Lovie Smith and the Chicago Bears did their part in Detroit, holding on to win 26-24 over the Lions to get the win they needed. They were left to watch and wait for the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings to duke it out to find out their playoff fate. A win by the Vikings would knock the Bears out of playoff contention. Even though I’m writing this post a little behind schedule and know how this all turned out, I’ll try to stick to the game and get to the aftermath in another post.
On to the game…
The Bears offense wants to bust out, but they just can’t do it. The first offensive drive was representative of the game, the season and much of what’s wrong with that side of the ball. On the Bears’ first offensive possession, Jay Cutler hit Alshon Jeffery with a 55-yard bomb to set the Bears up at the Detroit 27 yard line. Beautiful play, great start to the game. A sure field goal and hopefully a touchdown were set up, right? Right??? Here’s the rest of the offensive sequence:
- 2 yard pass to fullback Evan Rodriguez (2nd and 8 from 25)
- Time out because they can’t get the play in on time.
- Forte rush for no gain (3rd and 8 from 25)
- False start on Jonathan Scott (3rd and 13 from 30)
- Cutler fumbles the ball untouched, it just slips out of his hand. Bears recover back at the 50. 4th and 33 and Bears have to punt.
That my friends is what is wrong with the Bears offense. They’re close, really close. They make a big play, then stagnate. They kill themselves with penalties and dumb plays. They get careless with the ball and either have to punt or settle for field goals instead of touchdowns.
The defense came to play on Sunday against the Lions. The Bears came away with 4 takeaways including another interception by Tim Jennings. A fitting ending to his storybook season.
But in true Bears 2012 fashion, this game would not be a runaway. Despite a 17 point lead late in the first half, the Bears had to hang on at the end to secure a two point victory. A few bullet points on the game:
- Give Matt Forte a ton of credit. Say what you want about him and the #PayForte thing and what kind of season he had but he is tough as hell. The ankle was being held together by Popsicle sticks and bubble gum, but he turned in a 100+ yard rushing performance with a touchdown and another 21 receiving yards. Kudos.
- Nice to see Earl Bennett and Alshon Jeffery coming up big in the box score. We already talked about the big play to Alshon Jeffery, who had 4 catches for 76 yards. Nice to see that screen to Bennett go for 60 yards and a touchdown. (PS – great block by Brandon Marshall to spring Bennett). Both of these receivers will need to step up HUGE in 2013 to act as compliments to Brandon Marshall. As opponents scheme to shut him down, these guys need to step up. They did so on Sunday. It’s a good sign going forward.
- Peanut Tillman continues to impress. He shut down Calvin Johnson and kept him from reaching the 2000 yards receiving milestone. Not the best tackling day for Peanut and the secondary, but a solid effort nonetheless.
- The Bears missed Chris Conte on Sunday. Anthony Walters filled in OK, but there were some bad angles and the touchdown to Heller was on a slow break by Walters.
- Devin Hester is absolutely finished. He adds nothing to the offense and has actually become a liability in the return game. I was hoping this might just be a slump, but I don’t see any signs that he’s coming out of this one. He’s been known to have a bit of a fragile psyche, so I wonder if he’ll be able to pull himself out of this personal tailspin. I’d be surprised if he’s back with the Bears next season.
The Bears finished the season at 10-6 but after a red hot 7-1 start, a 3-5 finish is a tough pill to swallow. Having to root for the Packers was even more bitter. More on that in another post.
So much to discuss as we transition from the regular season to the offseason. Stay tuned to Bear Goggles On all offseason as we discuss changes on the Bears (hopefully with the coach), the roster, the schemes, review past games, mock drafts and offseason needs, free agency and fun along the way. Stick with us, we’ll be here.
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