Chicago Bears Squander Another Early Lead to Panthers: A Mostly Unbiased View

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Oct 5, 2014; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen (88) catches a touchdown pass during the fourth quarter while Chicago Bears strong safety Danny McCray (29) defends at Bank of America Stadium. The Panthers defeated the Bears 31-24. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-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.

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The Chicago Bears lost another heartbreaker this week, this time to the Carolina Panthers.  Despite having a 21-7 lead at one point in the first half, the Bears failed to find offensive consistency yet again and lost the game 24-31.  While Chicago’s second half woes are starting to look like a troubling trend, I would caution against hitting the panic button just yet.  The Bears are 2-3, which puts them barely below .500 and one game behind the division leading Lions and Packers.  If they were 3-2 right now, we’d be talking about them making a move for a playoff spot and what they had to do to win the division.  Instead, we’re questioning whether or not the Bears made the right choice to fire Lovie Smith and where they’ll be picking in next year’s draft.

Keep in mind, that’s a one game difference in early October.  It’s a long season, and very few teams are playing up to their full potential yet.  It’s called “mid-season form” for a reason.  This team is improving on a weekly basis, and I noticed several bright spots during the game that should give us hope for a better end to the season than the start has been.

Young players are beginning to shine on defense.  Rookie cornerback Kyle Fuller had a really solid day going against fellow rookie standout Kelvin Benjamin, and Fuller’s ascension into the national spotlight has been well documented.

The bigger surprise to me in this game was the play of rookie second-round defensive tackle Ego Ferguson.  The former LSU Tiger was a pick I questioned back in May, but he showed why Phil Emery was willing to spend such a high draft pick on him against the Panthers.  The stat line doesn’t show much, but Ferguson was extremely disruptive against both the run and the pass; including two pass deflections, one of which directly led to Lance Briggs’ interception.  He also already has two sacks this season, doubling his career total in college.

The other young player I’ve been impressed with so far this season is second-year linebacker Jonathan Bostic.  Bostic hasn’t been perfect this season, but he has shown miles of improvement over last year.  I’ve been impressed with his coverage skills, and he seems like he’s going to develop into a really solid pro.  These three players should give the Bears a solid defensive nucleus to build around for years to come.