Chicago Bears Versus the Detroit Lions Game Review

By Bryan Dietzler

The Chicago Bears played host to the Detroit Lions this Sunday at Soldier Field in their second divisional game in a row. Chicago played well in the first half but stalled out a bit in the second half. Still, they managed to keep it close. In the end, Chicago couldn’t get a tying field goal through the uprights and they lost 27-24.

Here is how the game unfolded including some of the key plays that happened throughout the game.

The Bears got the ball first and went on a methodical drive using a good mix of running and passing. That drive included a big pass to tight end Adam Shaheen, but the Bears couldn’t capitalize and score a touchdown. Instead, they settled for a 23-yard Connor Barth field goal to make it 3-0. It was their first score on an opening drive of a game all season.

Detroit got the ball after that and Chicago’s defense came through as Akiem Hicks recovered a Matthew Stafford fumble (thanks to a Nick Kwiatkoski sack/strip) to end Detroit’s drive. Chicago got a big run down to the five-yard line by Jordan Howard and capped the drive off with a Mitchell Trubisky to Shaheen touchdown pass.

The Bears went up 10-0 with 3:23 left in the first quarter.

The Bears got the ball back after a stalled Detroit drive. On that drive, the snap was mishandled by Trubisky. Detroit’s D.J. Hayden scooped the ball up and ran it into the end zone. That made it 10-7 with 14:00 left in the second quarter. On their next possession, Chicago capped off a long drive with a Howard touchdown to go up 17-7 with 8:30 left in the first half.

On Detroit’s next possession they scored a touchdown on a pass from Stafford to Marvin Jones for 28 yards. With the extra point, the Lions closed to within three of the Bears, 17-14. Chicago got the ball back with 5:17 left in the second quarter and had to punt after the drive stalled. With 3:43 left, Detroit got the ball back and went up 21-17 on a Stafford to Ameer Abdullah touchdown pass.

That’s how the half would end.

The Lions got the ball first to start the second half and were forced to punt. The Bears couldn’t do anything on their next drive and went three and out. The Lions had to punt on their next possession and the Bears got the ball back inside their own five-yard line. Chicago was unable to get that far on that drive and gave the ball back to Detroit. The Lions fell short in that drive and gave the ball back to Chicago.

The Bears started a drive with 4:18 left in the third quarter and ended it with a punt. On Detroit’s next possession, both Kyle Fuller and Leonard Floyd went out with injuries. There will be more on that later.

Detroit would be held to a field goal on that same possession making it 24-17 with 10:01 left in the game. The Bears would get some big runs and passes, as well as a roughing the passer penalty in their favor and cap a tying drive off with a touchdown by Tarik Cohen.

The game would be tied up at 24 all with 5:02 to go.

The Lions took the ensuing kickoff and drove towards the Bears end of the field but stalled out and had to kick a 52-yard field goal. The field goal was good, and it gave Detroit a 27-24 lead with 1:35 left in the game. The Bears had one shot to tie it up or take the lead.

The Bears managed to get close enough to try a 47-yard field goal attempt, but Connor Barth pushed it right with three seconds left. Chicago lost the game.

Interesting to note is the 4th down run Trubisky had on that drive to keep the drive alive. It was a thing of beauty.

News and Notes

Injuries

Injuries hit the Bears at bad times during this game. I had mentioned that Fuller and Floyd went out on the same play. Fuller came back in and his injury was noted as a wrist issue. But Floyd’s injury appeared to be much more serious and could keep him out for longer. He sprained some ligaments in his knee after struck by Fuller on the play. Floyd was carted off the field.

Bearsgab will update you on what is happening with Floyd when more information is unveiled.

We also saw Josh Bellamy leave the game and not come back. He suffered a concussion and is going through the NFL’s concussion protocol. There were some minor injuries suffered by a few other players who missed a few plays including Eddie Goldman (wrist), Akiem Hicks (leg), and Bobby Massie (hand).

We will see how they progress as the week goes on.

Penalties

I touch on this every week. The Bears, once again, had critical penalties at critical times in this game. Possibly the most damaging of all the penalties was Kyle Long’s late hit, which drew an unnecessary roughness penalty for 15 yards wiping out a nice run by Trubisky. That set the Bears back. Long had another penalty, being an illegal man downfield, which cost the Bears five yards and put them behind the chains again.

Overall, the Bears had five penalties for 64 yards. It was a little better this week, but they still need to eliminate those critical penalties at critical times.

Adam Shaheen

This write-up wouldn’t be complete without saying something about tight end Adam Shaheen. Coming from a Division II program, it was thought that Shaheen’s learning curve would be steep. Some felt that he wouldn’t be ready for the big time until 2018. But an injury to Zach Miller and Dion Sims’ illness has forced Shaheen to take a larger role in the offense. He proved Sunday he can be a good pass catching and blocking tight end.

His touchdown catch was a high point in the game.

Shaheen is catching on but still has a lot of learning to do. It’s nice to see him finally start to pan out though and make a difference in his first year in the league.

Kicking Woes

After missing that critical kick on Sunday, Connor Barth was released, and Cairos Santos was brought in. Santos should help cure what ailed the Bears in the kicking game and give them a weapon that they can use to score points and win close games. It’s sad that it took Chicago so long to conclude that Barth was not a good fit. And Barth cost them some games in the past as well.

Hopefully, the Bears don’t make such a horrible mistake at the kicking position again.

Next Up

Chicago will travel to Philadelphia to take on the red-hot Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles are coming off a big win against division rival Dallas. We will have a full preview of that game coming up later in the week.

Chicago Bears Week Ten Game Notes and Observations

By Bryan Dietzler

(Sorry for the delay in this post. I thank you for your patience)

The Chicago Bears played host to their hated rival, the Green Bay Packers, this Sunday and ended up losing 23-16. Almost everyone thought that the Bears would have beaten the Packers, but in the end, the Green Bay got the best of the Bears, again. They have done that so much over the course of the last few years and it’s become frustrating to Bears’ fans.

Even without their star, Aaron Rodgers, they still end up beating the Bears. How did that happen?

We are going to look at why some of what happened Sunday happened and look at a few key points in the game. Some are obvious, but others are not that obvious perhaps.

Let’s look.

The Challenge Heard Round the World

Many people are pointing the finger at John Fox for what happened with that big challenge on Sunday, and they are right but only partially.

I assume there is someone advising Fox, someone up high or viewing a replay, that tells him whether to challenge a play. If there is such a person, then that person responsible for doing that in the game Sunday should be fired.

Fox should take some of the blame for that but not all of it. He couldn’t see the play over and over like those in position to review the replay were. Ultimately, if there were any chance they would have lost possession of the ball on that challenge, he should not have challenged it.

What a bad thing to have happen.

The challenge and loss of possession was a real turning point for the Bears. Had they been able to score, they would have been in a great position to win the game. Perhaps the game was lost on that play. The challenge and its outcome are a good representation of what we have had with Fox and his staff over the last two and a half seasons.

Letting Fox Go

To go along with the whole issue of the challenge, people are now coming out in droves and demanding that Fox gets fired. There are even reports that ownership is upset and ready to let Fox go. The last time we heard reports like that were when the Bears were about to let go of Marc Trestman. None of these reports are confirmed but you can get a feeling from many that Fox will go. The fanbase is dissatisfied with what they are seeing and that’s not helping the team or ownership. It has the “air” of the Trestman firing all around it.

Fox needs to go. That’s plain and simple. He needs to be let go at the end of this season. But after suffering through two bad coaching stints, the team needs to be much more careful about who they chose as their next head coach. The fan base won’t want to endure much more of the basement dwelling the Bears have had in recent years.

But if Fox does go, who should replace him?

That’s a story for another day.

Penalties

What about the penalties the Bears suffered Sunday? Wow! They came often, and they came at bad times. The Bears need to firm things up with their discipline and play tighter. They cannot afford to keep struggling with penalties like they did on Sunday.

I have talked about this before. A team that commits a lot of penalties on the field represents a direct reflection of the coaching staff and how they are teaching their players off the field.

The penalties are a direct reflection of the Bears’ coaching staff.

With bad coaching comes penalties. We have seen that over the course of Fox’s tenure and have seen it with other teams that struggle with penalties. You can’t win a game when you are behind the chains. Your chances of winning decrease when you have to make up those extra yards. The Bears cannot afford to do that. Every extra yard they must get makes it even more difficult to win with the type of offense they have.

They must get rid of the penalties.

Hot and Cold

Cornerback Kyle Fuller was both hot and cold on Sunday. For some reason, teams like to throw at him at times he comes out ahead, sometimes. Fuller had the one good knockdown but that was about all he could do. The Packers completed 5 of 6 passes for 111 yards while the other members of the secondary combined allowed just 101 yards. He especially struggled to defend against that touchdown catch by Davante Adams. That was the biggest and most critical score of the game against the Bears.

I have called Fuller a near Pro Bowl talent before and believe that he has some good in him. However, despite the fact he’s been in the league four seasons, he still lacks experience. Maybe some additional experience or even a change of scenery might do him some good. The Bears didn’t pick up his 5th-year option so he will be a free agent in 2018.

Is he worth bringing back?

Injuries

The Bears, coming off a bye week, seemingly had more injuries coming out of it than they did going into it. The key injury of the game was Danny Trevathan’s calf strain. Not much about it was said after the Bears’ game against the Saints. Then he popped up on the injury report to start the week and didn’t practice. It was pretty much known he wouldn’t be able to play against the Packers by the time Friday was done.

Kyle Long suited up for Sunday but sat out with a hand injury. His replacement, Cody Whitehair, was adequate but the offensive line still struggled. Long has slowly missed more and more time due to injuries and is starting to look like he has some health issues. When he’s on, he’s good but he has also seemingly been a little out of rhythm this year. It may not be a good year for Long. Perhaps next year will be better barring a major injury at the end of this season.

Finally, why was tight end Dion Sims inactive for the game? He had been suffering from an illness all week and was unable to play on Sunday. Hopefully, he’s back and better when the Bears play the Lions this Sunday but it’s looking more and more that he won’t be back.

Final Thoughts

This was a winnable game for the Bears. The Packers have been reeling from the loss of their star quarterback, Aaron Rodgers and the stars were aligned for the Bears. But in this case, as they have done in the past, the snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. While the coaching staff should shoulder the blame for some of it, the players had a hand in it as well. They did not play as well as they could have and made some mental errors. But the coaching staff didn’t put them in a position to win.

The Bears were on a bye last week and had a lot of time to prepare for this game. However, they came out and fell flat. Then there were the injuries that popped up over the bye week and caused guys like Trevathan and Sims to miss the game. Then there were the mental errors by guys like Fuller. There were the penalties that cost the Bears field position.

These things added up to one big rotten loss. And although it wasn’t a beatdown, the loss might have stung worse than being crushed by 30 points. The Bears could have won this game and they just couldn’t do it.

That’s frustrating.

The Bears Gab Chicago Bears Mid-Season Defensive and Special Teams Grades

By Bryan Dietzler

The Chicago Bears’ defense has been playing increasingly well over the last few games and is starting to look like Bears’ defenses of old. How do they stack up now that the season is half over? What do their grades look like?

Most everyone on Chicago’s defense has been playing very well so far, this season. From the guys on the defensive line to the safeties in the backfield, this defense looks great. And as fans, we have the individual players, as well as defensive coordinator Vic Fangio to thank for the success that they have had.

Now if the Bears could have that same success on offense, they would be a playoff contender.

We will look for the defense to help win additional games this season by continuing to play the way it has been over the course of the last few games.

And we should see no letdown in what the defense can do in the team’s remaining eight games.

The following are the Bearsgab mid-season grades for each positional unit on defense. I will assign individual grades to some of the players and then unit grades. The grading system for the players is based on a points system which on a 1-5 number system and goes like this:

5.0-Elite/All-Pro

4.0-Solid/Pro-Bowl

3.0-Average

2.0-Below Average

1.0-Poor

0.0-Incomplete

And the grading system I will use for the units is by letter grade, and that should be self-explanatory.

Here are my unit and individual grades for the Bears offense.

Defensive Ends

This group has been solid this season and is led by a player who may be the Bears’ only All-Pro, Akiem Hicks. Hicks has been a force on the defensive line and has proven that he was well worth his contract.

Hopefully, he will continue to be productive.

Jonathan Bullard has stepped it up this season and is seeing situational duty while Mitch Unrein has been holding his own. Roy Robertson-Harris suffered an injury in the Carolina game but should be back soon.

Akiem Hicks-5.0

Roy Robertson-Harris-2.2

Mitch Unrein-2.5

Jonathan Bullard-2.6

Unit Grade-A- -These guys are spot on and one of the better groups in the NFL. If they can continue to produce they will be a top tier unit by the end of the season.

Defensive Tackles

Chicago has just two defensive tackles or nose tackles as they are commonly referred to in the 3-4 scheme. Eddie Goldman, who has spent a lot of time injured in the past is having a Pro Bowl season in the middle. He has become one of their best players. John Jenkins has been inactive on gameday, for the most part, participating in just one game.

Goldman makes this a stellar group.

Eddie Goldman-4.0

John Jenkins-0.0

Unit Grade-B+ -This is pretty much a one-man show with Goldman. Will he make his first ever Pro Bowl? It’s possible.

Outside linebackers

This group is manned by two very capable starters. Leonard Floyd has been showing some flashes of greatness this season and is coming along nicely. The Bears just need to get more production out of him. Pernell McPhee is finally healthy, and the Bears are starting to see what they thought they had in him. Now, if he can just remain healthy and set it up a bit this combination may be one of the best in the NFL.

Sam Acho is solid. He comes in to help provide some rest for the starters now and then.

Sam Acho-2.6

Pernell McPhee-2.8

Leonard Floyd-3.2

Isaiah Irving-0.0

Unit Grade-B+ -If these guys can finish the year strong, this grade will be an A. They are so close to being one of the best outside linebacker tandems in the NFL, we just need to see them step it up a bit.

Inside Linebackers

The Bears have some quality inside linebackers despite the fact Jerrell Freeman is on injured reserve. Danny Trevathan has come back from an injury last year and has played well. Christian Jones is playing at a high level. This is the best year for Jones who has been with the Bears for several seasons but has not stepped up until this year. Trevathan is as good as advertised and gets better with every game.

Both Jones and Trevathan are the backbone of this Bears’ defense.

Nick Kwiatkoski was injured early in the season but is back. He cannot regain his starting job, however, thanks to the way Jones is playing. That’s a good problem for the Bears to have. John Timu has had to step in and play at times but got hurt. He should be ready to go now.

Danny Trevathan-3.6

Christian Jones-2.9

Nick Kwiatkoski-2.2

John Timu-2.1

Unit Grade-A- -This grade will get better if these guys can continue to play like they have been. They should be one of the best inside linebacker groups in the NFL.

Cornerbacks

The Bears have three capable starting cornerbacks in Kyle Fuller, Marcus Cooper, and Prince Amukamara. Fuller, especially, has been playing lights out this season and is one of the reasons why the Bears’ pass defense has been so solid. This rotation works well and gives the Bears some depth and options at the position.

Bryce Callahan has been solid at the nickel spot but is a little banged up. He is also struggling with tackling which was evident against the Saints. Hopefully, he gets healthy and learns how to wrap up the ball carrier. Cre’Von LeBlanc is a capable replacement and can fill in as needed.

This group is so much better than it was last year and should continue to play well for the rest of 2017.

Prince Amukamara-2.7

Kyle Fuller-3.3

Marcus Cooper-2.6

Bryce Callahan-2.4

Cre’Von LeBlanc-0.0 (he has not seen enough action to be graded)

Unit Grade-B+ -There is so much improvement here but a little more room for it. This could be a top unit in the NFL by the time the season is over.

Safeties

The Bears have finally gotten to the point where they have a good set of starters at safety after suffering through several seasons without quality talent. They started out the season with Quintin Demps and Eddie Jackson as their starters but after Demps got hurt, Adrian Amos stepped in and has done very well. Jackson and Amos just might be one of the best safety duos in the league right now.

This is easily one of the Bears’ best units on defense.

Adrian Amos-3.1

Eddie Jackson-3.2

Deon Bush-0.0

DeAndre Houston-Carson-0.0

Unit Grade-A- -This group is near perfect. Just a little more production is needed, and we can call them one of the best in the league.

Kicker

What can you say about Connor Barth? He’s inconsistent that’s for sure. Having made just 7 out of 11 attempts this season Barth is not a reliable kicker. The Bears need to do something either this season or in the offseason. However, it’s highly doubtful the Bears will let him go this season.

Connor Barth-2.0

No Unit Grade

Punter

With an average of 48.2, Pat O’Donnell can be considered a successful punter. He’s had some booming kicks and is a weapon in the field position game.

Pat O’Donnell-2.9

No Unit Grade

Return and Coverage Teams

The real star of this group is Sherrick McMannis. McMannis is one of the best special teams players in the NFL and has been an asset to the Bears. The unfortunate thing for him is that he has been hurt. You can tell the Bears need him too as their play in special teams has declined just a bit since he’s been out. Long snapper Andrew DePaola is doing well and may return next season.

The return teams still need some work as the Bears have used a combination or return men but still haven’t found the right one

Sherrick McMannis-2.8

Andrew DePaola-2.5

Unit Grade-C -This group has had its good and bad moments and its bad moments showed in the game against the Ravens. Hopefully, they tighten things up and play better over the course of the last few games.

The Bears Gab Chicago Bears Mid-Season Offensive Grades

By Bryan Dietzler

The Chicago Bears have hit the midpoint of the 2017 season and are at it with a 3-5 record. There have been some good things and some bad things that have come out of the first eight games.

But one thing is for sure, and that’s the fact that the Bears’ arrow is pointing up.

The Mike Glennon experiment may be over, and it looks like it’s going to be Mitchell Trubisky’s team now. Glennon lasted all of four games and had a 1-3 record. Trubisky has fared better than Glennon with a 2-2 record, but he’s had a lot of help from his defense.

But one group he hasn’t gotten a lot of help from is his wide receivers. Hopefully, that will change when Dontrelle Inman is available. But even with Inman, the Bears still have a way to go in the passing game.

The offensive line has been both good and bad. There are some things to be happy and frustrated about with that group.

But overall, things are looking up for the offense. At least for their future.

Without further delay, here are the Bearsgab mid-season grades for each positional unit on the offense. We will assign individual grades to some of the players and then unit grades. The grading system for the players is based on a points system which on a 1-5 number system and goes like this:

5.0-Elite/All-Pro

4.0-Solid/Pro-Bowl

3.0-Average

2.0-Below Average

1.0-Poor

0.0-Incomplete

And the grading system I will use for the units is by letter grade, and that should be self-explanatory.

So, without further delay, here are my unit and individual grades for the Bears offense.

Quarterbacks

The Bears have suffered a lot at the quarterback position. They thought that Glennon was going to be the short-term answer while Trubisky learned and grew in the offense but that did not happen. Glennon was so bad; the Bears had to put Trubisky in and start moving forward. While Trubisky has shown some promise, his growth has been stunted by the lack of talent at the wide receiver position.

Glennon is probably going to be gone next season unless the Bears want to keep him as a backup. The “out” clause in his contract doesn’t tie the Bears to him beyond this year. That would make it a clean break. Letting him go might make sense but then who will back up Trubisky?

Worrying about that is a long way away.

Trubisky will get better when the players around him get better and for now, he will learn and grow and eventually be the player the Bears hoped he would be.

Mike Glennon-1.75

Mitchell Trubisky-2.5

Mark Sanchez-0.0

Unit Grade-C- There is a lot of potential here and hopefully this grade will improve by the end of the season.

Running Backs

The Bears have gotten some good production out of their running backs this year although they might have been able to do more at times. Jordan Howard has played well but has suffered from two problems. The first is that he has fought through some shoulder problems and has struggled to stay healthy consistent. Second, Howard has dropped some critical passes and needs to work on his pass-catching skills. He must improve in that area.

Tarik Cohen was great to start but hasn’t done a lot since the first four games. Teams figured him out and he has been taken out by double coverage. Benny Cunningham does ok in relief and Michael Burton has been blocking well. We might see more of Cunningham if he can stay healthy, as the season goes on.

Jordan Howard-4.1

Tarik Cohen-3.5

Benny Cunningham-3.0

Michael Burton-3.0

Taquan Mizell-0.0

Unit Grade-B+ Mix in Howard’s pass-catching woes and Cohen being a non-factor recently and this group drops down to a B+. They are close to being an “A” group though.

Wide Receivers

All I can say here is yikes! This group has been called the worst in the NFL by some experts and they aren’t doing the Bears’ quarterbacks any favors. They have no star power here, no one to stretch the defense or even a true number one receiver. They need help and they got some with Dontrelle Inman, but we don’t know what we have with him just yet. Everyone else is poor to mediocre and hasn’t helped the Bears’ cause.

There are rumblings that Kevin White could come back off injured reserve. How can he help? We aren’t sure because he hasn’t played but at this point, anything or anyone is better than the current crop of wide receivers the Bears have.

Let’s see what the Bears do.

Joshua Bellamy-2.0

Tanner Gentry-2.2

Dontrelle Inman-0.0

Tre McBride-2.7

Markus Wheaton-1.0

Kendall Wright-2.6

Unit Grade-D- This group needs some new blood. Let’s see what Inman can do.

Tight Ends

This group isn’t going to be the same without Zach Miller. Dion Sims needs to pick up where Miller left off and be the guy that they thought he would be when they signed him as a free agent. So far, he has shown flashes but hasn’t lived up his lofty payday.

He needs to step up now.

Adam Shaheen needs to step up as well. Shaheen, a second-round draft pick, is nowhere near where the Bears need him to be right now. He needs to grow up and get things right.

With the injury to Miller, guys like Brown and Braunecker, if they call him up from the practice squad, are going to have to help as well. This group needs to step in and help give Trubisky someone to throw the ball too.

Zach Miller-3.0

Dion Sims-2.6

Daniel Brown-2.0

Adam Shaheen-2.2

Unit Grade-C+ -When it comes to blocking, this group does a good job against the run. They need to become Trubisky’s pass-catching outlet and do more to help him out. Hopefully, they can do that in the second half of the season.

Offensive Tackles

The Bears signed Charles Leno, Jr., to a big brand-new contract but he has not lived up to that lofty contract’s status. He struggles at times but he’s the best of what the Bears have at the offensive tackle position. He won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. Bobby Massie has had his troubles but is all the Bears have at right tackle right now. Chicago must do something about that position during the offseason.

Bobby Massie-2.1

Charles Leno, Jr.-3.0

Tom Compton-2.3

Bradley Sowell-2.5

Unit Grade-C -There isn’t much to write home about with these guys. They have been average and will remain so.

Offensive Guards

Things have been a bit of a struggle for the guards this season. Both Kyle Long and Josh Sitton have been hurt and have missed time. The fill-in players, mostly tackles playing guard, have helped but they couldn’t be long-term solutions if needed.

Right now, Kyle Long has a hand injury and it’s not known whether he will miss any time. Josh Sitton is getting older by the game and may not be around after the season is over. There were even rumors that the Bears were taking trade offers for him before the trade deadline last week.

Still, they are the best the Bears have and hopefully they can step it up in the second half of the season.

Kyle Long-3.5

Josh Sitton-3.6

Unit Grade-B- -If it weren’t for all the injuries here this would be a better grade, but this unit has struggled with health. Hopefully, they can play the remaining eight games together.

Centers

I am torn with what I see in Cody Whitehair. How could he be so good last year as a rookie but struggle so much this season? The Bears may want to move the undersized Hroniss Grasu in at center and possibly keep Whitehair as a reserve and let him learn, again. Is that a viable option?

Maybe neither Whitehair or Grasu are any good.

One thing is for sure though; the Bears must do something to help improve the center position because it’s almost cost them this season.

Hroniss Grasu-2.6

Cody Whitehair-1.9

Unit Grade-D -Whitehair has regressed and Grasu has struggled to stay healthy. The Bears need some help here but it’s not coming this year. Let’s hope they can turn things around here.

The Chicago Bears versus the New Orleans Saints Game Notes

By Bryan Dietzler

The Chicago Bears, with a two-game winning streak, came into New Orleans to take on the Saints who had been having a good season through the first part of the year. The Bears were searching for the first three-game winning streak since 2013, and their fans hoped that they could keep their momentum going.

The Saints had a winning streak of their own going and were playing very well.

Could the Bears earn their third win in a row and keep their hopes of getting to the playoffs alive? Or would they lose big to one of the fastest teams in the NFL?

The Bears would neither do that good or that bad in Sunday’s game.

Perhaps you could call this game “meh”?

The defense, which had been one of the best units in the league over the last few weeks suffered some breakdowns while the offense did a little more than it has the previous two weeks. Chicago’s offense showed that there are some great things coming. But still, the lack of talent on that side of the ball is evident and there is a lot of help that’s needed to make the offense better.

That is their weak spot right now.

After watching and re-watching the game, this writer has come up with several key points that came out of the game relating to how it was played and some of the things that happened in it.

So, sit back and take a little time to re-discover some of the things that happened to see if there was anything that was missed or that warrants further discussion.

Zach Miller

Reports Monday morning stated that tight end Zach Miller had to have emergency surgery to repair the arteries in his knee after dislocating it on the no-call touchdown catch. Some of the reports even stated that they were trying to save his leg. We hope that Miller is ok and that he will be able to lead a normal life. I will keep an eye on this and have updates on Miller later.

Perhaps the biggest thing to happen in the game was the call made on Miller’s touchdown. He clearly caught the ball and came up with it and the explanation that was provided by the officials (which can be found all over the internet) doesn’t seem to make sense. But whether it was a catch or not won’t be debated here. What’s more important is Miller’s health.

Adrian Amos

The strip that safety Adrian Amos had (that he eventually recovered) was a key moment for the Bears. After suffering through several games without creating any turnovers, Amos has had two in three weeks. He is starting to look like the kind of player that the Bears need at the safety position.

Amos is tough, opportunistic and reliable. The Bears haven’t had that at the strong safety position in quite some time.

It’s just too bad that the Bears couldn’t capitalize on Amos’ turnover and turn it into some points.

Christian Jones

One of the unsung heroes of the Bears’ defense is linebacker Christian Jones. Jones has been bounced around the linebacker position going from the outside to the inside. He stepped in to play for Nick Kwiatkoski who was injured but has since been cleared to play. Kwiatkoski has not played, however.

Jones has been playing very well in Kwiatkoski’s place and may not allow the second-year linebacker to reclaim his starting role.

For now, Jones is playing very well, and you don’t want to upset what is happening there. Let Jones play and see what happens.

Wide Receivers or Lack Thereof

You can see that the lack of talent at the wide receiver position has hurt the offense. Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky has a lot of potential and with better wide receivers he could have had an even better season. But when your receivers lack the talent needed to do some great things catching the ball, you can’t have any kind of positive impact in the passing game.

The Bears’ receivers don’t have the knowledge or skills to get away from opposing cornerbacks, run crisp and clean routes or have the speed to be a threat to the defense. They are just mediocre and that’s why the Bears’ passing game doesn’t have the kind of potency that it should have.

Trubisky is a solid quarterback and will get better when the help around him gets better. Until then, he will not have the success he could have if he had the receivers he needs to be successful. The Bears won’t win many games until they get some better receivers so Trubisky and the offense will continue to be stuck in the mud.

Not So Special Teams

Special teams have been tough for the Bears this year. Their worst game was against the Ravens when they allowed two returns for touchdowns but there have been breakdowns in other points in games. The Bears should have also considered doing something about Connor Barth who seems to have an issue with consistency. The only two real bright spots the Bears have had on special teams this season have been with some of their return players and their punter.

If the coaching staff somehow gets retained this offseason, then head coach John Fox needs to consider getting rid of special teams coach Jeff Rodgers. Sure, he’s a colorful interview and will tell you most anything that you want to hear but much more is needed out of their special teams.

They need consistency and they need to have some additional stand-out performers.

They just aren’t getting any of that.

Rodgers needs to be let go and someone else needs to take his place. Chicago’s special teams must get better.

Penalties

Once again, the Bears had penalties at critical times on Sunday, but no penalty was more critical than the one against cornerback Kyle Fuller. I am sure you will remember that one well. Fuller lined up in the neutral zone on a field goal and the five-yard penalty gave the Saints a first down. They turned those three points into six.

There were other instances where penalties came at the wrong time including a holding an unsportsmanlike penalty call on Josh Sitton.

The Bears must clean up their penalties. They are costing them points and ultimately, games.

Injury Update

Aside from the injury to Miller, the Bears had a couple more injuries that there might be some concern about. Guard Kyle Long injured his hand and was on the sideline with a cast. Center Cody Whitehair sat down with an elbow injury. This hurt because Hroniss Grasu was on inactive with a hand injury.

Nickle back Bryce Callahan has a knee injury. The severity of it is not yet known.

We will look at the injury report a little later after it comes out. Remember, the Bears have a bye week, so they will have some time to rest and get healed up.

Jerrell Freeman Suspended

Speaking of resting, linebacker Jerrell Freeman is going to have some unpaid time off to go on top of the time he is spending on injured reserve. As this story was being written, it was reported that Freeman was suspended for PED use, again. This time for ten games. Remember that last year he was suspended four games for the same thing.

Freeman will start serving the suspension immediately.

The suspension may signal the end of Freeman in a Bears’ uniform. He has become unreliable. Even though he’s not active, he would still have to serve some of the suspension next season. It would be two games because he will serve eight games of it on injured reserve. Do the Bears want to keep a guy who can’t seem to learn his lesson?

Probably not.

Next Up

The Bears will be on bye next weekend so they will rest and recover. They will host the Green Bay Packers, at Soldier Field, on November 12th.

There will be a full preview of that game coming up on Bearsgab.

Please follow me on Twitter @bdietzler.

The Chicago Bears vs. The New Orleans Saints Game Injury Review

By Bryan Dietzler

The 3-4 Chicago Bears, what are coming off a 17-3 win against the Carolina Panthers, will travel to the Big Easy to take on the 4-2 New Orleans Saints this Sunday. The Saints beat the Bears’ division rival, the Green Bay Packers, 26-17 and are looking to continue their winning ways.

The Bears’ defense was solid last week, but the offense had its problems. They need to pick it up on offense and help the defense keep the game under control and not let it slip away. Luckily for the Bears, the defense dominated versus the Panthers, but it could be a much different story against the high-flying Saints’ offense Sunday.

The following is a detailed look at how the injury report looks for both teams. Who is hurt? How will these injuries affect the game? Let’s find out.

 

The Bears had 11 players listed on the injury report during the week. Those players that practiced fully or weren’t on the injury report on Friday include nickel back Bryce Callahan (Neck), guard Kyle Long (Ankle), wide receiver Dontrelle Inman (Non-injury), quarterback Mark Sanchez (Illness) and defensive tackle Mitch Unrein.

It looks like none of those guys are going to miss Sunday’s game, so we won’t concentrate on them that much.
We want to worry more about who won’t be there. Right now, it appears as if special team’s ace Sherrick McMannis will be out with an injury. This hurts the Bears because McMannis is a reliable special teams player who can make a difference. Hopefully, he will be healed up soon.

Linebacker John Timu will miss the game because of injuries to his knee and ankle. The Bears will rely on Christian Jones and Nick Kwiatkoski for depth but, because Timu was a backup up player, they will miss just his depth at the linebacker position. Let’s hope that they don’t need it.

Defensive end Roy Robertson-Harris hurt his hamstring last Sunday against the Carolina Panthers and it looks like he won’t be able to play. He has been a valuable special teams player and helps provide some depth at defensive end. His value there will be missed.

Wide receiver Markus Wheaton is the last player listed as doubtful on the Bears’ injury report. Wheaton has a torn groin and will not play on Sunday.

There are two players listed as questionable that might sit out the game on Sunday depending on the severity of their injuries. Center Hroniss Grasu is still nursing a hand injury and may be inactive for the game depending on where the team thinks he is with his hand. He is needed because Cody Whitehair is struggling at center, but would he be better than Whitehair?

Finally, Benny Cunningham has a hamstring injury and could sit out one more week depending on where he is at in the healing process. He was listed as questionable on Friday and was limited in practice each day last week. It might be advisable that the sit this Sunday and take a couple more weeks off (because the Bears have a bye week next week).

The New Orleans Saints have four players listed on the injury report. Three practiced fully on Friday including offensive tackle Terron Armstead and wide receiver Willie Snead and Michael Thomas.

All three should be available Sunday.

New Orleans has one player who will be out, and this might have an impact on the game, especially in being able to get to Drew Brees. Guard Larry Warford has an abdomen injury and will be out. The Bears could see some success getting to Brees because of this. Keep an eye on Akiem Hicks and Eddie Goldman getting past his replacement and getting to the quarterback.

Inactive Players for this Game for the Bears

WR Dontrelle Inman

LB John Timu

C Hroniss Grasu

DE Roy Robertson-Harris

WR Markus Wheaton

CB Sherrick McMannis

QB Mark Sanchez

Bears at Saints Wednesday Injury Report

CHICAGO BEARS at NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
CHICAGO BEARS
Practice Report
  DID NOT PARTICIPATE IN PRACTICE
Wednesday G Kyle Long (ankle), CB Sherrick McManis (hamstring), DE Roy Robertson-Harris (hamstring), LB John Timu (ankle, knee), WR Markus Wheaton (groin)
  LIMITED PARTICIPATION IN PRACTICE
Wednesday CB Bryce Callahan (neck), RB Benny Cunningham (hamstring), C Hroniss Grasu (hand), DE Mitch Unrein (quadricep)
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
Practice Report
  DID NOT PARTICIPATE IN PRACTICE
Wednesday T Terron Armstead (shoulder), WR Michael Thomas (knee), G Larry Warford (abdomen)
  FULL PARTICIPATION IN PRACTICE
Wednesday WR Willie Snead (hamstring)

A Look Ahead at the Chicago Bears versus the New Orleans Saints

By Bryan Dietzler

The Chicago Bears, fresh off a 17-3 victory over the Carolina Panthers will travel to New Orleans to take on the 4-2 New Orleans Saints this coming Sunday. The Saints are coming off a 26-17 win over the Green Bay Packers.  With the Bears on a winning streak, finally, and the Saints playing some great offense, this promises to be a strong matchup between two good units, the Bears’ defense and the Saints’ offense.

Before we look ahead at the game in detail, here are five key matchups that could affect the outcome.

Mitchell Trubisky vs. the Saint’s Pass Defense

The New Orleans Saints’ pass defense is ranked 21st in the league which isn’t too great, but they have had some success against the likes of Matthew Stafford and are an opportunistic defense. Mitchell Trubisky must be careful not to make mistakes against this defense.

However, the Bears don’t let him make too many mistakes thanks to the “handcuffs” they put on him.

Maybe they can take those “handcuffs” off for this game?

Fans would love that.

Chicago’s Cornerbacks vs. Drew Brees

New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees can tear up an NFL defense, so this will be a huge test for the Bears. Chicago uses a three-man rotation at cornerback with Prince Amukamara, Marcus Cooper, and Kyle Fuller. Fuller has had the hot hand lately and has done well against receivers. Amukamara has been solid while Cooper has been hurt.

They will face a tough test going up against the likes of Michael Thomas and Brandon Coleman.

To help their cornerbacks, Chicago needs to get the kind of pass pressure they got on Cam Newton going against Brees. We will look at this possibility later in the week.

Jordan Howard vs. the Saint’s Rush Defense

The Bears were a little slow with the rushing attack on Sunday against Carolina, but hopefully, they can get the ground game going again. New Orleans’ run defense is ranked 20th in the league. Chicago will need to take advantage of that and have their rushing attack to keep Brees and company off the field. If they let the Saints’ offense stay out there for too long and too often, the game will get out of hand. The Bears don’t have the offense to come back from a huge deficit, so they must keep it close.

Running Jordan Howard early and often will be a big key towards keeping this game close and possibly even giving the Bears their third win in a row.

Outside Pass Rushers vs. the Saints Offensive Tackles

We will look into this later this week, but the Saints have allowed just five sacks so far, this season. That’s impressive. On the other hand, the Bears are starting to become a team that gets good pass pressure, and they are doing it with linebackers and defensive linemen. They have had a lot of success getting to the quarterback over the last three weeks.

But they will face two tough offensive tackles Sunday. The Saints have rookie right tackle Ryan Ramczyk and left tackle Terron Armstead. Can the speed of Leonard Floyd and the power of Pernell McPhee work against Ramczyk and Armstead? Will Danny Trevathan be able to get some pressure on the quarterback?

It will have to be all-hands-on-deck for the Bears to get to Brees and take some pressure off their secondary.

Connor Barth vs. Wil Lutz

Kickers don’t go up against one another but if this game should come down to a field goal, which team has the better kicker? Can the Bears count on the shaky Connor Barth to deliver? Orr can Wil Lutz, kicking in his home stadium, come through in the clutch?

Most people’s money would be on Lutz.

Let’s hope, as Bears’ fans, it doesn’t come down to a field goal Sunday.

There will be more on this game later in the week.

Follow me on Twitter @bdietzler.

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