Bears Takeaways: Week 6

Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports
Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports /
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Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports
Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports /

3.) Hoyer’s stats look good again, but he couldn’t produce when it mattered

On paper it was another decent game from Hoyer with 30 completions on 49 attempts for 302 yards, but zero touchdowns. The lack of touchdowns has been an issue for Hoyer and the Bears since he took over as the starting QB. Between the 20-yard-lines Hoyer has moved the ball much better than Jay Cutler did early in the season, but in the red zone Hoyer and the Bears offense falls apart.

A part of the problem is with the play-calling as I mentioned above, but Hoyer deserves some of the blame as well. He missed Jordan Howard and Alshon Jeffery wide open in the end zone on separate plays. Not having a successful running game hurt the Bears flexibility in the red zone, but there were options open and Hoyer missed them.

Hoyer probably played well enough to get another start, but if he doesn’t improve verse Green Bay on Thursday night then Jay Cutler might be back in the mix. Hoyer has had good stretches with teams in the past, but hasn’t been able to sustain them. Sunday could be the beginning of the end for Hoyer’s time as the Bears starting QB.

4.) The running game stalled this week

After two consecutive 100-yard games for rookie Jordan Howard, the Bears running game was non-existent this week against the Jags. It’s hard to put much blame on Howard who had minimal room to run on Sunday. The offensive line didn’t give Howard much room to work and the play-calling didn’t do him any favors either. Howard was met in the backfield often on Sunday and usually had to break a tackle or two just to gain positive yardage.

Despite the lack of running lanes, Fox decided to sit Howard most of the 2nd half. A big back like Howard get better as the game goes on and defenses are worn down by his power, but apparently Fox didn’t like something Howard was doing on the field. He did drop a catchable pass and had a holding penalty in pass protection, but it seemed way too soon to give up on a guy who has carried the offense on his back the last two weeks.

On a positive note, Ka’Deem Carey ran well after taking over for Howard in the 2nd half. Carey had 50 yards on just nine carries including an explosive 16-yard run that got the Bears inside the ten-yard-line. A combination of Howard and Carey looks promising for the Bears, but to maximize Howard’s effectiveness he should be in the game late when the Bears are trying to kill the clock. It was just one of many questionable decisions by coach Fox on Sunday.

Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports
Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports /

5.) Cameron Meredith is for real

One bright spot of Sunday’s loss was the continued emergence of wide receiver Cameron Meredith. He followed up last week’s breakout game with another solid performance. Meredith led the team with 11 catches on 15 targets for 113 yards.

The former Illinois St quarterback has made the transition to wide receiver quickly and has given the Bears a legitimate weapon across from Alshon Jeffery. Meredith has consistently shown the ability to gain yards after the catch. He had two plays on Sunday where he caught a short pass, broke a tackle, and turned it into a big gain. One of those plays went for 36 yards, which was the Bears longest play of the game.

The emergence of Meredith as a viable starting receiver could give the Bears some leverage in their offseason negotiations with Alshon Jeffery. Ideally the Bears will bring Jeffery back at a reasonable price and give the Bears a dynamic receiving core of Jeffery, Meredith, Kevin White (fingers-crossed), and Eddie Royal.