It’s games like Sunday that make you want to throw something at your TV, numerous times! The Bears were in position to win the game in the 4th quarter on Sunday. Whether it was the play calling or the inability to execute, they just couldn’t get it done. Playing without Alshon Jeffery and Matt Forte didn’t help, but the Bears couldn’t find the end zone until late in the 4th quarter. The coaching staff and the players have to take the blame equally. If the Bears would have tried for the field goal with about 10 minutes in the 4th, then they are not stuck in the situation to go for two. I know should of, would of, could of. Going into this game I knew it would be a test for the Bears offense going up against a stout Denver defense. It’s always good to win, but you can truly learn from the losses, hope that’s the case for this Bears team. Time now to jump into my 5 takeaways from Sunday’s showdown versus the Broncos.
1. The Bears are cold in the redzone. The Bears have made it to the redzone often, but leave more frequently than not without a touchdown. Sunday the Bears reached the redzone four times and only converted once with the touchdown by Jeremy Langford in the 4th quarter. The other 3 trips resulted in two Robbie Gould field goals, and the 4th would end with no points. The Bears have scored only 14 touchdowns on 34 outings in the red zone, that’s 38.2%, which ranks among the worst in the NFL. With all that being said you have to tip you cap to the Denver Broncos defense for keeping the Bears out on the end zone. The Bears will continue to struggle if they are not able to convert at a higher percentage in the redzone.
2. When Alshon Jeffrey is not in the lineup the Bears offense struggles. Adam Gase’s play calling is altered because Jeffrey is not on the field to cause the usual matchup problems for opposing defenses. The troubling thing is the injuries have continued to plague Jeffrey’s ability to stay on the football field. Do I think he is a number one wideout? Of course I do, but in the NFL it comes down to how reliable you are as a player. This past week he has been dealing with a groin and a shoulder injury. This seems to be a trend for Jeffery and not a good one. If Cutler is the driver of the car, then Jeffrey is the wheels on the car. You can’t go anywhere without them.
3. The defense did their job. The last few weeks it’s been fun to watch this Bears defense evolve. The one thing that jumped out to me was not only the pressure coming from the front 7, but also the pressure that came from the blitzes. Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio knew that he was going up against a 1st time starting QB in the NFL and the best way to test his knowledge is to send everything but the kitchen sink. Sunday afternoon the Bears defense sacked Brock Osweiler 5 times. Adrian Amos, Bruce Gaston, Eddie Goldman, Chris Prosinkis and Willie Yound were among the defenders credited with sacks. With all that good, the Bears Defense still has to find a way to stop the run. The Broncos ended the day with 170 yards on the ground from Ronnie Hillman and C.J Anderson. All in all the Bears defense did their part to put this team in position to win the game.
4. The return position is up for grabs. In last week’s presser I said the Bears might have to bring in someone or give someone else the chance to push Marc Mariani. We saw that this Sunday with wideout Deonte Thompson who was put on the kickoffs team. The best thing about this is it either frees Marc up to focus on punt returns or it pushes him to keep perfecting his craft. The worst thing you can have is someone complacent at their position in the game of football. Let’s see what Mariani can do when the pressure is put on him to perform. I just want to see someone return one to the house before the season is over, please.
5. Run for 2 or throw for 2. That is the question that I keep getting on Twitter. The Bears would get the late 4th quarter score, but still needed two points to send the game into overtime. There have been conflicting stories coming from the locker room after the game. Some guys say Jay Cutler had a play called and changed it to the run. Either way, the name of the game is to execute the play that is called. The Bears had trouble all day throwing the ball into the end zone, but remember how they scored…a run. For an offense struggling, offensive coordinators and players love to use what has worked before. Look I get it, I probably would have called a pass play because it gives you the option for Cutler use his feet if nothing is there, which he is so good at. I keep watching the play over and over and no matter what was going on the backside of the play, he had the chance to jump cut and walk into the end zone. As a running back you are taught the fastest way to get to the end zone is north and south so I can’t blame him for trying to hit the hole hard, it’s happened to the best of us. The decision everyone should be talking about is why they didn’t kick the field goal instead of going for it on 4th down with 10 minutes left in the fourth.
The Bears will go as Jay Cutler goes. It is simple ladies and gentleman, when Cutler takes care of the ball, the Bears have a good chance of winning. You can look at his stats, but the one section you can’t overlook is turnovers. He gets blamed for ones that he throws and the other one will fall on Charles Leno Jr. The Bears have to find a way generate offense when Alshon Jeffrey is not in the lineup. In a league where the tight ends are so valuable, getting Martellus Bennett and Zach Miller more targets could be a solution. Defensively the Bears need to fix the run defense before Thursday. Now this team sits at 4-6 on the season and I know that most people have no clue what is next for this team. The Packers are next on the schedule and on a night where they will be retiring Brett Farve’s jersey, how great would it to spoil their Thanksgiving party at Lambeau Field. If only Da coach would have kept the Packers sweater on for a few more weeks. #BearDown
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