Sep 22, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Jeremy Kerley (11) scores a touchdown past Chicago Bears strong safety Danny McCray (29) during the first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
It can be hard being a fan of an NFL team. The roller coaster ride from week to week is exhausting. One game your team looks like they could take on anybody, but just a week later they could be taken apart by a team that you don’t think they should have any trouble defeating. It’s never as good or as bad as it seems, and certain problems will persist throughout a season while others can be worked through. That’s why we here at BGO have decided to bring you “Bear and Balanced: A Mostly Unbiased View of Your Chicago Bears”. I can find the silver lining to any cloud, but also find areas of concern in the most convincing victory. Each week I’ll try to bring you the facts of the game from an unbiased standpoint to help you, the fans, get a better feel for where the season is going.
This is shaping up to be quite the season. A heartbreaking overtime loss followed by back to back 8 point wins and Chicago Bears fans are on the edge of their seats. The Bears have played generally well in consecutive victories and there’s a lot of reason for optimism, but that’s not what this article is about. I don’t think anyone is picking Chicago to win the Super Bowl right now and there are good reasons for that.
There still isn’t consistency on offense. Chicago moved the ball fairly well throughout the game, but favorable penalties are still accounting for too much of their ability to sustain drives. They won’t get those penalties every week, and a stretch at the end of the 3rd quarter and the beginning of the 4th where they went 3 and out on 3 consecutive drives lets me know that they just aren’t quite there yet. Until the Bears can muster at least some threat of a running game, the offense will not be elite. Chicago is a pass first team now, but you still have to be able to run the ball effectively in key situations to truly control a game. I don’t think Matt Forte has lost a step and blocking should improve when the missing starters return on the offensive line, so at least there’s a light at the end of this tunnel.
Injuries are piling up on defense. The Bears lost both starting safeties during the Jets game, and at one point they were starting two rookies at the position. While the defense did perform admirably given the circumstances, I don’t have to tell you that this scenario could be disastrous against a more potent offense. It doesn’t sound like Ryan Mundy’s injury is much cause for concern, but even just the loss of Chris Conte hurts what is already a weak position on the roster. Add that to the list of Jeremiah Ratliff, Shea McClellin, and Charles Tillman and it looks like there’s a bumpy road ahead for this unit. Of course a couple of these reserves might step up and prove to be the future of their position, but can all of them? I think it’s unlikely.
Special teams need to show a spark. The glaring mistakes weren’t as prevalent this week, but that’s not enough. Other than a muffed punt early in the game, there really wasn’t much to see from this unit on Monday night. The Bears need to find respectable return man quickly. It would go a long way towards developing offensive consistency if they had good field position regularly. I’m cautiously optimistic about Santonio Holmes, but I’m not holding my breath.
And that’s the way I see it, Bears fans. This is an exciting team to watch, but I’m not going to declare them true contenders until they fix these problems.