As I landed at O’Hare Airport, I tweeted, asking Bears fans how the game was going. I received a bunch of tweets saying the Bears had the game in the bag. That made me feel good and relaxed as I walked down to baggage claim. I was so relaxed, I stopped at Starbucks to get some hot tea with honey because I lost my voice watching my Hurricanes lose to UNC over the weekend. There was no way both of my favorite teams would take losses on the same weekend, could they? What I hoped wouldn’t happen became a reality. The Bears ended up losing to the Jags 17 to 16 and for the second straight week they lost a game that they should have won. What is so hard to swallow is the Bears shut out the Jaguars for 3 quarters. Well, I guess we are back to the Bears that show up for one half and then disappear in the other half. Let’s dig a little bit deeper into yesterday’s frustrating loss.
Hoyer or Cutler?
Over the past 3 weeks I’ve praised Brian Hoyer for the job he’s done while Jay Cutler has been recovering from his thumb injury. In a previous Presser, I said “Brian Hoyer is the QB that this Bears team needs right now.” The Hoyer experiment might be on its last leg. Look, Hoyer had the last two weeks to solidify his spot as the starter of this team and he failed to close the deal. Hoyer would end the game going 30 of 49 for 302 yards. I give Hoyer credit for taking care of the football and racking up offensive numbers. But, late in games he has shown me that he not the guy you want with the game on the line. In some ways, I wish I could have Hoyer between the 20-yard lines and Jay Cutler in the red zone. Is there any way to make that happen? It was another week where the Bears had no problems putting up yards, but couldn’t put up points. Dowell Loggains has to find ways to match the yardage with points. On this short week before the team heads to Green Bay, the question is which QB will be under center come Thursday night. For some strange reason, I want to see number 6 back on the football field.
Alshon Jeffery is Frustrated
Alshon Jeffery is the Bears’ best offensive weapon and we saw that in the 1st half of the game yesterday. In the 1st half, he was targeted 7 times, catching 6 passes for 90 yards. The 2nd half he was targeted 6 times and only had one catch. Over the last few weeks, Jeffery has seen his share of double coverage from teams. Versus the Jaguars he saw a lot of man-to-man coverage with rookie Jalen Ramsey sticking him. Last week at Halas Hall, Bears coaches were very hush-hush on how Jeffery has been used in the offense the past few weeks. But I can tell it’s starting to get to him. Last week after Hoyer didn’t see him wide open in the end zone, he proceeded to walk off the field and give his helmet a Gronk spike. The truth of the matter is, the Bears are going to have a tough time this season beating teams. We have seen that already. If they want any chance of getting wins, they will have to get the ball in their best playmaker’s hands.
Willie Young Gone Fishing
We all know that this Bears defense has had its share of injuries and issues this season. Sunday they did all they could to keep the Bears in this game by allowing Jacksonville only 17 points. Willie Young keeps shining while Pernell McPhee is still out. What I love about Young is how he has evolved into an outside linebacker. Over the last two games he has 5 sacks and a forced fumble. He has a motor that doesn’t quit and we are seeing that with the season he is having.
Penalties and 3rd Downs are Issues
We have talked about penalties and 3rd down efficiency over the last 3 weeks with this team. When I break down a team, those are the two of the stats my eyes focus on. 3rd down efficiency tells the story of an offense and how are they able to stay on the field, on the biggest down in my opinion. Yesterday the Bears were 7-10 on 3rd downs in the 1st half. I almost drove off the road coming home from the airport when I heard that on the radio. In the in the 2nd half they were 0-7! When you can’t convert on 3rd down, it’s so hard to win games. Next up is the penalties that seem to keep piling up each week. This is the 3rd week they’ve had 10 penalties! Talk about a drive and momentum killer. The Bears have to be more disciplined and to me that starts in practice. Coaches always say, “What you do in practice, you will do in the game.” The fundamentals are one reason why this team can’t grow as a unit.
I’m going to forget about yesterday’s game because, looking ahead, the Bears will have their hands full with a Packers team that is pretty upset about their loss to the Cowboys and a Vikings squad that is balanced on both sides of the ball. We could possibly see the Bears 1-7 after the next two weeks. This was my biggest nightmare. But, it’s clear this team needs more draft picks to build on some of the foundation that I see starting to form. I didn’t expect this Bears team to be in the playoffs. But, I didn’t think it would be this bad after 6 games. No one is without fault in all of this. Both players and coaches need to individually look in the mirror over the next few days and ask, “What can I do to help this team?”. I want to see how they perform over the next two weeks against two division foes. When you aren’t playing for the playoffs, then you have to start playing to wreck other teams’ post season plans. That process starts this Thursday in Green Bay. #BearDown
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