Chicago Bears Week 9: Takeaways

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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

6.) Lamarr Houston finally has a reason to celebrate

2014’s biggest free agent signing has been a bust for most of his year and a half in a Bears uniform, but showed a glimpse of why the Bears gave Houston a $35M contract last offseason. On the Chargers last drive of the game, down 3 and having just crossed the 50 yard line, Houston took over. During a four play stretch, Houston had a sack for a loss of 8, then went offsides giving 5 of those yards back, had a sack for 10 yards, and then on 4th down pressured Philip Rivers into throwing an incomplete pass.

It was almost frustrating to see Houston play that well because you have to wonder where that has been the last 1.5 years, but it is still good to see Houston have the ability to dominate like that. With OLB Sam Acho’s struggles the last two weeks, there is an opening for Houston at OLB.  If he can play like he did the last series of the game, the Bears could have two impact OLBs in McPhee and Houston.

7.) The Bears got important contributions from multiple rookies

The Bears had five rookies play starter minutes on Monday (Langford, Goldman, Amos, Anderson, Callahan) and all five made key plays in the Bears victory. Langford was the most obvious contributor with 142 total yards, but Anderson led the defense in tackles with 12 (11 solo), Amos had two pass breakups and a big hit on a running play near the line of scrimmage, Goldman helped clog the interior line and hold the Chargers to just 77 rushing yards, and slot corner Bryce Callahan did an admirable job on former veteran WR Stevie Johnson in the slot with 2 pass breakups and three total tackles.

Goldman was a 2nd round pick, but Langford and Amos were 4th & 5th round picks respectively and Anderson & Callahan were undrafted free agents. Four of the five rookies were drafted on day three or not at all and made significant contributions to the win. The last two Bears GMs couldn’t develop any late round picks, but it already seems that GM Ryan Pace has found some useful late round / undrafted players. The continued development of those players and the addition of more will be key factors in how long it takes the Bears to rebuild their roster into a contending team.

8.) The Bears made this game harder than it should have been

The Bears managed to pull out a comeback victory due to some late game heroics on both sides of the ball, but a big reason they were losing was multiple mental mistakes earlier in the game.

Jay Cutler’s two turnovers and Robbie Gould’s two missed field goals were the most obvious mistakes, but there was a blown coverage by Sam Acho on the Chargers first TD, a questionable unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Kyle Long that pushed the Bears out of field goal range at the end of the first half, a bonehead roughing the passer penalty on Jarvis Jenkins, false starts on two offensive linemen, and two offsides calls on Lamarr Houston which he atoned for with two clutch sacks on the Chargers final drive.

The Bears made way too many mistakes on Monday night and will need to clean up their overall play if they are going to win next week against the Rams.

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