The Chicago Bears (3-5) were so pitiful in the first half of Sunday’s game at the Philadelphia Eagles (5-4) that it made one wonder if they’ve hit rock bottom. Bears fans hope they have. At 3-5, can Chicago turn it around and still compete for an NFC Playoff spot?
Technically they could win out and finish at 11-5. Even if the Bears get hot and correct some of their many mistakes, they would still probably lose at least a game or two. That would put them in a precarious position at 10-6 or 9-7. In the NFC North this season, that would probably not be enough to make the playoffs.
The Chicago Bears are Pitiful
You’ve probably heard the statistics for futility already. Nine total yards at halftime. Nine yards! Six first-half possessions that all ended in punts. Only two first downs were achieved in the sixth and final possession of the first half. That is horrid, pitiful, ridiculous, and unacceptable.
The Bears played better in the second half but quarterback Mitchell Trubisky finished with just 125 passing yards on 10 completions out of 21 attempts. He was sacked three times and finished with a 66.6 rating. Looking on the bright side, Trubisky completed a bomb to Taylor Gabriel for 53 yards and he scrambled twice for a total of 15 yards. Other than that, Trubisky and his offense were disastrous.
On the other side of the ball, the Bears defense was less than stellar too. Despite giving up only 22 points, the defense could not get off the field. The Eagles won the time of possession battle 40:18 to 19:42. Both the Bears offense and the defense’s errors contributed to that hideous statistic. The Eagles ran 78 plays to Chicago’s 42 plays. Total yards were in favor of Philadelphia 373-164.
Maybe the most insidious stat of all was the Bears penalties. Chicago had nine flags for 70 yards including five defensive offsides penalties. How hard is it to not move until the ball is snapped? The Bears committed five penalties in just the first half with Aaron Lynch responsible for two. Lynch is in our doghouse this week for that effort which included just 21 snaps, per Football Outsiders. Two offsides penalties in just 21 snaps? C’mon man! Shape up or ship out.
It’s hard to give out game balls in a despicable performance for Chicago, but let’s award some players that performed decently. Gabriel caught all three of his targets for 69 yards. His 23.0 yard average per catch was much needed for an offense that doesn’t go deep enough.
Running back David Montgomery ran the ball 14 times for 40 yards and two touchdowns. His 2.9 yards per carry don’t show how hard he ran. Montgomery also caught three passes for 36 yards on four targets. In total, he had 76 yards for the offense out of the team’s 164 total yards. That means he was responsible for nearly half of the Bears yards. On the downside, if Montgomery would have hauled in a screen pass late in the game, he would have had an important first down and may have even taken it to the house.
On defense, outside linebacker Leonard Floyd had a solid game. He was flying around causing some havoc for the Eagles. Floyd had six tackles including four solo stops. He had a sack which was his first since the Week 1 Opener when he had two sacks versus the Green Bay Packers.
Unfortunately, Floyd also had a critical facemask penalty. That was his only mistake in a day that the Bears sacked Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz four times, believe it or not. Outside of Floyd’s sack, Lynch, Eddie Goldman, and Nick Williams also recorded takedowns of Wentz.
Player of the Game
Punter Pat O’Donnell receives the Player of the Game Award after punting eight times for 372 yards which is a 46.5-yard average. O’Donnell pinned the Eagles inside their 20 on three occasions. His longest punt was an incredible 72-yard effort that rolled into the endzone from his 28-yard line! It’s sad when the Player of the Game is a punter but it’s appropriate given the Bears pitiful performance at Philadelphia.
Questions Moving Forward
So now what? Can the Bears make improvements and get back into the NFC North race? Will the offense start to run the ball more often? Can the passing game produce with more efficiency? Will the defense get back to playing an attacking style that leads to takeaways? If the offense helps the defense by staying on the field with more time of possession, will the defense play better in the 4th quarter, rather than tiring out as they have been?
Week 10 Preview
This Sunday the Detroit Lions (3-4-1) travel to Chicago. Will the Bears (3-5) break their four-game losing streak? The Bears should have a great chance to get a much-needed victory. According to Troy Aikman’s Efficiency Ratings (AER), the Detroit Lions are 24th overall while Chicago is #19. Detroit’s offense is 14th while the Bears are 26th. On defense, Detroit is poor at 28th while Chicago is solid at seventh.
The Bears will have home-field advantage in Soldier Field, where they’ve beaten Detroit twice in the last three years. According to ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI), the Bears have a 60.1% chance of winning this week. If head coach Matt Nagy remembers to run the football more than his usual 38% rate, per Team Rankings, maybe the Bears can keep possession while the defense rests.
Only seven teams are running the ball less this year than Chicago. For comparison’s sake, last year the Bears ran the ball 45% of the time, which was the sixth-highest rate in the NFL. Think about that; sixth-highest versus eighth-lowest. 12-4 vs 3-5. Is there a correlation? You betcha Charlie Batch!
The Bears are favored by 2.5 points over the Lions. We look for Chicago to get a much-needed victory on Sunday afternoon. The Bears should run the ball more often, and with some efficiency. Hopefully, we’ll see Nagy bring back the I-formation which was so effective two weeks ago against the Los Angeles Chargers. If Montgomery has success in the running game, it will open up the play-action passing game for Trubisky.
Holding down Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford will be key. He’s having a fantastic season but without the injured running back Kerryon Johnson, the Lions may be one dimensional. By controlling the ball more and forcing a turnover or two, the Bears will get back on the winning track. Beating a divisional rival would be a big confidence boost for a team that has been pitiful over the last month. Look for Chicago to start turning around their season this week.
Chicago Bears 20, Detroit Lions 13
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