Chicago Bears Week 3: Takeaways

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Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Believe it or not but the Bears 26-0 loss to the Seattle Seahawks went better than I expected. On paper this looked like a potential slaughter. The Bears were playing the defending NFC champs, who were 0-2 and desperately needing a win, in the toughest road stadium in the league, without Jay Cutler and Alshon Jeffrey, and with the overly cautious Jimmy Clausen at QB… I wouldn’t have been surprised if the final score was 52-0.

That being said there wasn’t much to be happy about on Sunday. There were a few positives which I’ll get to below, but the Bears were clearly outmatched talent wise as they have been all three weeks of the 2015 season. QB Jimmy Clausen was just as bad and as cowardly as expected, the special teams unit is even worse than last year somehow, the play calling was embarrassingly timid, and the defense got worn down when the offense couldn’t give them any time to catch their breath.

The Bears are 0-3, but that’s pretty much where all but the most optimistic fans expected them to be after a brutal three game stretch against three of the six NFC playoff teams from last season (GB, AZ, SEA). What wasn’t expected was how hopeless the Bears would look in all three games. The talent gap between the Bears and the class of the NFC is even wider than I thought and I think the Bears brass recognized it as well. They started what could be a massive fire sale with the trade of Jared Allen today.

The Allen trade could signal the beginning of a rebuild for the Bears which is a good thing. The previous Bears management squads have failed to develop home grown talent and attempting to patch holes through free agency just hasn’t worked. The Bears need to blow it up and start over. Hopefully three one-sided losses to the top teams in the NFC is enough of a sign for the Bears new brass to light the fuse.

Week 3 Takeaways

The Bears offense hasn’t been this bad since Henry Burris was QB – Sunday’s game brought back memories of not just Henry Burris, but Craig Krenzel, Chad Hutchinson, Jon Quinn, Moses Moreno… and a host of other pathetically bad QBs that the Bears have put under center the last twenty odd years. Clausen led the Bears to their first shut out since 2002 (in a game started by Henry Burris). The Bears had ten possessions and punted on all ten. They only ran two plays in Seahawks territory. They only had one pass play over ten yards, a 21-yard completion to TE Zach Miller. The Bears leading WR, Eddie Royal, had 17 total yards. It was an embarrassing offensive performance all around, with the exception of a good effort from RB Matt Forte. Unfortunately, Bear fans will probably be subject to one more Clausen start before the return of Jay Cutler. It’s been 20 possessions since Jay Cutler led the Bears to a TD and 12 of those have been 3-and-outs, gross. Get well soon, Jay!

The Bears are much better with Jay Cutler – I hope all the Cutler haters were paying attention to how the offense looked without Cutler under center. I know he’s thrown two bad interceptions this season, but when in the game the Bears offense moved the ball against two teams that look like the class of the NFC. The Bears were within a score of both the Packers and Cardinals with Cutler at QB and the combination of his accurate throws and scrambling made the Bears offense look semi-respectable despite a clear disadvantage in talent. The interceptions are a problem, but the Bears have no QB on the roster that gives them a chance to win besides Cutler.

Their best bet for the future is to let Cutler play and hope he shows enough for a QB-desperate team to give the Bears something for him in an offseason trade. The Bears are headed into rebuild mode, a few years late but better than never, and have no reason to keep an oldish QB on the roster if they can get anything for him. I think a trade to the Jets for Bryce Petty makes a lot of sense, if Cutler can get healthy and play well before the trade deadline (week 8).