On the eve of what could be one of the most important games of the season (Yes, I said it.), the Bears need to be thinking about three words. Finish the game. Detroit first exposed this weakness of the Bears in Week 1. A game is sixty minutes long and if you let up for even 1:32, Calvin Johnson and the Lions can come back on ya, barring debatable rules. This achilles heel has come close to plaguing the Bears often this season and they cannot allow the vengeful Lions to have another chance late in a game.
Five of the Bears wins and two of their losses have been by a touchdown or less. Last week against the Eagles, the Bears couldn’t score in the 4th quarter and almost let an 18 point lead slip away. In those seven close games, the Bears averaged less than 6 points in the fourth quarter. While they have won more close games than they have lost to date, the likes of Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and Mark Sanchez in the final games of the season, will be able to take advantage of any opportunity that the Bears allow them. If the Bears can’t fire themselves up to sprint to the finish, they will find themselves sitting at home by the fire in January.
Jay Cutler and the Bears running game have been notoriously bad when they have the lead. Cutler has thrown 5 TDs and 5 INTs while the Bears were winning as opposed to 11 TDs and 5 INTs when the Bears were tied or losing. This is partially due to being more willing to run the ball with the lead, lowering the chance of a turnover. However, Matt Forte and the Bears running game haven’t contributed much when the Bears are winning either.
The Bears have 2 TDs and average just 3.3 yards per carry with the lead compared to 3 TDs and 4.5 ypc when tied or losing. Compare this to the NFC leading Falcons who have 6 TDs/4.5 ypc with the lead and 3 TDs/3.8 ypc when tied or losing. Your run game is most important in close game and, as we all know, has been failing miserably for the Bears most of the season.
Good teams know how to close out games and the Bears need to get a lot better as the playoffs approach. This week is what I like to call a momentum game. The Bears are going on the road against a Detroit team that has nothing to lose, while the Bears are riding a four game winning streak with tough games ahead. Either the Bears increase their momentum going into next week against New England or they are stopped dead in their tracks.
As we all know, the Lions have been notoriously bad in the NFC North since its creation in 2002. Their division record is 9-42, but against the Bears, they are 6-11. Chicago Bears weather is finally upon us and it’s time to storm ahead to the playoffs. Keeping the game close this week is not an option like they did in Week 1. The Bears need to score often and knock the Lions out of the game. Maybe they should play some old school Mortal Kombat to ingrain the mantra “Finish Him!” in their brains.
And that’s what’s Drivin’ Deez Nuts this week!