- Bears came out in three wide and tried to mix it up. They had 20 runs Vs. 20 passes with six minutes left in the game they started playing from behind. The Texans played it mostly straight up with seven in the box and did a decent job of holding them, particularly in the second half when they prevented the Bears from putting anything together at all.
- What a first half for Alshon Jeffery. Four catches for 105 yards in the first half alone. Unfortunately the Texans quickly figured out that he was the offense and stymied him in the second half. Nevertheless, this could be the first step in a great, contract season.
- Jay Cutler (16/29 216 yds) also had some really nice throws but my heavens, he holds the ball a long time. I know he’s trying to make plays but when the Texans are bringing the house you can’t stand back there forever and not expect to get killed. The receivers were probably having a tough time getting open but it doesn’t help that he’s also not throwing with anticipation like he did last year. In fairness, he threw some bullets in some big spots just as he always does. But he’s regressed since Adam Gase left, perhaps yet another sign that he’s losing confidence in the team and the coaching (*cough* Dowell Loggains *cough*).
- The Texans didn’t blitz or stunt much but it still worries me that when they did, it worked pretty well. This is a carryover from the preseason where they also struggled with these things. Cutler definitely saw some pressure, especially in the second half and specially late in the second half when the whole stadium knew they had to pass. As noted, it was a lot worse when Cutler held the ball trying to make a play.
- Jadaveon Clowney had a good game today. The Bears left their offensive linemen without much help pass blocking for much of the game and both Clowney and Whitney Mercilus got good pressure. Credit the Bears offensive line for doing a good job on J.J. Watt, though.
- I also thought the line did a decent job of run blocking at times. Unlike in the passing game, it looked like the Bears were helping out Bobbie Massie by giving him help from tight end Logan Paulsen. The Bears ran mostly to the right.
- Cody Whitehair’s inexperience showed on a snap where he didn’t get the ball up to Cutler on a quarterback sneak. Cutler never had a chance to get the first down fourth and less than one. This was a case where rookie play cost them. You have to wonder if they wouldn’t have been better giving Whitehair a game or two to get adapted to the position as suggested here.
- But what stuck out the most to me about the running game was the way that running backs Jeremy Langford and Ka’Deem Carey did a good job of finding daylight and running to it. Both showed some good vision today.
- Kevin White was up and down. He apparently went the wrong way on a Cutler interception. He also had a false start, something that should never happen to a wide receiver.
- From the first snap this was a contest between the Houston running game and the Bears trying to stop it with seven in the box. Overall the defense didn’t play badly but generally speaking I thought the Texans got the best of them on the ground as they dominated the line of scrimmage. In fairness, to my eye they did better stopping the run in the second half.
- The Texans did all that blocking with a shaky offensive line, making the Bears performance a bit more disappointing. Right tackle Derek Newton has been fighting a hamstring problem and Left tackle Dwayne Brown has a torn quad and was replaced by Chris Clark. Center Greg Mancz is a back up as well. It helps that Lamarr Miller was running well.
- Mitch Unrein was sliding inside on passing downs. Leonard Floyd was also seeing time in the defensive rotation along with Cornelius Washington. Floyd held his own but didn’t get much pressure.
- Generally speaking I thought the defensive backs did a surprisingly good job. They played the Texans mano-a-mano in man coverage most of the game. Tracy Porter did about as well as you can do on an island with Deandre Hopkins. Notably Adrian Amos was around the ball a lot. That’s a change from last year where Amos rarely shows dup on camera when the ball was sin the air.
- Brock Osweiler was up and down (22/35 231yds). He looks accurate enough but his decision making was questionable at times. He also stares down receivers.
- There wasn’t much pressure on Osweiler in the first half but I thought the Bears did better after half time.
- One other thing that stuck out about the Texans. They seem to be pretty decent at getting themselves into third and manageable. That puts plenty of pressure on a defense.
- I thought Thom Brennaman, Charles Davis and Peter Schrager were adequate. Davis didn’t add much insight to the broadcast but Brennaman is one of the best in the business.
- Both teams had more penalties than I’m sure they’d like with some sloppy first game play (Bears: 4 for 30 yards, Texans: 6 for 69 yards). More than the usual number of calls were questionable but it wasn’t the cleanest game on either side. The Texan’s offensive line was jumpy early with a false start by Derek Newton and a holding penalty by Chris Clark on the same series. Hopkins had a very damaging pass interference call in the end zone that basically resulted in the Texans settling for a field goal in the first half. Zach Miller had a pass interference call that cost the Bears about 25 yards on a nice screen pass near the ned of the first half. Fortunately they overcame it to score anyway.
- Drops weren’t a huge part of this game but I note that Houston’s Will Fuller had a terrible one that probably cost the Texans a touchdown near the end of the first half. That was his MO coming out of college. Alshon Jeffery had a big drop that killed a drive late in the third quarter. DeAndre Hopkins dropped a touchdown in the fourth quarter.
- I thought special teams were OK on both sides. The Bears are going to have to do a better job of blocking on punts and kickoffs. Eddie Royal had a good return in the first half. He won’t be the speediest guy but he’ll do, I’m betting. Notably both teams ran a lot of balls out of the end zone despite a rule change bringing touchbacks out to the 25 yard line.
- Turnovers were, of course, huge. The Bears took advantage of a Tracy Porter interception to get a touchdown in the first quarter. Kevin White showed his inexperience as he apparently went the wrong way on a route resulting in an interception.
- As expected, the Bears offense hung the defense out to dry as the Texans dominated time of possession (23:41 Vs. 36:09). The number of drives was identical (12 a piece not counting the final kneel down) and so were the yards per play (4.8 Vs. 4.9). The difference? The Bears flat out couldn’t execute and put together a drive, especially in the second half once the Texans took Jeffery away.
- I’d say this was a game where the Bears youth and inexperience showed on some big plays. Cody Whitehair held his own generally but the bad snap on the quarterback sneak in the first half cost the Bears. Kevin White cost them an interception on a poorly run route. These may be things that we’re going to have to live with for a while.Other than that, things were pretty much went as expected. I had hoped that the defense might have been a little better but that was nothing compared to the poor performance by an offense that couldn’t seem to put it together in the preseason and now can’t seem to put it together in the regular season.