After last week’s big win over the Packers on Thanksgiving, most Bears fans started to think about playoffs. To be honest I was thinking the same thing, but had to slow down and realize that I couldn’t think too far ahead and just focus on the task at hand and that was beating the 49ers. The one thing I was scared of coming into this game was the Bears playing down to the level of their opponent. The 49ers are a bad team and coming off of a big win, I didn’t want to see a let down by the monsters of the midway. Everything I feared came true as the Bears lost to the 49ers in overtime. Coming off of their best game of the season the Bears followed that up with their worst game of the season. The roller coaster of a season continues for this ball club. Time now to jump into my 5 takeaways from Sunday’s game against the 49ers.
1. Not a good birthday for Robbie Gould. There is a reason why Robbie Gould is the 3rd highest paid kicker in the NFL. Throughout his career, Gould has been the staple of consistency. He is one of the most accurate kickers in NFL history. Robbie Gould came into Sunday’s game 24-for-27 on field goals this season. Gould would end up missing two field goals on the day, one to win the game at the end of regulation. People think being a kicker is easy. It’s a great job when you hit a game winner, but when you miss a potential game winner, you become the scapegoat. Robbie took the blame for this one after the game, but I can’t put Sunday’s loss solely on Robbie.
2. The Bears have a stable of running backs. I think most NFL teams would love to have the problem that the Bears have in their backfield right now. Adam Gase has shown that he is committed to running the football and I would be as well if I had 3 running backs like the Bears have. Last week the game plan was evident when Gase split carries between Matt Forte and Jeremy Langford in Green Bay. Forte has been nothing but one of the best players to ever put a Bears uniform and now with the emergence of Langford, the Bears really have a 1-2 punch. Wait; hold on, the Bears have a 1-2-3 punch because you can’t forget about Ka’deem Carey. Forte would finish the day with 123 all-purpose yards and one touchdown, Langford carried 12 times for 59 yards and Carey 5 carries for 17 yards and one huge touchdown in the 4th quarter. Having all 3 of them is great, but having only one football is a problem.
3. The Bears offense was flat. The Bears have been so up and down this season on the offensive side of the ball. On Sunday the Bears offense racked up only one touchdown on its first 10 possessions heading into the fourth quarter. The Bears had great field position all game and could not capitalize on it. Chicago missed out on opportunities to score Touchdowns on drives that started at the 49ers 41, 46 and 28 and their own 47 and 41. Today was the wrong day for the Bears offense to stall out. Jay Cutler was not himself today. This Bears offense is successful and clicking on cylinders when Cutler is in rhythm and taking care of the football. He finished the day 18 of 31 through the air for 202 yards with no TDs, 1 INT and a season-low 64.2 passer rating. This team missed out on many offensive opportunities and a chance to be .500.
4. The Defense played most of the day and started the game playing solid football. If you look at most of the game they actually kept the Bears in the game while the Offense was not holding up their end of the bargain. The Bears defense held the 49ers to three-and-outs on 6 of their first 9 possessions. The defense did have some issue late in the game which added to the loss. They gave up a 44 yard run by Blaine Gabbert that tied game in the fourth. Then in overtime they had a miscommunication in the secondary and Gabbert hit Torrey Smith for a 71yard TD to win the game.
5. Willie Young has found a groove. Willie young has been going fishing the last few weeks and it is fun to watch. Coming into this season I had no clue how he would fit into this new Bears 3-4 defense. Then added on to that I was wondering how he would come into the season coming off of a season ending injury the year before. Young has really accepted the rush end/linebacker position. Sunday he finished the game with 1.5 sacks and now has 3.5 sacks over his past three games. He really has been playing inspired football the last few games. It is a long way from the reports he wanted to be traded out of town. Glad he’s still here and I could care less if he keeps fishing.
I’ve said this repeatedly over the last few weeks, but this Bears team has to worry about themselves as they head toward the end of the season. Once you start looking at all that is going on around you as a team you can lose focus. When you lose focus in the NFL you can jeopardize your chances to win games like they did versus the 49ers. Now with the playoffs out of the picture, the Bears will not have the pressure to keep playing hard from people outside the locker room, but I hope they keep fighting and finish strong. I’ve been there before when you feel like there is no post-season in the future and you feel like “what am I playing for?” The answer is you are playing for your job and you are playing for each other. People think losing a game like Sunday is hard, what they don’t know is that trying to get up for the next game is even harder. Let’s see if our beloved Bears can dig deep and find a way to beat a Washington Redskins team that is 5-6 on the season and 1st in NFC East. #BearDown
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