The Bears offense was quite stagnant on Sunday going up against the Denver Broncos. After the previous week in which they hung 37 points on the Rams the Bears were only able to muster 15 points this Sunday. Granted, they were going against one of the better defenses in the league but this defense had given up quite a few points in the previous two weeks and were ripe for the picking. They had injuries that were either hobbling or had taken out some of their better players and the Bears had all the momentum heading into this game. Couple that with the fact that Denver had lost two games and Bears head coach John Fox was playing his old team so he knew them and should have known a few tricks.
The Bears offense could not get going against the strong Broncos defense in their game on Sunday and this was evident with several issues they had during the game. They were not effective in the red zone, a problem that they had all season and were scoring field goals instead of touchdowns. Their running game couldn’t get going and they couldn’t control the ball and the clock as a result. The passing game was less than stellar as, even though they could complete passes and move the ball through the air between the 20’s, they couldn’t get the ball into the end zone. When the game was winding down they finally punched the ball in on a running play but couldn’t get a two point conversion to tie the game. The offense was just ineffective.
So what can the Bears do to spark their offense and get it going in the next few games? Granted, some of the problems that they have had have been consistent issues throughout the season but they are learning and growing so perhaps they can overcome these issues yet this season. But what issues do they have to overcome and what can they do to overcome them.
The red zone has been a place of many problems for the Bears this season. They have had a lot of success getting there but they just can’t seem to get into the end zone and instead settle for field goals or come away with no points. The play calling (done by Adam Gase) has to be better in the red zone as the Bears need to walk away with touchdowns instead of missed opportunities and field goals in that part of the field. If they can score more points in that area they should have no problems winning games.
Health has been another factor for the Bears and their inability to play well on offense. Wide receiver Alshon Jeffery has missed a significant amount of time this season and the Bears offense has been hurting without him. He is a big bodied speed gifted wide receiver that can stretch the field and gives the Bears options over the top of defenders. Jeffery is an excellent receiver and someone who draws double teams that leave others open to catch passes. Without him in the lineup the Bears have suffered. When he has been in the lineup he has gained a ton of yards (except for the Rams game) and has helped the Bears move the ball down the field effectively.
Running back Matt Forte has been also been out with an injury for three games and not having him in the lineup may have hurt the Bears a little. His replacement, Jeremy Langford, shined in the first two games after Forte was out but struggled in the Bears loss against the Broncos. Many question if Forte would have been able to put up a better effort against Denver had he been in the game. Getting Forte back will help the offense out a lot and if they use a combination of Forte and Langford the one two punch might be just enough to crack a team’s defense and gain a lot of yards.
The play calling, as mentioned, has left a little something to be desired and has been poor at critical points in the game. The best example of poor play calling came when the Bears tried and failed to get the two point conversion in the Denver game. Now we aren’t sure if that was Gase’s original call or something that quarterback Jay Cutler called at the line of scrimmage but either way the play was a bad one for the defense that the Broncos gave them on that play. The Bears could have called a better play in that instance but failed to do so and that has happened several times in other situations this season. Gase is a master with offense but his play calling leaves a little something to be desired.
Cutler has been very good for the most part through several games this season but took a bit of a tumble in the game against the Broncos throwing two interceptions and struggling to complete passes down the field. Cutler has improved a lot this season and has done well for the most part but struggles when he doesn’t have a solid supporting cast around him (like when he is missing Jeffery). Cutler has to step it up and play better in the Bears next few games if he wants to give this team any shot of making the playoffs. He can be better and needs to be better in the upcoming games or the Bears aren’t going to win too many of these next few contests.
So what can right the ship for the Bears on offense? Well better play calling is one thing that will do it. Gase needs to come up with and call better plays in certain situations in the game and get the Bears either down the field or into the end zone. Health is also a big factor in the Bear’s offense improving and if they can get their key players back and healthy again then they will be that much better. And of course better execution on the field would be a plus. If the Bears can improve upon these things and get better on offense then they will win more games.
There is an interesting test coming up for the Bears this Thursday night against their division rival the Packers. The Bears offense had a somewhat decent game against them in their first game and the offense has, for the most part, improved since that game. It looks like Chicago will have Forte back so that will give them a boost in the running game and they might have a rested Jeffery back and that will help out a lot in the passing game. If Gase can call the right plays and if the Packer’s defense isn’t too tough the Bears will have an excellent shot of at least competing with the Packers on offense. If they play another game like they did against the Broncos its going to be a long night for Chicago.