Chicago Bears Week 12: Takeaways

3 of 4

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

7.) Not all the defense was great, as ILB Shea McClellin continues to struggle 

Announcer Chris Collinsworth finally brought attention to what I’ve been complaining about all season, McClellin is reactive instead of proactive. He just doesn’t attack the line of scrimmage, McClellin hangs back behind the line and tries to see where the play is going before committing.

This approach has led to a lot of tackles a few yards beyond the line of scrimmage, which looks good on paper (10 tackles on Thurs) but doesn’t result in any impact plays. Plus his lack of speed often leads to McClellin being too late to make a play once he figures out where the ball is going, like on Lacy’s 25-yard TD reception where McClellin took a bad angle and then couldn’t catch up to the 234-pound (listed) Lacy.

A good example of a more aggressive approach is the way Bears rookie ILB Jonathan Anderson has played so far. If you watch the 4th & 2 play on the Packers opening drive you’ll see what I mean. Anderson burst through the line of scrimmage and then identified where the ball was going and stopped Lacy for no gain. As Collinsworth mentioned, the Bears are going to struggle stopping the run if they don’t get more aggressive play from their ILBs. For that to happen, McClellin may need to be benched.

8.) Kyle Long evened the series against Julius Peppers

In Kyle Long’s first game ever as a right tackle, he was matched up against borderline Hall of Famer Julius Peppers. The first battle didn’t go well for Long as he was beat consistently by Peppers in an ugly loss for the Bears. Thursday was their second match-up with Long coming off his best game as a right tackle last week.

After a clear loss in round 1, Long bounced back with a dominant performance against the Packers. Last week Long shut down Von Miller and then this week held Peppers to just one tackle. Long has only played 11 games in the NFL as a right tackle, but over the last two weeks is looking like one of the best in the league at the position.

9.) Pat O’Donnell sucks

I brought up O’Donnell’s struggles in last week’s takeaways and he was arguably even worse this week. Last year’s 6th round pick is looking like a major bust from a loaded 2014 draft. O’Donnell was averaging less than 40 yards per punt on his first seven attempts, but managed to salvage a 40.4 yards per punt average with a decent 46-yard punt (his longest of the night) in his last attempt.

O’Donnell has averaged less than 40 yards per punt over the last two games and is not helping the Bears establish a field position edge. To put that average in perspective, the worst punter in the NFL this season averages 41.7 yards per punt.

On two punts near his own end zone, O’Donnell couldn’t get the ball past the 50 on a fly and on two punts from Packers territory he couldn’t pin the ball inside the 15-yard-line. O’Donnell is near the bottom of the league in both yards per punt (23rd) and net yards per punt (23rd).

Next: More Takeaways