JP’s Postgame Presser – Bears at Panthers

Jarrett Harry and Spike

Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte fumbles in the fourth quarter at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina on Sunday, Oct. 5, 2014. (Chris Sweda / Chicago Tribune)

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It’s not about just staring fast, it’s about finishing strong and the Bears have not figured out how to accomplish that on a consistent basis this season. Offensively they can’t seem to put together a complete game from start to finish. Before the season I made a comment that the Bears offense would have to carry this team because of the off/def statistics from 2013. The proof is in the pudding from yesterday’s game. The offense ran out of gas in the 4th quarter, 14 points in the 1st quarter, 7 points in the 2nd, 3 points in the 3rd and 0 in the 4th. Yes ZERO in the 4th quarter!

They never got in a rhythm offensively in the 2nd half. The Bears did come away with back-to-back turnovers in the 4th quarter. Jay Cutler threw a ball that sailed high over the head of Santonio Holmes which was intercepted and an uncharacteristic fumble by Matt Forte. The offense had 2 fumbles lost and 2 interceptions and as we know from previous JP pressers “turnovers will kill you”.

I saw some other things that jumped out at me on offense. The Bears started the game getting Forte going early and often. The Bears relied heavily on the screen game against the Panthers. Coach Trestman was finding ways to get Forte the ball in space. He finished the day with 17 touches for 61 yards and 12 receptions for 105 with 1 touchdown. Moving him around like they did yesterday will be beneficial as they move forward.

Another thing that was out of the ordinary was just 5 targets for Brandon Marshall and only 3 receptions for 17 yards for Bennett. We need to see more Marshall if this offense wants to get back to last year’s form. Bennett has been the most constant player on the Bears offense this season. The Bears used Bennett as a blocker in the absence of left tackle Jermon Bushrod. With all the talk about how good the Bears offense was projected to be this year, it looks like they have a ways to go.

Defensively the Bears gave up over 321 yard on 64 plays to the Panthers. The Panthers went 19 of 35 for 231 yard through the air and 27 attempts for 90 yards on the ground. The Bears entered Sunday’s game tied for 3rd in the NFL in points scored off turnovers and they didn’t let down coming up with 3 takeaways. Isaiah Frey stripped Kelvin Benjamin, Lamarr Houston’s fumble recovery off the Willie Young strip and an Ego Ferguson tip for a Lance Briggs interception. Those 3 turnovers resulted in the Bearss scoring 14 points. The D did its part to help this team win the game.

X-Factors

Matt Forte

Forte did have a critical fumble in the 4th quarter, but you can’t deny he had a monster game on the ground and receiving game. Forte rushed for 61 yards and 105 receiving yards. Forte scored on a nifty short screen pass, which was his 1st TD of the season! I know he wishes he could have that lost fumble back..I know.

Ego Ferguson

The rookie is showing why Phil Emery selected him in the 2nd round of this past draft. With injury to Jeremiah Ratliff, Ego has had time to play and find his niche in this Mel Tucker defense. Ferguson deflected passes on back-to-back plays, one that was intercepted by Briggs. He will only get better as he gets more reps.

Kyle Fuller

This kid keeps getting better and better. He’s a rookie and is still going to make rookie mistakes, but the sky is the limit for this young kid. Yesterday it was last month’s offensive/defensive Rookies of the month squaring off, Kelvin Benjamin vs Kyle Fuller. Benjamin had 3 catches for 38 yards…Fuller won the battle.

Injury Report

Chris Conte (Concussion)

Jon Bostic (Back)

Last question

What have you taken away from this game?

This Bears team missed an opportunity to bounce back from the Green Bay game. Talking to my executive producer OC last Monday and he asked me, “is this game vs the Panthers a must win”? As a former player I thought to myself, every game is a must win. If you think about it the NFL season will fly by in the blink of an eye so every game is a stepping stone to a championship. That’s why every game means so much. Honestly I had this game as a win last Monday. There were some key things for the Bears to get a W. (1) With the injuries at Running back I thought the Bears could make Cam Newton one-dimensional and create turnovers, which they did three times. (2) Establish Forte early and by the numbers it looks like they did. (3) Get the D-Line to the QB and they achieved that twice. (4) MAKE SURE YOU TAKE CARE OF THE FOOTBALL AND WIN THE TURNOVER BATTLE…they lost that battle and the game.

Well it’s back to the drawing board at Halas Hall. Watch the film, correct mistakes and get ready for the dirty birds. It should be a fun week trying to talk all the Bears fans off the ledge this week. #BearDown Everyone.

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