Chicago Bears Week 4: Takeaways

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3.) Martellus Bennett was a beast – With Alshon Jeffrey out today, someone needed to step up and be Cutler’s go-to guy. With 11 catches for 83 yards and a TD, I’d say Bennett more then did the job. He had a couple nice catches downfield, but most were short passes that required Bennett to make people miss and break tackles. He was able to convert clutch 3rd downs all day and give Cutler a reliable option when needed. Bennett is another player the Bears may end up dealing due to his somewhat ridiculous contract demands, and if so the Black Unicorn boosted his trade value today.

4.) Backup WRs stepped up today – Last week was embarrassing with Eddie Royal’s 17 yards leading all receivers, but this week both Eddie Royal (7-54) and Marquess Wilson (6-80) stepped up with big games. Royal had a couple of clutch 3rd down catches and was able to make things happen after the catch to move the chains. Wilson showed up for the first time all season with a couple nice catches, an impressive run after catching a slant, and some very good blocking downfield on two different plays. Wilson had a bad drop on the last drive of the game, but made up for it with two catches, one of which was highlight reel worthy. If these two can continue to play well, the Bears may have a glut of weapons when Jeffrey comes back (next week right?).

5.) Was Tim Donaghy one of the refs today? – In the 2nd half the Bears stopped the Raiders on third down after a great open field tackle by rookie Adrian Amos, but there was a flag for illegal hands to the face on Tracy Porter. Porter was on the other side of the field, QB Derek Carr never even looked his way, and Porter barely touched the receiver’s shoulder but was well within the 5 yard contact zone anyway? It was literally one of the worst calls I’ve ever seen. There was no illegal contact and it had nothing to do with the actual play.

If that wasn’t bad enough the same ref called a delay of game on Eddie Royal late in the game for supposedly spiking the ball even though Royal just dropped the ball at the refs feet like WRs do after every catch. I don’t know if that ref just hates the Bears, is senile (he looked pretty old), or had some other ulterior motive but two awful calls against the Bears from the same ref is somewhat suspicious. I get that Raiders +3 seemed like a good bet when Jimmy Clausen was supposed to start, but you can’t win them all and it’s not worth losing your job over. Hopefully the NFL reviews both calls.

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6.) Pernell McPhee is becoming a difference maker on defense – There was some talk about McPhee being a bust after not doing much the first two weeks of the season, but there shouldn’t be anymore after how well McPhee has played the last two weeks. McPhee had two sacks last week, and followed that up with an interception, a team leading 8 tackles, and a huge third down stop in the backfield to get the ball back for the Bears late in the game. He’s become a legit play-maker for the Bears and should be a fixture at OLB the next few seasons.

7.) The Special Teams unit played their first decent game of the season – Robbie Gould did start the game by kicking the ball out of bounds, but the Bears didn’t give up a kick return touchdown for only the second time in four games. The kick and punt coverage was actually pretty good with no returns allowed passed the 30 yard line until that crazy lateral play to end the game. Replacement punter Spencer Lanning was solid as was the punt coverage team. The Bears actually had a great punt return for the first time all year but it was called back for an illegal block penalty. There wasn’t much to be excited about from the ST unit, but I’m excited that they didn’t give up any TD returns or big plays this week.