Bears Takeaways – Week 11

Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports /
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Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports /

Well, at least that wasn’t as embarrassing of a loss as last week against the Bucs. The Bears played a strong first half to take a 16-9 lead over the 6-3 New York Giants, but fell apart in the second half and lost 22-16.

The Bears had a chance to win late, down six with the ball and three minutes left in the game but a Jay Cutler interception ended their comeback hopes. The Bears managed to drive into Giants territory despite a couple of penalties and the Bears offensive line giving up pressure on every pass attempt.

Overall, it was a much better performance than last week’s disaster, but the Bears came up short due to injuries, bad offensive line play in the second half, and a disturbing lack of adjustments at halftime by an overmatched Bears coaching staff. For some reason, the Bears just haven’t been able to put together a full game this season and they dropped to 2-8 on the year.

I’ll cover the highlights, lowlights, and a detailed breakdown of all the injuries in my takeaways below.

Bears Takeaways – Week 12

1.) Jay Cutler played pretty well despite tough conditions

His numbers were nothing special (17/30, 252, 1 TD, 1 INT) but with the wind howling and the Bears offensive line giving up pressure on almost every 2nd half pass, Cutler played pretty well. His touchdown pass to Zach Miller was a throw only about half the QBs in the league could make and Cutler had a number of other impressive completions Sunday.

Unfortunately, Cutler couldn’t get it down when it mattered in the second half but in his defense, he was running for his life most of the time. The Giants have one of the best defensive lines in the league and they were too much for the Bears backup linemen to deal with. Right tackle Mike Adams was destroyed by Jean Pierre-Paul and once Josh Sitton left the game the interior line struggled as well.

With tight end Zach Miller and guard Josh Sitton out of the game, the Bears offense stalled. There were no running lanes, receivers couldn’t get open, the play-calling was uninspired (like it has been every 2nd half this season), and there were some ill-timed penalties to make things even more difficult.

Overall Cutler played as well as could be expected given the difficult circumstances, but it just wasn’t enough to overcome the talent disparity of the Bears back-ups playing against the starters on one of the better teams in the NFC.

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports /

2.) Jordan Howard drops the ball in the 2nd half

I almost lost it when the Bears started Jeremy Langford in the 2nd half after Jordan Howard gained 72 yards on just 12 first-half carries. They brought Howard in on the next drive and gave him some rare 2nd half carries, but Howard had his worst half of the season.

There wasn’t much room to run, but Howard only gained five yards on five carries and dropped three catchable passes. Those drops contributed to the Bears brutal second half on offense and one ended an important drive on a good throw by Cutler. Howard isn’t known for his receiving skills, but has been solid this year and needs to make catches that hit him in the numbers.

For the day Howard had a pretty decent game with 99 total yards and 5.5 yards per touch, but it could have been much better if he’d done anything in the second half. The Bears are still winless when Howard doesn’t touch the ball at least 20 times.

3.) Deonte Thompson had his first good game of the season!

I wrote last week about Thomson and his league-worst 19.9 yards per kick return, but he looked much better Sunday. Thompson averaged 29 yards per return on the day with a long of 40 yards. He even caught a pass for 10 yards and a first down. One game isn’t enough to change my mind on Thompson, but at least he showed that he’s capable of making something happen as a returner.

4.) Kicking game was brutal on both sides

I thought new Giants kicker Robbie Gould would have a big game against his former team, but he made the Bears brass look pretty smart for releasing him. Gould missed two extra points today, which would have cost the Giants the game if the Bears had been able to complete their fourth quarter comeback.

To Gould’s credit, it was very windy in New York today and he did manage to hit a 46-yard field goal. Bears kicker Connor Barth didn’t fair much better with one missed extra point and a 51-yarder that clanked off the goal post.