Chicago Bears Week 6: Takeaways

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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

I had to wait till Monday to write this one because I was emotionally unstable after both the Bears and Cubs lost on Sunday. What a depressing day for the city of Chicago. The Bears should have won by two plus touchdowns, but gave away the game and ended up losing 37-34 to the Detroit Lions in overtime.

The Bears had a 31-24 lead with seven minutes to go in the game and were seemingly in control after holding the Lions to a field goal on their next drive. The field goal cut the Bears lead to four but they had the ball with just 2:36 to go in the game. All the Bears needed was one first down and it was over. Instead coach Fox and his OC Adam Gase decided to just run the ball up the middle three plays in a row and give the Lions the ball back.

The Lions marched down the field and thanks to an awful roughing the passer call scored a TD to take the lead with just :21 seconds left. That’s plenty of time for Mr 4th Quarter (Jay Cutler, ha) who drove the Bears 69 yards down to the Lions 11-yard line in just three plays. With some better clock management by coach Fox, the Bears may have had time for a couple shots at the end zone, but instead the Bears settled for a field goal to send the game to overtime.

In overtime the Bears forced punts on the Lions first two drives, but were overly cautious on offense for some reason, taking the ball out of Jay Cutler’s hands despite the fact that he had played well all game and just driven the Bears 69 yards in less than 20 seconds. The Bears defense was doing it’s part before Matt Stafford hooked up with Calvin Johnson, who was well covered but by the much shorter Harold Jones-Quartey, for a 57 yard bomb that set the Lions up at the Bears 10-yard line and led to a game winning field goal. The Bears conservative play calling, too many penalties, and the fact that Megatron was 6 inches taller than the DB covering him gave the Lions the win in overtime.

Despite solid play from Jay Cutler, the Bears managed to lose this one due to a ton of penalties, dropped passes, some questionable calls from the refs, and cowardly play calling from the coaching staff. I’ll cover all of those things in depth below, but just don’t put this loss on Jay Cutler because for the third week in a row he played well. The Bears defense did give up 37 points to what had been a hapless Lions offense, but Matt Stafford also played his best game in about a season and a half. The special teams unit forced two turnovers and was solid for most of the game but some penalties and a successful fake field goal call from the Lions negated the good things they did. All three units had some good moments but ultimately made too many mistakes for the Bears to get a victory in week six.

Week 6 Takeaways

1.) Jay Cutler is playing as well as he has as a Bear – I’m surprised Cutler wasn’t screaming at his teammates on Sunday, I probably would have been. The Bears negated multiple big plays with dumb penalties and missed out on more big plays by dropping passes. Cutler did throw his usual one interception, this one in the end zone taking points off the board, but for most of the game was outstanding. He scrambled away from pressure all day and usually put the ball where only his receiver could catch it. He was let down by Martellus Bennett multiple times and both Alshon Jeffrey and Marquess Wilson dropped long passes that hit them in the hands. Cutler was also hampered by ultra-conservative play calling late in the game when John Fox decided that he was afraid to lose a game that has absolutely no impact on anything as neither team is making the playoffs. The only explanation that makes any sense to me is that John Fox was playing for a better draft pick (wishful thinking). Regardless, Cutler played really well for the third week in a row and deserved better on Sunday.

2.) John Fox’s clock management & Adam Gase’s conservative play-calling cost the Bears the game – The Bears had the ball and a four point lead with two and a half minutes to go, needing just one first down to ice the game… But HC John Fox and OC Adam Gase decided to waste the opportunity to seal the victory and trust the defense to win the game. With the Lions down to one time out and the Bears moving the ball with ease the last few drives, the play-calling took the ball out of Cutler’s hands and ran the ball up the middle three times in a row for a total of six yards. In the coaches defense, the Bears could have had a first down on the 3rd & 4 run but both Martellus Bennett and Vladimir Ducasse missed blocks badly and Forte never had a chance. It gave the Lions the ball back and they marched down the field for a TD with just :21 seconds left.

Somehow Jay Cutler and Alshon Jeffrey managed to drive the Bears 69 yards in just three plays to set up Robbie Gould for a game tying field goal, but had Fox just used one timeout on the Lions last possession the Bears may have had 20-30 more seconds to take a few shots at the end zone. Fox also choose to accept the 10 second run off when Stafford was called for intentional grounding on the Lions previous drive, despite the fact that they were in the red zone and a score would give the Lions the lead.

When the Bears got the ball back in overtime Fox/Gase got conservative again calling mostly runs with an occasional short pass mixed in. The Bears went three and out on two consecutive drives before the Lions got lucky with a bomb to Calvin Johnson and the game was over. Jay Cutler was having one of his best games as a Bear and the coaches decided to take the ball out of his hands and hope the Lions beat themselves. It backfired and the Bears lost a game they should have won easily.