Chicago Bears Week 8: Takeaways

1 of 3

Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

For their second consecutive game the Chicago Bears lost one that they should have won. Due to some late game mistakes, the Bears squandered a 4th quarter lead and ended up losing 23-20 to the Minnesota Vikings. I’ll get to the grisly details below, but this was definitely a missed opportunity for the Bears.

This loss can’t be blamed on QB Jay Cutler who played a conservative, but solid overall game and for the first time all season didn’t turn the ball over. Injuries really hurt the Bears with both RB Matt Forte and WR Eddie Royal missing the second half.

A few big 4th quarter plays ultimately doomed the Bears. For some reason the Bears coaching staff had backup CB Sherick McManis on the Viking’s best WR Stefon Diggs in the 4th quarter and he was burned for a 40-yard TD that tied the game with 1:49 to go. Then Forte’s replacement, Jeremy Langford, dropped a key 3rd down pass that gave the Vikings the ball back with a minute to go in a tie game. On the Viking’s last drive Vikings QB Teddy Bridgewater threw a wounded duck that should have been intercepted, but S Antrel Rolle misplayed the ball which allowed a 35-yard catch by Charles Johnson and put the Vikings in position to kick a game winning field goal. McManis, Langford, and Rolle all deserve some blame in this one.

They weren’t the only reason that the Bears lost obviously. The play calling was disgustingly conservative in the first half, the D-line couldn’t generate any pass rush, and the Bears run defense was gashed for 147 yards on mostly runs up the middle by Adrian Peterson. I’ll break down the other culprits and a few bright spots in the game in my takeaways.

Week 8 Takeaways

1.) No one should blame Jay Cutler for this loss

Cutler’s stat line wasn’t flashy (22/33, 211, 1 TD) but it’s hard to put up big numbers when the Bears didn’t call a downfield passing play until there was 7:40 left in the 2nd quarter! For some reason the Bears thought it would be a good idea to run screen plays over and over again, despite the fact that the Vikings defense is one of the fastest in the league and has the fewest missed tackles in the NFL. The conservative play calling limited Cutler’s ability to make big plays in the first half, but he opened it up a bit in the 2nd and made some good throws.

Cutler missed a few open receivers deep that could have put the game away, but was very accurate on his short-to-mid range passes and scrambled out of trouble to find open receivers on multiple plays. More importantly Cutler didn’t turn the ball over for the first time all season. His TD pass to Alshon Jeffery at the end of the first half was a thing of beauty and he also ran over Vikings safety Harrison Smith at the goal line for a ballsy rushing TD. Overall it was one of the better games Cutler has played this season and he deserved better.

2.) The Bears makeshift O-line played better than expected

Missing two opening week starters and their back-up center, the Bears O-line had a tough assignment today against a Vikings defense that sacked Lions QB Matt Stafford seven times last week. Cutler did a good job scrambling away from pressure, but the O-line only gave up one sack on the day. LT Charles Leno Jr was matched up with Vikings sack leader Emerson Griffen and neutralized him for most of the game. C Matt Slausen was playing out of position, but held his own and didn’t have any snap issues. Guards Vlad Ducasse and Patrick Omameh didn’t open many holes in the run game, but had a few nice blocks and did a good job in pass pro which isn’t considered a strength for either player. It was a solid game across the board against one of the best front sevens in the league.