Chicago Bears: First Quarter Report Card

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Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

Four games into the 2015 season, and the Chicago Bears’ season is going pretty much according to script. Losses to Green Bay, Arizona and Seattle, followed by a win at home against Oakland. The offense is solid despite some injury problems, while the defense is inconsistent and the special teams, except for Robbie Gould, are a nightmare.

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It isn’t quite that simple, though. The Bears were competitive with Green Bay for an entire game, a surprising development seeing as how in two games in 2014 the Packers outscored the Bears 93-31. The Bears were competitive against Arizona in the first half until Jay Cutler injured his hamstring and the Jimmy Clausen train started rolling (or not rolling). And in a road game against Seattle, with Clausen starting in Cutler’s place, the Bears were down only 6-0 at halftime before it got out of hand in the second half.

I know the Bears don’t get any points for moral victories, but those three losses were against likely playoff teams, and the Bears were competitive for all or parts of those games. After the multiple blowout debacle that was the 2014 season, that’s progress, and shows that the team is responding to new Head Coach John Fox, Defensive Coordinator Vic Fangio and Offensive Coordinator Adam Gase.

Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

The Bears have managed to be competitive (as long as Cutler plays) while dealing with injuries to Alshon Jeffery, Kevin White, Jermon Bushrod, Ego Ferguson, Jeremiah Ratliff (suspension for first three games, injury for fourth) and other players while at the same time being saddled with a lack of depth in the secondary and at linebacker.

Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

If they their health can improve – which is doubtful, since starting center Will Montgomery is out for the season and strong safety Antrel Rolle is injured — I expect their play will also improve in the second quarter.

The second quarter doesn’t shape up to be quite as frightening as we expected before the season started, either. The Bears start with a road game at Kansas City followed by a road game in Detroit. Both of those teams have struggled so far, with Kansas City going 1-3 and the Lions 0-4. Initially penciled in as two losses, the Bears may be able to steal a win out of those two games. After that is a home game against Minnesota, another game I think they can win, before a Monday nighter in San Diego, another game they have a shot in.

I’m not predicting they’ll win those four games, but I do think 1-3 or 2-2 is likely, with those losses coming by close margins and offering more for Foxy to build on.

But before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s take a final look at the first four games and handout some grades.

Next: As Long As Cutler Stays Healthy