Quick Game Comments: Lions at Bears 11/19/17

Offense

  1. The Lions came out stacking the line of scrimmage just like everyone else. The Bears responded by throwing the ball more, apparently deciding that they could actually beat the Lions defensive backs. They also threw some Mitchell Trubisky runs in. All of this combined to loosen the defense up and the Bear sustained a drive down to the 5 yard line before settling for a field goal.
  2. It didn’t help the Lions that they struggled to get a pass rush on Trubisky early.
  3. I thought it was interesting that the Bears chose to pass on that first possession in the red zone. I noticed the first thing they did when they got down there again was run Jordan Howard before throwing for the touchdown to Adam Shaheen.
  4. Shaheen had a breakout game as Trubisky hit him on some pin point passes in tight coverage.
  5. Shaheen had such a good game in part because the Bears apparently decided to target the tight ends this game. He and Brown certainly started hot with 3 catches for 36 yards and a touchdown.
  6. It looked like the Bears made a concerted effort to get Tarik Cohen on the field more this game after taking heavy criticism in the media last week for not playing him more.
  7. Second week in a row that we’ve seen the Bears run a good screen play. That’s encouraging.
  8. Kudos to the Bears offensive line as they dominated the line of scrimmage early in this game. Trubisky showed what he could do when he gets protection. Unfortunately things weren’t so rosy in the second and third quarters.
  9. Jordan Howard had a pretty good game as he went over 100 yards. The Bears seemed to find the running game a bit in the fourth quarter after stalling for most of two quarters before that.

Defense

  1. Not a fast start for the Lions as they just didn’t execute well early on. Stafford was a little inconsistent and fumbled the ball away on their first possession. You have to wonder if they didn’t take the Bears a little lightly. They got their feet under them in the second quarter.
  2. The Bears did a reasonable job of getting pressure on Stafford as that Lions offensive line initially didn’t look a lot better than it did last year to my eye. Like everything about the offense, they did a better job starting late in the first half.
  3. The Bears mixed coverages quite a bit and they weren’t always in that cover two that they like so much. The Lions did a pretty good job of finding holes in the coverage for big gains when they finally started moving the ball. Looks like the Lions definitely know how to beat zone defenses. It served them well today.
  4. Marcus Cooper didn’t do his chances of continuing to play a lot of good when he let Marvin Jones run around him like he was an orange traffic cone on the Lions second touchdown late in the first half.

Miscellaneous

  1. Thom Brennaman and Chris Spielman were your announcers. Spielman threw in some good points this week after a down performance last week.For example, he had an interesting tidbit about Trubisky calling out the blocking assignments at the line of scrimmage on a successful run that I thought was pretty good. Later he caught Stafford yelling “opposite” as he told the offense which direction to run the ball. Spielman also made a good point when he showed that the Bears were double teaming Theo Riddick. It’s rare to double a running back out of the backfield.
  2. Both special teams until played well, I thought, until Connor Barth missed a game tying field goal by a mile.
  3. Kyle Log got an unnecessary roughness on a rather stupid late hit. Prince Amukamara had a bad pass interference [penalty that cost the Bears about 30 yards. Both teams had damaging penalties.
  4. Drops weren’t excessive but Kenny Galloway had a huge one with less than 2 minutes left tin the game that took 10 valuable yards away from the Lions as they were trying to get within easy field goal range. It also stopped the clock. It essentially force a 52 yard attempt by Matt Prater to win the game.
  5. Akiem Hicks recovered a Stafford fumble on the Lions first possession. Nick Kwiatkoski knocked it loose. The Bears converted it into a touchdown. D.J. Hayden picked up a bad snap for the Lions and scored a touchdown as the Bears gave the points from the Kwiatkoski recovery right back [eye roll].
  6. The Bears lost Leonard Floyd to injury and almost lost Kyle Fuller but neither would have been bigger than the loss of Eddie Goldman. The Bears weren’t the same last year after Goldman went down. I was glad to see him go back in.
  7. Tweet of the day:

    @BradBiggs: Since #Bears went ahead 17-7, they have run 13 offensive plays.

     

    That was near the end of the third quarter.

    The Bears went dead in this game in the middle and couldn’t sustain what they started. They found their legs again for a bit in the fourth quarter and Trubisky made it a game as he led the bears down field to try for a game winning field goal.  But it was too little too late after the defense gave up a very long, time consuming drive that ended in a Lions field goal.

    The Bears showed some potential this game as they opened up the offense. They might have beaten a team like the Lions on an off day. But the Lions were the better team and generally played like it.

    Bears fans will just have to be patient.

Quick Game Comments: Packers at Bears 11/12/17

Offense

  1. The Packers did the smart thing and stacked the line of scrimmage as everyone has before them. The Bears tried to loosen up the Packers by passing a bit more on first and second downs, something new for them, rather than just running into the teeth of the defense every time. They had limited success but I think this is what they have to eventually do if they want to be consistently successful.
  2. One thing became evident early. Either offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains or, more likely, Mitch Trubisky likes passing over the middle. That might be just where Trubisky is seeing the receivers the best. I think the Packers figured that out and concentrated on taking it away as the game progressed.
  3. Adam Shaheen came alive and had some nice catches.
  4. Trubisky is still struggling with his accuracy. Easy passes are being overthrown. This has been far and away the most disappointing part of his game.
  5. Nice to see the screen play make a successful appearance for the Bears in the second quarter on a long run by Benny Cunningham. They need to do more of that. Of course, some success in other areas of the passing game would help with that.
  6. Dontrelle Inman brought a little life today. He’s not a great receiver but he’s as good as anyone the Bears have.

Defense

  1. The Packers didn’t do anything special here. It was mostly dink and dunk down the field all day. The Bears were just a step slow all over the field.
  2. There were a lot of missed tackles out there today in a sloppy game.
  3. I think the Packers went at Kyle Fuller so often because he takes so many chances recently. He goes for the big play but its risky. If he misses there is often an awful lot of green behind him.
  4. The Packers went with a hard count on 4th and 1 from their own 29 at the end of the first quarter and no one in the stadium, fell for it. Hundley wasted a time out on the play to prevent delay of game. That was a poor decision.
  5. The Bears had a lot of success blitzing Hundley, particularly where he was responsible for recognizing it himself and adjusting. It’s quite evident that although its hs third year in the NFL, he’s basically a rookie. He made some poor decisions.

Miscellaneous

  1. Thom Brennaman and Chris Spielman were your announcers and man, Spielman did not impress me. He added very little to the broadcast and sometimes seemed to reverse his opinions mid-explanation.  Brennaman is usually solid but there were situations where he seemed a bit lost as well.  Not a great day for the announcers, either.
  2. Both teams had a lot of success kicking field goals on a rainy day.  Of course, Mason Crosby missed a big one on a bad snap/hold at the end of the 4th quarter.
  3. Cody Whitehair had a holding penalty on the Bears first set of downs. There were two false starts in a row on the second set of downs. The Bears had four penalties before Green Bay had their first one. The Bears took an offside at the end of the first half that moved them back a crucial 5 yards as they tried to play for a field goal.It was typical of the day. Time after time the Bears shot themselves in the foot with penalties all day in a sloppy effort. It didn’t help that the game was poorly officiated.
  4. Tarik Cohen showed some shaky hands early juggling the first pass to him and flat out dropped a perfect ball on the second. Josh Bellamy had a bad drop near the end of the third quarter.  Inman dropped a huge ball on the last drive of the game.  These blown opportunities can’t continue.
  5. It’s a shame that Cunningham’s nice run on the screen play near the end of the first half was called a touchback upon review due to one of the worst rules the NFL has.
  6. This was a miserable game for most of the afternoon. Neither team really played well and the Bears in particular were flat and sloppy coming off of the break. Too many penalties and they lost the turnover battle, albeit on a crummy NFL rule.With Brett Hundley at quarterback, the Bears blew an opportunity here. They were just a step slow all day and they aren’t good enough to beat anyone unless they’re on top of their game.

Was Releasing Gould a Mistake? Depends on Your Point of View.

Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune answers more of your questions:

I was baffled when the Bears cut Robbie Gould and felt it would come to haunt them. Now it seems obvious it was a mistake. Your thoughts? — @stewart_errol

Gould has been excellent for the 49ers this season making 17 of his 19 field-goal attempts. Gould missed two extra points in the preseason finale of 2016 for the Bears, one of which was blocked, and you should recall there were some key late-season misses for him in 2015. Connor Barth hasn’t been as good as the Bears would like and we’ll have to see if he can straighten things out in the second half of the season. I’d imagine it’s more or less a week-to-week proposition for him at this point. I’d also say that the Bears have made bigger personnel mistakes than at kicker. They’ve got bigger need-to-fix projects right now than kicker and it’s not like there are necessarily great options on the street. As I pointed out in 10 Thoughts following the Saints game, the kicker to keep an eye on right now is Cairo Santos. Unfortunately, he’s not healthy as he recovers from a groin injury that led the Chiefs to release him.

I’m sure a lot of fans still have this question. From what we could see, Gould was an excellent kicker and no one could possibly look at the situation and say the Bears did the right thing.

But here’s the deal. Fans don’t see everything. In particular, they don’t see what goes on in the locker room. And that might have had a lot to do with Gould not being in Chicago.

Gould was the Bears longest tenured player which probably made him set in his ways, as people who are in the same job for a long period of time are apt to be. To add to that, Gould was definitely opinionated and was not shy about sharing it.

The guess here – and it pure speculation – is that Gould had an attitude and one that special teams coordinator Jeff Rogers didn’t particularly like. The Bears had (and have) a young team and they undoubtedly wanted their players exposed to the right influences.

It’s possible that, for whatever reason, they didn’t deem Gould to be the right guy to have around. In any case fans, who are on the outside looking in, are unlikely to ever find out exactly what that reason was.

The Bears and Drops. The Ultimate Circular Argument.

Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune answers your questions:

I’ve expected more out of the short screen game to get Tarik Cohen in space. Seems every other team runs it more effectively. Is that true? — @fols54 from Twitter

That’s a keen observation on your part. I don’t know if I would say every team has a better screen game than the Bears, but it is fair to say the screen game has considerable room for improvement. In my estimation, it’s not a play Mitch Trubisky has executed really well to this point. Keep in mind it takes time to develop the feel, touch and most importantly the timing to be really good in the screen game. There are a lot of moving parts there with the linemen attempting to deke the defensive linemen and then getting out in space to clear a path. Cohen, obviously, has the skills to be really good in this area, but keep in mind opponents are being very careful with how they defend him. Jordan Howard continues to struggle catching the ball and really that has been a team-wide issue. The Bears have dropped 8.9 percent of catchable passes, the second-worst rate in the NFL behind only the 49ers (9.2 percent), according to STATS. Hopefully the Bears can iron out some of the timing issues with the screen game in the two months ahead.

I actually have a couple points to make about this answer.

Cohen could be very good in the screen game but we’ve seen the league rapidly adjust to him and I think there’s some reason to doubt his long-term viability in the league. Cohen practically made a living in cut back lanes in his runs but once defenses understood what he was doing, they started quickly taking those cuts away. The result hasn’t been good.

The Bears desperation to find a receiver has led them to split Cohen out and he’s done a decent job. But he’s awfully small and Trubisky has been struggling a bit with his accuracy. That’s not a good combination.

How Cohen adjusts to the defenses is going to be one of the more interesting stories in the second half of the season.

Here’s hoping executing in the screen game is part of the answer for Cohen. If there’s one lesson that I learned watching the Saints, it’s how important that can be to an offense. The Saints played off of their success in the screen game about as well as anyone I’ve ever seen and the Bears could use it just as effectively if they get their act together on it.

The second point has to do with the drops. I was surprised by this statistic but I shouldn’t have been.

I’ve noted a number of times during my quick game comments that drops haven’t been a big factor in the games. However, as Biggs statistic emphasizes, this is because they’ve thrown so few passes.  As a percentage of what they’ve thrown, they’ve been pretty bad.

The passing game is a lot like the running game in that it goes better when you build momentum. Pass catchers that never see passes all game have a bad habit of dropping the ones that come to them simply because it’s such a long time since they’ve seen one.

This argument is admittedly somewhat circular. You don’t throw because you don’t have success doing it. You don’t have success doing it because you don’t throw.

I don’t know what the answer is but I do know that the Bears need to break out of this. Teams have zero respect for their receivers, sometimes crashing 9 men into the line of scrimmage.

They aren’t going to compete with many good teams without a passing game.

Quick Game Comments: Bears at Saints 10/29/17

Defense

  1. The Saints are a really nice offensive ball club that came out executing. They did a nice of mixing it up on the Bears defense.
  2. It all started with the running game and the screen game with the Saints. Once they established those two plays, they did a nice job of playing on the defense’s reactions to take maximum advantage of their success. The Bears appeared to be very conscious of both.
  3. The Bears defense did itself no favors today as there was poor tacking all over the field. You can’t get away with that with an offense that is hitting on all cylinders.
  4. All of that poor tacking resulted in some atypical big plays. Those were what really hurt today as much as anything else.
  5. One thing you notice about the Saints is how well they block downfield. Its now those screen plays run.
  6. Akiem Hicks had another good game. He was drawing a lot of double teams and still had a big effect on the game. He’s certainly not slowing down after getting that big contract.
  7. Hicks and Leonard Floyd did a good job of getting some pressure on Brees. Nice to see Floyd blossoming.

Offense

  1. The Saints came out and did exactly like you’d expect. They stacked the line of scrimmage and made the Bears beat them with the pass.
  2. The Saints did a good job of pressing the Bears wide receivers off the line of scrimmage. They had a tough time getting open.
  3. I thought Kenny Vaccaro stuck out as having a particularly good game with the Saints. They were crashing the line of scrimmage and blitzing to stop Jordan Howard and Mitch Trubisky and that seems to be something he excels at.
  4. The Bears are having a tough time with that outside zone run play. Teams are crashing the line of scrimmage and getting penetration on it and stopping it cold. They had better luck running up the middle.
  5. The receivers did come alive a little more today (5 catches for 115 yards between Tre McBride and Kendall Wright). McBride had a big 40 yard reception to set up the Bears field goal in the first half. The Bears got them with the play action, something I think we’d all like to see happen more.
  6. I thought the Bears did a decent job of running up the middle. It wasthat outside zone stretch play mentioned above that wasn’t working well.
  7. I thought the Bears did a better job of passing starting late in the second quarter. The wide receivers had their best game all year.

    Interestingly, Trubisky appears to be picking his targets before the
    snap rather than reading the field afterwards. He’s getting away with
    it for now.

  8. Trubisky who took yet another sack near the end of the first half to make a Connor Barth field goal about 10 yards longer. Barth missed it. That’s two weeks in a row. He has to stop doing that.
  9. Trubisky is also still having trouble picking up the backside blitz. Not a great surprise I guess but he needs to learn quickly.
  10. Would have liked to have seen Trubisky be a little more accurate today. Admittedly he wa probably trying hard to put the ball only where the receiver could catch it. But he missed some big passes that we were told based upon what he did in college that he wouldn’t miss.
  11. On the positive side, Trubisky threw a tremendous pass to Zack Miller for the Bears touchdown in the third quarter. And it was a touchdown.
  12. Darned shame to see Miller get injured on that play. Story of his career.

Miscellaneous

  1. Justin Kutcher and Chris Spielman were your announcing team. give it up for Spielman who did a nice job. He brought a perspective to the game that was a bit different in a land of former quarterbacks as color men. Case in point: he taught us that when the offensive linemen aren’t square to the line of scrimmage it’s not an outside zone running play but a bootleg to the opposite side. He did a nice job peppering the game with such points.
  2. Connor Barth missed a field goal from 45 yards at the end of the second half. He wasn’t helped by Trubisky who took yet another sack to make that field goal about 10 or so more yards. He has to stop doing that.

    Tarik Cohen took the ball on a punt and he hesitated rather than just running up field. The Saints player on the coverage was going full steam and buried him. He has to stop that jittering and just go.

  3. An offside on Kyle Fuller on a field goal attempt gave Saints a first down. That resulted in a touchdown. That was a bad one. But overall I don’t think the Bears committed too may penalties today.
  4. Drops weren’t a factor today but Jordan Howard had a terrible one near the goal line late in the fourth quarter.
  5. The Bears won the turnover battle by getting two fumbles in the fourth quarter that kept them in the game.
  6. They say that every game comes down to just a few plays. Boy, was that true today. Take the four points the Bears lost on Kyle Fuller’s offside call that allowed the Saints to get a touchdown instead of a field goal in the first quarter, the three points Trubisky arguably cost the Bears by taking a sack and moving the Bears back on a first half missed field goal and the four points the referees cost them by taking away Miller’s touchdown and you’d have the Bears right in the middle of this game.

    The Bears actually didn’t playbadly. Their tackling was poor and that cost them a great deal but they weren’t committing penalties, they weren’t dropping the ball and they once again won the turnover battle.

    Having said all of that, I still think the better team won today. But the Bears hung tough with a team that was really playing well. Every game I think we see a little more hope for the future. Just another good draft or two and maybe they’ll be competitive with anyone.

 

Quick Comments: Panthers at Bears 10/22/17

Defense

  1. The Bears started this game stacking the run on first down but
    eventually the Panther’s started spreading them out, then attacking
    them up the middle. Presumably they were going after Christian Jones.
    To a certain extent, it worked.
  2. Other than that, I thought the Bears did a good job of stopping the
    run generally.
  3. Kyle Fuller had another excellent game. Eventually the Panthers
    started going to the other side at Prince Amukamara with a bit more
    success. They also attacked Bryce Callahan over the middle with some
    success.
  4. They’d have had more success but Cam Newton wasn’t having one of
    his better days. He wasn’t very accurate and that certainly helped the
    Bears cause.
  5. Kudos to the Bears front seven as they got sack after sack on Newton.
    Akiem Hicks, Leonard Floyd and Danny Trevathan all had sacks. That
    certainly helped as well. They took advantage of some bad Carolina
    blocking through the first quarter and a half. It got a little better after
    that to my eye.
  6. Trevathan really showed up again and had a very good game. He was
    particularly effective on the blitz.
  7. The Bears defense looked tired at the end of the first half. It was their
    own fault. Carolina dominated the time of possession (22:21 Vs 7:39)
    largely because the Bears kept scoring on defense.
  8. Floyd had a good game getting pressure but I got a little tired of
    watching him take an inside path to the quarterback, thus letting
    Newton extend plays outside the pocket.

Offense

  1. The Bears didn’t get the ball on offense until 7:46 was left in the first
    quarter because the defense was coring and giving the ball back to the
    Panthers.
  2. The Panthers stacked the line of scrimmage when they saw triple tight
    end but mostly they played light in the box. you’d think the Pittsburgh
    tape would have told them not to do that but… whatever.
  3. The Bears are so bad at wide receiver that they basically made Tarik
    Cohen into one today. Whenever he and Jordan Howard were on the
    field at the same time, the Panthers were smart enough to treat him
    like one as well and put the nickel defense on the field. Cohen still had
    a huge 70 yard reception setting up a field goal.
  4. Mitch Trubisky is still holding the ball too long. He had a sack at the
    end of the first quarter that put them back to the limit of Connor
    Barth field goal range at the 34 yard line. Barth missed it. He can’t
    take a sack there.
  5. Not a great day for Trubisky today. He was under pressure on third
    and long with a blitz coming where he really needed to get rid of the
    ball. He looks like he just doesn’t know where to go with the ball, yet.
  6. I like the way that the Bears will occasionally go into the hurry up to
    prevent Carolina from substituting. It works.
  7. Cody Whitehair is really having problems this year. In addition to the
    bad snaps before this game, he’s been getting pushed around quite a
    bit more than you’d like up front.
  8. Did OK but they allowed too much penetration in some important
    spots today.

Miscellaneous

  1. Ian Eagle and Dan Fouts were fine.  Can say that I learned a lot but we’ve certainly had worse.
  2. Connor Barth had a 42 yard field goal blocked. It looked like it came
    out low.
  3. The Bears did a reasonable job limiting penalties until, of course
    the offense had to actually come through and try to help put the game
    away. Then it was a flag fest.
  4. Cohen had a drop in the first quarter..
  5. Eddie Jackson had a banner day in the run over department scoringon a long fumble recovery and then on a pick six, both over 70 yards.
    Credit Amukamara on the assist on the lick six as he tipped the ball into
    the air with some good coverage. Trevathan had a huge interception
    midway through the fourth quarter. The Bears once again did a good
    job here and it was key to keeping them in the game.
  6. This was a terrible offensive game for the Bears today. They ran just
    37 offensive plays and converted exactly two third downs. They had
    the ball six times in the second half and all but the last one were three
    and outs. They held the ball for only 21:25 and hung the defense out
    to dry, leaving them on the field for 38:35 to wear down to a nub. This
    just has to get better.

    On the bright side the defense played great today and really carried
    the day. They not only accounted for stopping the Panthers but they
    did almost all of the scoring, as well. Those guys were heroes today.

    If you want the bottom line, its in the usual stats. The Bears won the
    turnover battle (2-0), They had few penalties (only 2 until late in the fourth quarter) and they didn’t drop the ball much if for no other reason than there were so few passes. The Bears don’t have a big margin for error but they played reasonably well on a day that Cam Newton really didn’t. That was enough.

 

Quick Comments: Bears at Ravens 10/14/17

Defense

  1. The Bears played a light box against the run. Presumably that’s
    because the Ravens had lost both their starting guards (Alex Lewis and
    perennial Pro Bowler Marshal Yanda) to season-ending injuries and
    center Ryan Jensen is in his first year as a full-time starter.
  2. Having said that, the Ravens had some success running up the middle
    against the Bears. Middle linebacker is still a weakness with
    Christian Jones starting for the injured Jerrell Freeman.
  3. In addition, the Ravens were able to take advantage of Danny Trevanthan’s aggressiveness. Trevanthan otherwise had a great game, though.
  4. I loved the aggressiveness that the defensive backs played with this game. The Ravens evidently thought they had a mismatch with Kyle Fuller because they tried to pick on him but he generally did a good job in coverage. Fuller, Eddie Jackson and Adrian Amos all played fast and hit hard.
  5. Kudos to Joe Flacco and the Ravens offense for handling the Bears blitz so well. They picked it up well, Flacco stayed calm and dealt the ball effectively.

Offense

  1. The Ravens did what you’d expect and crashed the line of scrimmage and challenged the Bears to throw the ball. As in all of the previous games it generally worked. The Ravens have a good, tough secondary and the Bears passing game with no wide receivers is limited.
  2. Like the Vikings before them, the Ravens did a good job of eliminating cut back lanes for Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen and the outside zone runs weren’t working well. Terrell Suggs ate Dion Simms alive on the outside.
  3. However, the Bears did have success running up the middle. There are probably two reasons for that. Ravens defensive tackle Brandon Williams is still out and he’s their best run defender. On the other side, the Bears interior line of Josh Sitton, Cody Whitehair and Kyle Long are healthy and they were doing a good job of blowing Ravens off of the line of scrimmage.
  4. I thought Howard could have been more patient on some of those runs in the first half. It looked to me like he came out after half and did better in that area.
  5. The Ravens obviously wanted to show Mitch Trubisky a lot of different
    looks and the Bears did a good job of limiting that by going to the hurry up in any obvious passing situation, mainly third and long.
  6. The Bears really need to open up the deep passing game and, at least for now, Trubisky is showing some limitations in that area. He had some opportunities to complete some long passes and some of them were way off today. We heard that he was throwing a good deep ball all through camp. I haven’t seen it yet.
  7. Trubisky did do a good job of taking care of the ball, though. He
    apparently got the message that the one cardinal sin he could
    commit at this point is giving the ball away. Yes, he did have a
    critical fumble and he’s going to have to eventually do a better
    jhob of picking up blitzes and he’s going to have to develop a
    better feel in the pocket. But more importantly, Trubisky threw
    the ball away a lot to live to fight another day rather than
    forcing it. When you’ve got a good defense, that’s what you have
    to do.
  8. Someone has to do something about Whitehair’s bad snaps. This is ridiculous.
  9. Is there anything Tarik Cohen can’t do? 25 yard touchdown pass to Zach Miller. You can’t win consistently with gadget plays, though. Eventually these guys have to execute. But, hey, it worked.

Miscellaneous

  1. Sam Rosen and Ronde Barber did this game and I think Barber really had a good day. He wasn’t always on point but he made a lot more sharp comments than duds and was pretty much on top of the action all game.
  2. Bears special teams allowed a boneheaded touchdown when everyone stopped but the runner, Bobby Rainey, who was tripped up by his own man and wasn’t down. They then allowed the game tying touchdown with less than 2 minutes left in the game. Pat O’Donnell shanked a unt in over time. Needless to say they’ve had better days.
  3. The Bears had no notable drops. The Ravens had only one or two.
  4. The Bears reportedly stressed the fact that they had to cut down penalties if they were going to win and they did with only 4 penalties for 34 yards in regulation. Unfortunately they were still at critical times but they did still cut them down.
  5. Trevathan recovered a fumble in the second quarter with the Ravens driving. Unfortunately the Bears failed to take advantage as they followed it with a three and out. Bryce Callahan had an athletic interception in the second quarter after a crushing hit to Breshad Perriman by Eddie Jackson. The Bears took advantage of that ohne and followed it with that Cohen touchdown pass. On the Bears side Tarik Cohen had a critical fumble in Bears territory near the end of the third quarter with the Bears up by only a touchdown after that idiotic kickoff return for a touchdown. The Ravens eventually kicked a field goal to cut into the lead. That was followed by a back breaking Trubisky fumble on a delayed blitz but Lardarius Webb, also in Bears territory. That one was floowed by a pick six by Adrian Amos.
  6. The Bears did a pretty good job of cleaning up a lot of things today. There were no notable dropped balls, they had on;y two penalties and, probably most important, they won the turnover battle. Indeed, no game that I remember so drastically showed how important it is to do the last. The Bears fortunes literally varied as the ball got passed back and forth and while you’d like to see the offense clean up their requisite two turnovers (fumbles by Trubisky and Cohen), the defense carried the day with not only good, fast, aggressive play but by getting three turnovers, themselves. I and many others with me have said it time after time. The defense has to get turnovers if the team wants to win consistently.

And yet they still tried so hard to find ways to lose this game. While cutting the penalties down they committed them at critical times late in the game and then again in over time. Special teams were a disaster and it cost them dearly at the end. As Barber said near the end of the game, this is what 1-4 (now 2-4) teams look like.

Kudos to the Bears for winning it in the end. But, man… give us a break, will you?

 

Quick Comments:  Steelers at Bears 2017-09-24

Defense

  1. The Bears did a good job against the Steelers run and did a reasonable job of containing Le’Veon Bell.  The Steelers did better running the ball in the second half.
  2. As expected, the Steelers attacked the Bears corners deep  on the outside.  The Bears tried to stay in a 2 deep zone but Pittsburgh receivers were constantly gone at them when in man coverage.   They seemed to be particularly attacking Marcus Cooper.  Fortunately the coverage was generally better than last week.
  3. The zone defense was generally effective today.  The Steelers weren’t executing all that well and you have to do that if you are going to dink and dunk down the field.
  4. John Time saw some playing time and made some plays.
  5. I thought Ben Roethlisberger struggled with his accuracy a bit more than usual this game.  He did a great job extending plays, though, and completed a number of passes that you couldn’t imagine, say, Mike Glennon making.
  6. Generally speaking the Bears needed to get more pressure on Roethlisberger.  It wasn’t awful and in fairness, Roethlisberger was often getting the ball out quick as they tried to pick apart the Bears zone with short passing.  But they generally just weren’t getting  to him quickly enough.
  7. Kudos to Pernell McPhee with a huge sac in the fourth quarter with the Steelers driving.
  8. As I watched the Bears defense today I really wish they had more team speed.   It just seemed like the Steelers were getting too many yards after the catch before Bears defenders could get to them.  The good news is that the tackling was generally good, something that’s essential if you are going to play that way.

Offense

  1. Somewhat to my surprise, the Steelers decided to play double tight end offensive sets with seven in the box.  There’s really nothing to fear from the Bears passing game and there’s no reason not to bring down an eighth guy.  Eventually they started crashing the line of scrimmage in the second half.
  2. Bears responded by running the ball.  They scored after the Steelers muffed punt in the first quarterly running the ball six times straight with no passes.  They had some success with misdirection.
  3. Whenever the Bears did try to pass it was generally a disaster.  Glennon was in constant trouble in apparently in large part because no one was open.  They did score an wide open Adam Shaheen touchdown on a nice play action pass.
  4. Jordan Howard ran very well, today.  He may have been a bit upset at his lack of production in the first two games.  He ran extremely hard and demonstrated some of that vision he had last year.
  5. Howard and Tarik Cohen make quite a one-two punch in the backfield with their different running styles.  Both did a nice job of cutting back today, though I think the Steelers did a better job of stopping that in the second half.
  6. The Bears seem to be having a hard time just snapping the ball this year.  Hronis Grasu had a low snap on a critical third down in the first quarter.  Whitehair had a bad snap in the fourth quarter.
  7. I thought it was interesting that the Bears started Grasu at center with Cody Whitehair at guard instead of Tom Compton at guard.  The Bears brought in Bradley Sowell at guard rather than bringing in Compton.  Compton had a bad game last week.
  8. Anybody seen Dion Sims?
  9. Steelers did not do a particularly good job of tacking as both Cohen and Howard made a lot of important yardage after contact.  I think the Bears wore them down by the time over time hit.

Miscellaneous

  1. Greg Gumbel was OK but Trent Green was a disappointment.  He didn’t add much to the broadcast.
  2. Bears kicker Connor Barth is doing a better job of kicking off.  He’s getting the ball into the end zone a lot since the Bears brought in competition for him in training camp. He missed a 47 yard field goal, though.  On the Steelers side, a muffed punt in the first quarter led to a Bears touchdown.  Marcus Cooper pulled a boneheaded play by slowing down short of the goal line and allowing the Steelers to knock the ball out from behind on a blocked field goal.  After much tumult, the Bears got a field goal instead of the touchdown Cooper should have scored.
  3. The Bears struggles covering the Steelers wide receivers caused a number of penalties.  Kyle Fuller had a pass interference in the first quarter and Bryce Callahan had an illegal contact.  Marcus Cooper had a very damaging holding call midway through the third quarter.  That gave the Steelers a fresh set of downs form the 3 yard line.  They scored a touchdown.  Charles Leno had a really bad false start on first and goal from the one at the end of the half.  That resulted in a field goal instead of a touchdown.  Roy Robertson-Harris had a crushing holding call, taking a good Tarik Cohen return back nearly 40 yards.  The Steelers had their share of penalties as well.  They had an illegal shift and a roughing the passer in the first quarter.   There were a variety of little pre-snap penalties on both sides throughout the game, especially the Bears.  All and all it was pretty sloppy.
  4. This was a disastrous game for Marcus Wheaton as he dropped at least 3 passes.  Zack Miller had a drop.  This is becoming an epidemic.  Generally speaking, tough to win football games this way.
  5. For the Steelers, Eli Rogers muffed a punt which was recovered by Sherrick McManis.  That led to a Bears touchdown.  Roethlisberger fumbled the ball after holding the ball too long an a Bears blitz.  That led to a Bears missed field goal but it may have cost the Steelers 3 points.  On the other side, Jordan Howard lost a fumble that eventually turned into a Steeler touchdown.  Glennon three a back breaking interception to J.J. Wilcox in the fourth quarter deep in Bears territory.    That led to a game tying field goal.
  6. The Bears tried so hard to lose this game.  They had a better team come into town and try everything they could to hand the game to them, especially early, with multiple turnovers and mistakes.  The ball bounced their way all game.  And yet they failed so often to take advantage.  Penalties, their own turnovers, poor offensive and in some cases special teams play in the clutch.  Once the Steelers adjusted at half time by crashing more men to the line of scrimmage to stop the run, points were tough to come by.  Chicago wide receivers:  1 pass caught for 9 yards (Deonte Thompson).

    Yet they still managed to pull it out with good defensive play despite repeated mistakes by the other units.  Kudos to the Bears for the win and for running the ball effectively in over time.  But, really should this have even been close?

It’s About the Turnovers. And Other Points of View.

  • Perhaps the best feature that Mike Glennon demonstrates and has demonstrated throughout his career is that be protects the football. That perhaps, was the biggest reason why his game on Sunday was so disappointing.

    Glennon could be ineffective in a lot of ways but two picks, one a pick six, and a fumble aren’t going to cut it on a team run by a defensive coach like John Fox. That’s why Jay Cutler isn’t here any more. It will be why Glennon loses his job sooner than expected no matter how many excuse you make for him and no matter much pressure he faces from a defensive front seven like Tampa Bay’s.

    It doesn’t matter if the Bears resort to recruiting high school players for their offensive line or to play wide receiver. Glennon can’t have many more games like this with Mitch Trubisky waiting in the wings.

  • There are a lot of reasons not to start Trubisky over Glennon right now. Probably the biggest is that Glennon is already playing in an offense with one arm tied behind its back with no wide receivers to speak of. Dooming Trubisky to trying to learn to play quarterback in this environment seems less than ideal.

    Having said that, there is one good reason to consider starting Trubisky. All training camp we heard that the major difference between Trubisky and Glennon was that the deep ball was part of the offense when Trubisky was on the field.

    It’s possible that Trubisky could get more out of these miserable receivers in that area. I’m not saying it would happen – there’s only so much you can do with the talent you are given – but its possible.

    In any case I wouldn’t look for the Bears to start Trubisky before Week 5. After having a good game against Atlanta, Glennon will get at least another game. After that, its Thursday Night football against the Packers on a short week and it’s doubtful that the Bears would start Trubisky under those conditions.

    I’d look for Monday Night football on October 9 as the earliest date we’d see him.

  • One thing that should be legitimately questioned after the Bears loss Sunday is the disappearance of the tight ends from the offense. Dion Simms got one target and it was intercepted. On a team with no depth at wide receiver, that’s something that seems to have “failure” written all over it.
  • Brad Biggs 10 Thoughts column on Monday afternoon is almost always the best thing I read all week. This week I will mildly disagree with one point:

    I thought the defense, by and large, was OK. They didn’t give up the big play. It’s not like the Bucs ran all over them on the ground. They did face some tough spots with short fields. Another thing the Bears did was allowed long drives. Tampa had drives of 13, nine, eight, 11 and 16 plays. Good defenses find a way to get off the field.

    The defense didn’t play badly. But it most certainly was not OK.

    Those long drives were a result fo the Tampa Bay offense picking apart a Bears zone defense, one that they were forced to play because defensive coordinator Vic Fangio doesn’t trust his corner backs to cover one-on-one.

    When they did cover one-on-one, Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston’s eyes lit up as he threw deep to wide open receivers who were on out matched cover men. Had Winston not consistently over thrown those receivers, the Bucs may have put up a fifty burger, something that may well happen with Aaron Rogers on the agenda in two weeks if something doesn’t change soon.