Chicago Bears Week 15: Takeaways

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This looks like a completely different Bears team than that one that went into Green Bay and won on Thanksgiving. After at least being competitive in the last ten games, the Bears were outclassed on both sides of the ball in a 38-17 beat down by the Minnesota Vikings.

There aren’t many positives in this one, the Bears were beaten soundly by a team that is just better all around. The Bears O-line was manhandled all day, the back seven missed multiple tackles and were slow to react in coverage, and the secondary was picked apart by statistically the 2nd worst passing offense in the NFL. It was ugly all around.

I’ll cover the grisly details and few bright spots in my takeaways below but for the most part it was a one-sided a$$-whipping. I normally watch the tape of the game again before writing my takeaways, but Sunday’s game was too painful to sit through a second time.

Week 15 Takeaways

1.) Have the Bears O-line seen a stunt before?

The Vikings sacked Jay Cutler five times which is the most the Bears have allowed all season. The Vikings had some success on blitzes, but four of the Vikings five sacks came from their front four. The Vikings were able to generate pressure on Cutler with usually just their front four and most of those pressures came on simple stunt moves that shouldn’t have been that much of a problem for a Bears line that only starts one rookie.

Both offensive tackles, Long & Leno, looked utterly lost on multiple stunts, like they had no idea who to pick up. I’m not sure how that is possible, since the Bears see D-line stunts every week. It wasn’t just stunts that beat the Bears as both tackles were overpowered and just outclassed by Viking DEs, Brian Robison and Danielle Hunter.

2.) Kyle Long has played his worst two games of the season in the last two weeks

For the 2nd week in a row Long gave up two sacks and one of them resulted in a strip-sack and lost fumble. This week’s came just two plays after the Bears had recovered an onside kick and had some legitimate momentum.

Just three weeks ago I was writing about how Long was playing like a Pro Bowl right tackle, but he has regressed significantly the last two weeks. The Redskins Ryan Kerrigan and Vikings Brian Robison are above-average veteran DEs, but Long has faced better this season and held his own. He even dominated future Hall-of-Famer Julius Peppers less than a month ago in Green Bay. Is Long hiding an injury? Or perhaps teams have identified a technique flaw that they have exploited the last two weeks?

Either way Long needs to finish the season on a strong note or the Bears may consider moving him back inside to guard where he made the Pro Bowl his first two years in the league. I’m not giving up on the idea of Long as a tackle, he’s played some very solid games at the position this year. I think he has the talent and athleticism to play tackle on either side at a Pro Bowl level, but his play has been so bad the last two weeks that the Bears need to at least evaluate their options at tackle in the off-season.

3.) Hroniss Grasu, ugh

I can understand Hroniss Grasu getting overpowered by NFL DTs as he was expected to get a year in the Bears strength program before seeing any offensive snaps, but for the 2nd week in a row Grasu was beaten not by strength but by quickness and technique from a DT.

Last week it was 354-pound Terrance Knighton fooling Grasu with a step towards the guard and then bursting through the line before the 298-pound Grasu could react. This week it was Vikings DT Tom Johnson who was too quick through the line of scrimmage for Grasu to react and stop Johnson from sacking Cutler.

Getting overpowered is one thing, but when Grasu is getting beat by bigger DTs due to bad footwork and a lack of quickness, it makes me wonder about his long term potential regardless of how much time he spends in the weight room. Oh yeah, Grasu had a hold on the Bears first play of the game that wiped out a 35-yard run by Matt Forte. It was just another bad game from the Bears rookie center and instead of developing with more experience, Grasu seems to be getting worse.

Next: More Takeaways