blown out, but the last two weeks have been close games heading into the 4th quarter. Only 18 running attempts on the night. The Bears will have to find a way to run the ball to set up the air attack if they want to win another game anytime soon.
Penalties and 3rd down efficiency not good.
Another week and we are talking about the little things that keep setting this team back. When you are a team that needs all the help they can get, you can’t keep committing stupid penalties. In the last 4 weeks the Bears have committed double digit penalties. This week they had 10 penalties for 108 yards. I’ve been on teams on both sides of the spectrum and the successful teams don’t make little mistakes. It doesn’t surprise me that this Bears team is lacking discipline when you look at the youth and inexperience on the field. That shouldn’t be an excuse because you play how you practice. If these things are happening in the games, I believe they are happening on the practice field as well. Third down efficiency has been one of the things that has hurt the Bears offense all season. It’s not just converting on 3rd down, it’s also getting your offense in a manageable down and distance to convert. The Bears were 2-8 on the night and that won’t cut it in the NFL.
As I look step back and look at this team I’m not sure if they are in a good or bad place. The bad is they need more play makers on the roster. Watching them go through this tough time for the rest of the season could literally drain the life out of me. The good is this team could be so bad that they could be in line to get a top 5 pick. No matter how you look at it 1-6 is not good and things don’t get any easier next week when the Bears face their other NFC North foe the Minnesota Vikings. The reality is this week and probably next week’s opponents will show us how far this Bears team has to go in their own division. All we can do is ride this thing out and hope that Ryan Pace can add pieces. For right now, every game you watch, keep your eye on current Bears players that you hope can be part of the building process. No postseason for this team for 9 out of 10 years. The good thing is we can’t go any farther down now. We can only look up from here. I know that’s a tough thing to do. It will get better Bears fans, I promise, I’m just not sure when. #Beardown