Chicago Bears Week 13: Takeaways

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3.) The Bears rush defense finally played well

After getting gashed for 347 rushing yards over their previous two games the Bears rush D locked things down and allowed just 46 rushing yards to the Niners RBs (2.8 ypc) before letting QB Blaine Gabbert run through the defense for a 44 yard TD. Outside of that play, the D shut down the 49ers RBs with ease and gave them nothing inside or out.

The Bears D-line, Eddie Goldman, Jarvis Jenkins, and Will Sutton all stepped up this week and didn’t allow any rush lanes for the first time in weeks. They did allow a big 44-yard TD run to Gabbert, but the Bears were able to stop the standard run game which they haven’t been able to do in a few weeks. Part of the success had to do with the fact that they were playing a hapless Niners running game, but the Bears came into the game as the 3rd worst rush defense in the league and were able to hold 49ers RBs to a season low 46 rushing yards. It feels empty in a loss, but it is progress all the same.

4.) Penalties are becoming a problem again

After a total of only four penalties allowed over the course of two games through weeks 11-12, the Bears have reverted back to Trestman era discipline committing 20 penalties over the last two games. The Bears just aren’t talented enough to win games while committing multiple penalties and leaving yards on the field.

The Bears were penalized eight times on Sunday for a total of 72 yards. An illegal block on LaRoy Reynolds negated a punt return TD by Bryce Callahan, guard Patrick Omameh had two holding penalties, once of which wiped out a 22-yard run by Matt Forte and the other was on the first drive of overtime. Josh Bellamy had a dumb penalty on a kick off that put the Bears deep in their own territory. Tight ends Martellus Bennett and Zach Miller also had penalties that hurt the Bears ability to move the ball.

The Bears just aren’t a talented enough team to afford to lose the penalty battle every week and they will struggle to beat even bad teams like the Niners until they can start playing with discipline again.

5.) Matt Forte is back

It was good to see Matt Forte back to his old self this week with 123 total yards and a TD. The Bears have struggled in short-yardage scenarios for the last few years, but Forte took a five-yard hand-off and barreled his way into the end-zone through heavy traffic for a big Bears TD run.

Back-up RB Jeremy Langford had a solid game on the ground as well with a team high 4.9 YPC,  but did drop yet another pass. The two RBs totaled 143 yards on the ground for an overall average of 4.3 YPC. Even 3rd string RB Ka’Deem Carey got 17 yards on 5 carries and scored what should have been the game-winning TD. After two weeks of serious struggles on the ground, the Bears three RBs all fought hard for yardage this week and contributed to a strong Bears ground game. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t enough.

As impressive as the Bears rushing attack was, the Niners have been getting gouged on the ground every week giving up 100+ yard rushing yard games to the last three running backs they faced (Rawls- 209, Gurley-133, and Lynch-122). Either way it is still progress after sub-par rush defense the last two weeks.

6.) Eddie Goldman continues to improve

I caught some flack last week in the comment section for recognizing Goldman’s improvement lately, but I don’t think I’ll get as much negativity this week after a borderline dominant game from the rookie with two sacks, two tackles for loss, a blocked extra point, and three QB hits. Goldman is one of the youngest starters in the NFL at just 21-years-old and for the last three weeks has become a force to be reckoned with.

The 351-pound youngster is starting to make an impact inside and was a force in the backfield against the Niners this week. Goldman still makes his share of mistakes, he gets pushed off the line too often, bursts through the wrong gap occasionally, and has failed to convert on a handful of sacks despite being in the backfield early. Despite his mistakes, Goldman is still 3rd on the team with 4.5 sacks and is getting better every week.

Goldman isn’t perfect but has made more plays than most of the Bears other D-lineman and is proving that the Bears have a player to build around at NT in Goldman, which is one of the hardest positions to fill in 3-4 defensive schemes.

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