Social media was aghast yesterday in the wake of the Bears 37-34 overtime loss to the Detroit Lions. It seemed everybody wanted to assign blame. The truth is everybody on the Bears sideline was somewhat responsible.
- If John Fox doesn’t make a zillion mistakes managing this game (the most egregious, in my opinion, is detailed below) they probably win the game.
- If the Bears finish their drives down around the goal line, they win the game.
- If Jay Cutler hits Matt Forte on the wide open wheel route that looks destined for the end zone, they probably win the game.
- If the Bears catch a few balls they dropped, including pivotal ones by Martellus Bennett and Marquess Wilson, they probably win the game.
- If Pernell McPhee doesn’t rough Matt Stafford, they probably win the game.
But let’s remember. If the Lions don’t fumble two punts, the Bears aren’t even getting this game near overtime. Fans have been fooled by their quarterback’s heroics over the last three weeks into believing this is suddenly a good team. It is not. And we learned that definitively Sunday.
- Bears secondary is the worst in football. And any team with the capacity to chuck it deep, as Stafford and Carson Palmer did, will exploit that. Oddly enough there aren’t many teams that play long ball left on the Bears schedule.
- People were CLAMORING for Sherrick McManis to get playing time. The only thing that happens when Sherrick McManis gets playing time is you end with Sherrick McManis on the field. Lance Moore, who I didn’t know was still in the league, dominated him.
- Guess we’re moving Kyle Fuller back into the concern column.
- Adrian Amos is a player. Terrific closing speed and packs a punch when he gets there. With the play of he, Langford and Goldman, Ryan Pace’s first draft is starting to look solid.
- Give McPhee a pass for roughing Stafford. The guy out there on an island trying to take over games. Bears primary motivation this off-season needs to be supplying this guy with pass rush help. He’s getting none.
- Martellus Bennett’s performance art during the week would be much cuter if he caught the ball on Sunday.
- Still don’t understand how Tate’s touchdown gets reversed. But, then again, I’ve lost complete touch with the rulebook and so have the officials.
- Has Jeremiah Ratliff made a play yet?
- Welcome back, Alshon Jeffery. Hell of a catch in the end zone.
- So Jay Cutler’s last three drives in regulation have been: (1) setting up a game-winning field goal to beat Oakland. (2) Going the length of the field for a game-winning touchdown to beat Kansas City. (3) Ripping up the Lions down the right sideline, with twenty-one second remaining, set up a chip shot field to tie the Lions and send the game to overtime. Ummm…this is amazing. Nobody in the league this season has done anything approaching this. Think you’ll hear about it from the folks covering the NFL? (Spoiler alert: you won’t.)
WHERE JOHN FOX LOST THE GAME
Jim Caldwell kicks a field goal to cut the Bears lead to four points. Bears receive kickoff with about two and a half minutes left. John Fox decides to run three give-up plays. He didn’t let Adam Gase give the Lions pass looks and run out of them. He lined up and ran the ball into the middle of the defense. He admitted later all he wanted to do was get Caldwell to use his timeouts. Folks across Twitter referred to this as Fox’s “conservative” approach. This approach is not conservative. This approach is stupid. Here’s why:
- The timeouts don’t matter. With the way the Bears secondary had played all day how can Fox not know that more than two minutes was plenty of time for the Lions to score a touchdown?
- Fox chose to let his defense decide the game and not his offense. How could any human being watching the events of the game transpire think this was a sound football approach? Jay Cutler is the best player on the team. Why would you take the ball out of your best player’s hands and put the game on the shoulders of the worst secondary in the league?
- You only need twenty yards! Twenty yards ends the game! How does the head coach walk into meeting rooms this week when he acknowledged on the field he didn’t trust his offense to get twenty yards?!?!
Fox is a running game/defense coach. Well too bad. The strength of the Bears is their passing attack. Sooner Fox acknowledges that, the more success the team will have in year one.
The Bears aren’t good. But if their quarterback stays healthy they might actually make a run to 7-9, 8-8. The best development for the 2015 edition of this team is Jay Cutler’s development under center. Through six games, he’s carrying the team.