10 ideas after the Chicago Bears fell to the Green Bay Packers 23-16 on Sunday afternoon at Soldier Field, the seventh straight season they’ve misplaced at house to their arch rival.
1. One mistake you may make evaluating groups within the midseason is forgetting every recreation is a person entity and there may be not essentially carryover (good or unhealthy) from one Sunday to the subsequent. The errors — and there have been loads of them within the newest affair — won’t essentially seem this coming Sunday when the Lions come to Soldier Field. But the principle takeaway I had was that that is the type of loss that would find yourself coming again to hang-out coach John Fox and his employees on the finish of the 12 months. Sloppy at occasions. Uninspired at different occasions. Undisciplined for certain at occasions. The Bears had the bye week to self-scout and look to tighten up a number of issues, as a lot as an NFL workforce can on the halfway level of the season, they usually have been catching the Packers on a brief week after they have been pummeled on Monday evening by the Lions, who acquired a masterful efficiency from quarterback Matthew Stafford. The Packers have been with out beginning quarterback Aaron Rodgers. They misplaced proper sort out Bryan Bulaga and security Morgan Burnett to accidents in that Detroit recreation. They have been lacking tight finish Martellus Bennett, who was launched mid-week after he opted to close it down for the season and have shoulder surgical procedure earlier than, you understand, the Patriots claimed him off waivers and put him on the sector Sunday evening at Denver. More on the ex-Bear Bennett beneath. The Packers had dropped three in a row and possibly that labored in opposition to the Bears a bit as a result of Green Bay got here in with this being a must-win recreation. Green Bay then misplaced Aaron Jones (knee) and Ty Montgomery (ribs), the highest two working backs, earlier than the beginning of the third quarter. So a lot regarded prefer it favored the Bears.
The Bears racked up eight penalties costing them 78 yards. That doesn’t embrace the 4 penalties known as in opposition to them that the Packers declined. There have been false begins on consecutive snaps within the first quarter. A transparent holding penalty in opposition to large receiver Josh Bellamy worn out an 11-yard run by Tarik Cohen. The 29-yard defensive move interference name in opposition to Prince Amukamara was ticky-tack and it was a really poorly thrown ball by Brett Hundley however you’ve acquired to have the ability to overcome stuff like that and the self-inflicted wounds simply piled up. An pointless roughness penalty in opposition to reserve lineman Bradley Sowell on the ultimate play of the primary half — after Connor Barth’s 44-yard area purpose sailed by way of the uprights — pushed the kickoff again to open the third quarter and that led to the Packers starting their possession on the Bears’ 46-yard line following a 34-yard return by Trevor Davis. A delay of recreation penalty earlier than an additional level within the fourth quarter? It didn’t wind up hurting the Bears however how does these things occur?
You felt just like the Bears had taken some steps in the proper route throughout the first half of the season even when the Three-5 report they introduced into this recreation wasn’t a lot to brag about. They beat the Steelers, who look fairly darn good proper now, in Week Three, manhandled the Panthers three weeks in the past and have been loads respectable in a 20-12 loss at New Orleans two weeks in the past. The Saints have now rattled off seven straight wins, so that they’re legit competitors. Go again to the opener in opposition to the defending NFC champion Falcons and the Bears had 4 photographs close to the purpose line within the ultimate 30 seconds to win that recreation. But being shut is the last word loser’s lament and that’s what Fox was clinging to on the finish of this one.
“Really, what I said in a nutshell, is that in nine games, two of them we didn’t give ourselves a chance,” Fox mentioned. “But in seven games, we’ve had the opportunity to win every single one of them. Reality is we are 3-6.”
Fox is savvy sufficient to know the “we’ve been close” line isn’t going to play as he enters the second half of Year Three. No one goes to purchase that. Sure, the Bears have accidents too however each workforce is coping with these and the Bears weren’t lacking a participant that even approaches the influence of Rodgers. This shouldn’t be considered as a make-or-break recreation within the grand scheme of issues however a victory would have improved the workforce to Four-5 and validated a few of the really feel good they’ve had at Halas Hall. More importantly, it could have put them one win away from .500 with a very good however removed from nice Lions workforce coming into Soldier Field. Detroit has its flaws they usually’re acquainted ones. The Lions wrestle to run the ball and wrestle to hurry the pbader. But now the Bears sit there at Three-6 and headed to, effectively, who is aware of the place. The second half of the schedule is less complicated however in the event you can’t beat Hundley at house with an additional week to arrange, there are some actual warning indicators.
2. Here are the 2 greatest takeaways from the replay problem that blew up on the Bears throughout the second quarter when officers awarded the Packers the ball on a touchback quite than a landing for working again Benny Cunningham, which is what coach John Fox was angling for when he threw the pink flag:
A. Why would the badistants within the coaches’ sales space press Fox to problem the decision when replays clearly confirmed Cunningham misplaced the ball? That a lot can’t be disputed. The ball got here out of his palms earlier than it reached the pylon.
B. What type of confidence do the Bears have of their offense that Fox decides throwing the pink flag is the proper name when the choice was first-and-goal from the 2-yard line? The Bears have been trailing 10-Three on the time and would have had three photographs from the two.
If the Bears don’t problem that play, there isn’t a evaluation they usually keep the ball on the 2. I caught up with Packers coach Mike McCarthy and requested him if he was contemplating throwing his problem flag earlier than Fox fired. Did McCarthy need to problem that Cunningham had fumbled the ball into the pylon?
“No,” McCarthy mentioned. “It’s hard when you’re the visitor because they don’t give you much in the way of replays on the board. Like the catch with (Josh) Bellamy earlier. Did he catch it? We didn’t get enough replays.”
Obviously, the Packers have been thrilled with the result of Fox’s problem nevertheless it’s not one thing they anticipated within the least.
Did the officers goof up within the replay evaluation? I’m to see if head of officiating Alberto Riveron addresses the play throughout the week. He caught to his weapons on the controversial Zach Miller landing/no landing two weeks in the past. It’s type of tough to think about the league would ship a replay to New York, make a name after which a pair days later say there was a mistake. Did Cunningham contact the unfastened ball whereas out of bounds and earlier than the ball struck the pylon? Former NFL officiating head Dean Blandino suggests that may have occurred and factors out in that occasion it could be a useless ball and the Bears would retain possession on the level the ball was fumbled. Hopefully Riveron can clarify this in a method that is sensible to most.
The backside line is Cunningham didn’t possess the ball by the point it touched the pylon and it was an exceptionally poor determination by the Bears to problem the play. Here’s the place it will get ironic. Fox gained the problem. He challenged Cunningham didn’t exit of bounds on the 2-yard line. The replay overturned Cunningham going out on the 2 and thus Fox gained the problem and didn’t lose a timeout. He misplaced the ball nevertheless.
Three. The numbers look so much higher for Mitch Trubisky. There’s little doubt about that. I believe they’re a bit hole however as coaches say (they usually’re proper in plenty of instances), you’ll be able to twist numbers to do absolutely anything you’d like. Trubisky wound up 21 of 35 for 297 yards with the one landing on a 46-yard shot to Josh Bellamy. His pbader ranking was 97.zero and he didn’t flip the ball over. He was sacked 5 occasions by a protection that had solely 13 sacks by way of the primary eight video games. I believe it’s truthful to say Trubisky might have averted two of them, possibly three by eliminating the ball. That’s having the ability to scan the sector extra effectively and decide with the ball. It’s was inexcusable when he took a sack on a unadorned bootleg. That ball has to come back out.
“I’ve still got to find ways to get better. I’ve got to be better on third down. I’ve got to be more efficient with the ball. It seems like we’re killing ourselves in critical situations, like third down and the red zone. I’ve just got to continue to be more efficient. I’m eager to watch the film.”
It’s value noting Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers has been below hearth this season. It’s not the primary time he’s taken on heavy criticism in Green Bay nevertheless it’s escalated this 12 months and the Packers did a pleasant job in opposition to the Bears. Like Trubisky famous, the offense struggled on third down. The Bears have been solely Four for 14.
“They were mixing it up: Cover-2, 2-man, played buzz and then they would come after us,” Trubisky mentioned. “They were doing a good job of mixing it up on third down. And then obviously when the game was at the end, they played a little softer in coverage. But they did a good job toward the middle of the game and that 2-minute just mixing up with the blitz, showing different looks and then bailing out. So, credit to their defense.”
I believed Trubisky made some good throws and there’s a lot of soccer forward for him within the coming seven weeks. You can’t say wins aren’t important however the progress of Trubisky is a extremely mbadive factor right here. He’s going to see seems he’s but to come across. He’s going to see seems he’s seen only some occasions. All of that can add as much as badist him shifting ahead.
Four. Tanner Gentry wasn’t the one man to lose taking part in time. Gentry was positioned on waivers Saturday so the Bears might promote linebacker Jonathan Anderson from the follow squad with Danny Trevathan lacking. It shall be fascinating to see if the Bears re-sign Gentry to the follow squad this coming week. There are three different large receivers on the follow squad proper now — Mario Alford, Darreus Rogers and Nelson Spruce — and Gentry didn’t make so much occur within the final three video games. He was on the sector for 174 of the 185 mixed snaps in opposition to the Saints, Panthers and Ravens and was focused thrice with one catch for eight yard. Dontrelle Inman successfully took the place of Gentry and Inman was on the sector for 54 of the 59 offensive snaps by my unofficial depend.
Tre McBride was additionally a giant loser when it comes to taking part in time. He went from being closely concerned to getting seven snaps and that was for the return of Josh Bellamy, who everybody is aware of has been plagued with drops previously. Bellamy acquired 37 snaps by my depend and Kendall Wright’s taking part in time additionally spiked to 45 snaps. Remember, offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains mentioned earlier this season he thinks Wright is finest if his snap depend is round 25 or 30 per recreation.
Bellamy was focused seven occasions and made two catches, together with the 46-yard landing when he acquired behind Packers cornerback Davon House.
“It was a corner-post,” Bellamy mentioned. “It was a pretty good route. It was a perfect ball. He threw me high. It was a tight split, I took the outside release. I didn’t want to go inside. Sold it and went high. We tried it a couple times in this game if you watched but we needed the right moment and that was the right moment. It was a great call by Dowell. Great throw by (Mitch) Trubisky. Great play all the way around.”
Bellamy had kind of disappeared from the offense however after the self-scout, after the bye, after the lack of tight finish Zach Miller, there have been some modifications and he benefitted. He definitely has a greater knack for getting open than Gentry and McBride.
“You never know what is going to happen in the NFL,” Bellamy mentioned. “You just gotta take it one game at a time. You never know. My role went down. Hey, I still play special teams. Whatever they threw my way, I just gotta go with it. They told me they were going to increase my playing time a little bit more. It is what it is. I show up determined to play every week.”
5. You know who would look nice in a Bears uniform? Davante Adams would look phenomenal with a navy helmet and a “C” on the facet of it. Adams is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent on the finish of the season however I wouldn’t maintain my breath and anticipate he makes it to the open market. Put him within the combine with Alshon Jeffery, Sammy Watkins and whoever else you need to embrace and Adams may be the very best of the bunch. Adams, a second-round choose in 2014 from Fresno State, has 18 landing receptions because the begin of the 2016 season. He’s acquired the pace to be a downfield menace, he’s acquired good dimension and he’s a confirmed playmaker. That’s why it’s nearly inconceivable the Packers won’t discover a option to get a deal finished with Adams and his veteran agent Frank Bauer. That’s what the Packers do: Draft, develop, re-sign.
Are there examples of homegrown gamers which have gotten away lately? Sure. Casey Hayward signed with the Chargers in free company final 12 months and blew up with seven interceptions. The cornerback had his finest season in Green Bay as a rookie in 2012 after which was dogged with accidents, notably hamstring points. Defensive again Micah Hyde left again in March for the Bills and he’s been terrific in Buffalo. But the Packers didn’t view him as an outdoor cornerback and felt like they’d higher safeties in Morgan Burnett and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.
Adams might be extra helpful to the offense proper now than Jordy Nelson and if the Packers don’t hammer out a multi-year extension with Adams, the guess is he shall be secured with the franchise tag. But you by no means know and so long as he’s a chance, boy, he’d should be at or close to the highest of the Bears’ buying record. That’s why projecting who the Bears might pursue proper now’s tough. We don’t know what form the market will absorb March.
6. Right guard Kyle Long was in uniform and acquired motion on the sector purpose workforce however didn’t play on offense. Long suffered a left hand damage within the loss at New Orleans two weeks in the past and the Bears opted to insert Hroniss Grasu at middle and shift middle Cody Whitehair over to Long’s spot at proper guard.
“Kyle is a heck of a player,” Packers defensive lineman Mike Daniels mentioned. “We were actually surprised he didn’t play. I thought Whitehair did a really good job plugging in at guard. I know he is a really good player too. I’ve been watching Kyle for a couple years now. He plays the game physical, super athletic and when you draw up a guard, that is how you want to draw them up.”
As we all know, Long has been taking part in with an injured left shoulder this season. I’m wondering if the left shoulder and the left hand put him able the place it was going to be too onerous to get by. We’ll see what shakes out on the offensive line within the week forward.
7. I’ve had conversations with two scouts within the final two weeks who’ve mentioned the identical factor: Kyle Fuller has been taking part in higher than they remembered however he’s getting plenty of alternatives as opponents proceed to throw at his facet at a disproportionate fee to Prince Amukamara. That regarded just like the case once more Sunday and Fuller didn’t have his finest recreation. It’s robust to hold the 19-yard Davante Adams landing on Fuller. It was a plaster state of affairs and Brett Hundley created plenty of additional time by fleeing the pocket. That’s a tricky play. But Fuller wasn’t actual good and that’s type of emblematic of his profession: Up and down. I’m wondering if the Bears will really feel the urge to take an in depth have a look at Marcus Cooper quickly. When the season kicked off, my guess is the Bears would have stacked up their cornerbacks Cooper, Amukamara after which Fuller. Cooper acquired dinged up, the opposite two have been taking part in effectively and Cooper was relegated to the bench when he healed up. The Bears have mentioned they don’t need to break up chemistry after they’re taking part in effectively. Cooper is a much bigger a part of the longer term than the opposite two when you think about he’s on a three-year contract. Would it make sense to run him again on the market and see how he performs? It’s no less than value contemplating. I can’t let you know how Cooper has been performing in follow but when Fuller slips up a bit, why not see the place Cooper is at?
eight. The Packers had extra drama with tight finish Martellus Bennett this previous week than the Bears did in three seasons he spent on their workforce. Green Bay waived the veteran after he made it clear he needed to close it down for the rest of the season and bear shoulder surgical procedure. The Patriots claimed Bennett off waivers and there he was Sunday evening taking part in for New England at Denver. It stays to be seen what’s going to occur because the Packers waived Bennett with the designation that he did not disclose a medical situation, particularly that his shoulder was tousled earlier than he arrived. Green Bay seemingly did so with the purpose in thoughts of pursuing all or a pro-rated portion of the $6.Three million signing bonus he acquired when he signed in March. How that performs out is anybody’s finest guess. Bennett blasted workforce physician Pat McKenzie and mentioned he was being pressured to play by way of the damage. McKenzie has a fame for being mighty conservative relating to accidents and he’s in style with gamers within the locker room so Bennett isn’t going to discover a entire lot of help from his former teammates.
The upshot right here isn’t what finally is determined regarding the bonus cash. From a Bears’ perspective, I’m curious if this has any impact on how Packers basic supervisor Ted Thompson goes about his enterprise. Thompson is has been averse to utilizing free company as a way to enhance the roster. The Packers have sat out loads of offseasons and never dabbled in any respect relating to unrestricted free brokers. Is it doable a poor expertise with Bennett — and this one blew up in Thompson’s face — deters him from going that method sooner or later? I believe it’s truthful to say coach Mike McCarthy has advocated for a extra aggressive strategy in free company and absolutely the gamers would welcome it. The Packers did effectively with Julius Peppers again in 2014 and Thompson has had different hits. He did effectively with guard Jahri Evans this 12 months. But Bennett is a high-profile whiff and I think the remainder of the division could have that in thoughts when March rolls round and everybody wonders if the Packers shall be gamers on the open market.
9. For the warmth that Connor Barth took within the first half of the season when he missed 4 kicks from 40-plus, he deserves some credit score for banging by way of some lengthy area targets on a treacherous day to kick at Soldier Field. Barth was good from 45, 44 and 49 yards and now he’s a extra respectable 10 for 14 on the season. That’s nonetheless not what you’d be in search of nevertheless it was a very good day for Barth, who has had his critics.
“It’s always good to come off the bye, reflect on the first half and try to … I have always been taught it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish,” he mentioned. “I began off a bit tough however my purpose for these final eight video games was too end robust. I used to be getting a bit too involved in regards to the consequence quite than taking it one kick at a time and actually focusing in. That’s been type of my mind-set and it was good, nevertheless it’s a workforce recreation. I’m making an attempt to badist as a lot as I can.
“Just being a bit tentative. It’s like golf, it’s a really psychological recreation. I used to be being a bit tentative on a number of of these and also you’ve simply acquired to belief your swing and I mentioned at present, ‘Just trust what you’ve been doing to your entire profession.’ If you simply hone in in your swing and belief and kick straight to the goal. I believe typically you get a bit tentative and also you would possibly badume you’re kicking to the goal however possibly you simply peek a bit bit. So the principle factor was having confidence. Just have faith in each kick and go on the market swinging. Whatever occurs, occurs.”
The Bears should hope it’s the beginning of a pleasant little sizzling streak for Barth. There are going to be extra video games with poor climate and that gained’t be an excuse. He’s acquired to make his kicks.
10. Kudos to security DeAndre Houston-Carson. He’s been on a roll overlaying kicks and was credited with two extra tackles on particular groups. That offers Houston-Carson eight over the previous three video games now and that’s actually hitting a groove on particular groups. I do know I’ve written about him on this house lately however there’s a probability for enchancment for the group right here and particular groups coordinator Jeff Rodgers referenced it final week. Houston-Carson has mainly changed cornerback Sherrick McManis since he went out with a hamstring damage within the Baltimore recreation again on Oct. 15. At some level quickly, McManis should return to follow and meaning ultimately the Bears could have an opportunity to have each McManis and Houston-Carson on the sector on the identical time.
10a. Packers exterior linebacker Nick Perry was credited with three sacks and that offers him a team-high seven for the season. It was the primary time a Bears opponent had three sacks in a recreation since Saints linebacker David Hawthorne had three within the Dec. 15, 2014 recreation at Soldier Field.
10b. Tarik Cohen had two catches on offense and 7 for the sport in the event you depend 5 returns. Remember, one handoff was worn out by a holding name. They have to give you methods to get him touches however additionally they consider the offense must pump the ball to Jordan Howard to get him rolling.
10c. How about Trevor Davis fielding that punt in the long run zone within the first quarter? Official stats dominated Davis caught the ball on the minus-1 yard line. That’s unfathomable and it value Green Bay 12 yards of area place.
10d. Adam Shaheen regarded fairly good with a 31-yard reception. He didn’t get the very best block on the planet downfield from large receiver Dontrelle Inman. Shaheen initially thought he had an opportunity to attain on the play.
“It’s tough though,” he mentioned. “I am pbading him and he’s got to be careful you don’t hold onto him when (the defender) is trying to release. Every time you get the ball you are thinking about going all the way. I thought I had a chance.”
10e. The Lions opened as a Three-point favourite for Sunday’s recreation in opposition to the Bears at Soldier Field, in accordance with the Westgate SuperBook.