Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Well that sucked. The Bears defense finally faced a legitimate offense and didn’t look much better than last year. There was no pass rush and the coverage was predictably terrible with Aaron Rodgers having all day to throw. The Packers scored 38 points on 47 plays. That is disgusting, but at least the run defense was decent… I’ll get to each of those issues in detail below, as well as a few other problems. It wasn’t all bad as the offense put up 496 total yards, but a couple of Jay Cutler second half INTs let the Packers pull away. This was a tough loss and negated any optimism from two consecutive road victories. Right now the Bears look like a mediocre 8-8 squad to me. On the bright side, the season is only a 4th over and the Bears are still in the mix at 2-2, which is about where everyone thought they would be at this point of the season.
1.) Jay Cutler is now 1-9 against the Packers
The Bears line kept Cutler clean all game, but he couldn’t make the correct reads in the second half. The first pick was on a ball that shouldn’t have been thrown and the second looked like a miscommunication between Cutler and Marshall. Those things happen to even the best QBs and this loss shouldn’t be put squarely on Cutler’s shoulders because even without the picks I think the Packers outscore the Bears in this one. The first INT broke a streak of 104 passes without an interception which was the longest streak of Cutler’s career. Cutler looked like an All-Pro at times in the first half, but the Bears were ultimately beat due to Cutler’s interceptions, plenty of dumb mistakes, and a terrible defensive effort / scheme. It’s just one half of bad play, but the mistakes Cutler made today were the ones he has always makes against Green Bay (1-9 as a Bear) and he will have to figure out the Packers D if the Bears are ever going to win the division.
2.) Matt Forte needs to be featured every week
Forte had 171 total yards (122 rushing, 71 receiving) on the day and after two weeks of not being utilized, it was good to see him with the ball in his hands again. Forte is one of the best 5 backs in the league and the Bears need to find a better run/pass balance to make sure one of their best weapons is getting enough touches.
3.) The O-line played an excellent game
The Bears O-line opened big holes in the run game and they kept Cutler clean all day. This loss isn’t on the O-line at all. There were some mix ups on a few snaps and a costly false start on first and goal from the 1, but for the most part the Bears O-line was outstanding. Considering they are missing two starters, that is even more impressive.
4.) The pass rush was disturbingly bad
At halftime, the Bears had approximately 0 sacks, 1 QB hurry, and 0 QB hits on Aaron Rodgers. So you think the Bears might try to blitz in the 2nd half or at least change something right? Besides a couple of useless Isaiah Frey blitzes, Mel Tucker stuck with a 4 man rush most of the game hoping something would change. Apparently Mel Tucker thought the Bears front 4 could get to Rodgers despite missing two starters (Allen, Ratliff). I could understand trusting your D-line in the first half because the Packers O-line has struggled, but after they proved that they couldn’t get to Rodgers something needed to change. Why not try some more blitzes in the 2nd half especially when the last two Packers opponents flustered Rodgers by blitzing from multiple angles? It is frustrating and reflects poorly on DC Mel Tucker’s ability to understand game trends and adjust accordingly.
5.) Dumb mistakes ultimately killed the Bears
The defense and Cutler’s INTs were bad, but they weren’t the only reasons the Bears lost this one. There were a handful of game-changing dumb mistakes that may have lost the game for the Bears even if Cutler played perfectly: A DJ Williams late hit penalty on the Bears first 3rd down stop of the game, a dropped pass by Jeffrey in the end zone, poor clock management at the end of the 1st half, compounded by Cutler not throwing it in the end zone on the last play of the half, lining up in the shotgun on first and goal from the half-yard line then getting called for a false start, everything Chris Conte does, a defensive holding on a field goal attempt? Those are just some of the mistakes. There were a handful more in the 2nd half that I’m not even going to mention because I am too depressed but basically the Bears beat themselves today.