Chicago Bears Week 16: Takeaways

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It never feels good to see the Bears lose, but if you look at the big picture Sunday’s 20-14 loss to the Lions was about the best possible result. The Bears aren’t making the playoffs, Jimmy Clausen isn’t the long-term answer at QB, and Marc Trestman’s offense still sucks… So what did the Bears have to gain by winning this one? The loss improves their chances for a top 10 draft choice and improves the chances that Marc Trestman and his incompetent coaching staff are all fired at the end of the season. In my opinion, the Bears loss Sunday was a win. Here are my takeaways:

1.) The Bears WRs dropped the ball

I counted 6 dropped passes by Bears receivers on Sunday; Two drops by Marquess Wilson and four by Alshon Jeffrey. His 4th drop was on 3rd & 10 during the Bears final offensive drive of the game and would have given the Bears a first down near the 50 yard line. Jeffrey also had a false-start penalty for the 2nd week in a row and the 4th time this season. That is just unacceptable. Adding those drops to Clauen’s stats as catches would give him a stat line of 29/39 for approximately 250 yards, not to mention they would have kept drives alive and maybe led to another TD or two. The receivers really let Clausen down on Sunday and were the main culprit in the Bears loss.

2.) Jimmy Clausen played pretty well

I mentioned what Clausen’s stat line should have looked like if the Bears WRs could catch the ball, but his actual line of 23/39, 189, 2/1, isn’t bad considering they were playing a top 3 Lions defense. Whether it was nerves or rust, Clausen looked awful on the Bears first two drives, but settled down and had stretches in both halves where he looked like a legitimate NFL starter. He certainly deserves at least one more start to see what he can do against a less dominant defense next week in Minnesota. Another good start from Clausen and he should be in line for a solid back-up QB contract from some team next year.

3.) Different QB same results

When Trestman decided to bench Jay Cutler, it gave him a chance to prove that his offense is still explosive but was being held back by Jay Cutler. Instead the offense looked almost exactly as boring as it did the last few weeks with Cutler under center. If Clausen had come out and put up 30+ points, as Josh McCown often did last year, it would have been a strong point in Trestman’s favor. If two journeymen QBs could succeed in this offense, but Cutler couldn’t, then that shifts the blame to Cutler. Instead the offense looks like a fluke that worked last year before NFL defenses had a chance to figure it out. A year later the Bears are scoring 20.7 points which is 21st in the league. It doesn’t seem to matter who runs Trestman’s offense, it still sucks.

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4.) Brock Vereen can’t tackle well enough to play safety

When the Bears drafted Vereen I was disappointed because I didn’t think he was a good enough tackler to be an NFL safety (2nd paragraph). I hate to say I told you so, but I counted at least three tackles that Vereen missed and on all three he was in position to make the play but was overpowered. His missed tackle on Joique Bell’s TD run was the worst and most obvious one, but that has been happening to Vereen all season. He is too weak to play safety and not quick enough to be a slot corner. His best role is as a dime DB and special teams gunner, not quite what you hope for from a 4th round pick.

5.) Losing sucks, but at least it wasn’t embarrassing

After two embarrassing losses to the Cowboys and Saints, it was a nice change to actually watch a competitive game. The Bears made plenty of mistakes, but none of them were of the national laughingstock variety and they had the ball with a chance to win near the end of the game. It doesn’t sound like much, but after two blowout losses it was fun to at least have a chance for a victory late in the game. It will be nice to watch highlights without having to cringe when they show the Bears this week.