The Bears had every opportunity to win against the Detroit Lions on Sunday, but reverted back to team who started off 0-3. The Bears should have won the game, but penalties, lackluster defense and mental mistakes were too much to overcome. Even with the controversial Golden Tate touchdown or not touchdown, however you looked at it, the Bears did enough on offense. They put up 34 points and in the NFL that should give you a good chance to win every week. To be honest with you though, they should have put up more points against a weak Detroit defense. The Bears defense played their worst game all season. We will dive into all of the issues in my 5 takeaways from the game, but my biggest concern is lack of consistency staying disciplined. The last two weeks masked the problems because the Bears won, however, all those problems are magnified when you lose. Let’s take a look at my 5 takeaways from Sunday’s loss to Detroit.
1. It’s good having Alshon Jeffrey back. The Bears offense has been progressing the last few weeks, but you could really see the difference this week with Jeffrey returning to the line-up. He gives the Bears offense the ability to open up the play book. All season long the Bears offense has relied on quick short passes in hopes of breaking those for yards after the catch. When there is no legitimate deep threat it really makes the defenses job a lot easier. They keep the two safeties back and keep everything in front of them. Having Jeffery back he gives you the ability to stretch the field and you saw it Sunday. Jeffry finished the day with 8 catches for 147 yards and 1 touchdown. Just imagine if he was healthy from the start of the season? This Bears offense would be so much better. I look forward to seeing Jeffrey and Cutler get the magic back I saw in training camp before the injury. Welcome back Alshon Jeffrey.
2. Did the Bears defense get off the bus? In the last few pressers I’ve been talking about the improvement of the Bears defense. This week I’m not sure I can find anything nice to say about them. They were BAD. Watching the entire unit was tough. Coming into the game the Lions offense had turned the ball over 9 times and was ranked 32nd in rushing offense, 30th in scoring and 26th in total offense. There is no way the Lions could take it to the Bears D…yes they did. The Lions gained 155 yards on the ground, 405 yard through the air. The Bears made Mathew Stafford and Calvin Johnson, who have been struggling all season, look like the best combo in the league. The Bears recorded one sack and that was apparent on Sunday because Stafford had all the time he needed to throw the ball down the field. The pass rush has been very inconsistent for the Bears defense and when the Bears cannot get to the QB it really shows the deficiencies in the secondary. What makes matter worse is Jarvis Jenkins left the game to be evaluated for a concussion. He has been a bright spot for this Bears defensive line this season. Hopefully with the bye week here he can pass the concussion protocol and be ready against the Vikings. The Bears defense needs to be able to put consistent pressure on the opposing QB or we will continue to see opposing offenses post numbers like the Lions put up on Sunday.
3. Jay Cutler + Adam Gase = progress. Watching Jay Cutler this season I have changed my tone just a little bit. I understand that he did throw an interception, but he also found a way to get past it and still give his team a chance to win late in the game. The Jay Cutler before this season would have let that INT get to him and crawl into a shell. Cutler gives you the feeling he enjoys working with Gase. Gase has really been able to bring out the best in Cutler so far this season. Cutler finished the game going 26 of 41 for 353 yards, 1 touchdown and 1 Int. with a QBR of 78.4. I wanted to see improvement out of Cutler and number 6 isn’t letting us down.
4. John Fox, what time is it? Players that that played for John Fox prior to becoming the Bears head coach told me some things that I’m starting to notice more now. They all told me about how he is a players coach and a great guy, but they also told me about his ability to manage the clock. We saw that late in Sunday’s game when the Bears were up 4 points and the Lions had the ball on the Bears 6 yard line. Fox let the clock tick after until the referee stopped it because Ratliff was injured. I’ve never coached a game in my life, but there are some things you just know by watching a lot of football. Fox defended his actions after the game in the postgame press conference, but I wonder if behind closed doors after watching the film he would have made any changes. We will probably never know.
5. The Bears have to be more consistent in the redzone. “We’ve got to do better in the red zone, we’ve got to do better down there,” said Jay Cutler and he is telling the truth. This Bears team has to find ways to get better walking off the field with 6 points and letting Robbie Gould tack on the extra point. The offense has become so pass happy once the Bears get to the redzone, but if you look back at the game Sunday they scored 2 TD’s by running the ball. I get that down and distance plays a big part in what plays are being called, but the Bears have to find better ones to light up the scoreboard.
Watching Sunday’s game aged me about 15 years. It has been that way all season long. Just as you watch this team take a step forward they take two steps back. This team is has to find ways to stop shooting themselves in the foot and that mean correcting all the dumb penalties. You just can’t have that. This game hurts not just because they lost to a winless team, but they missed out on beating a team in their division. Going into a bye week with a win is beneficial for a ball club that is trying to build momentum. It’s not time to panic just yet because this team has a little break to get healthy. Honestly this bye week is coming at the right time for this team. Hopefully they can refocus and get ready to right the ship versus the Vikings on November 1st. #BearDown
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