By Bryan Dietzler
The Chicago Bears had high hopes heading into their Monday night game against the Philadelphia Eagles. They had thought that their game against the Texans the previous week was a fluke, at least the second half was, and felt that they could overcome the problems that plagued them. The Eagles were high coming off a win heading into the game but they had beaten the lowly Cleveland Browns so that might have watered down their previous victory, at least somewhat. The Bears stated all week they had made adjustments and were ready for the Eagles. Was this to be their first victory of the season?
But Chicago only showed short flashes of continuity and solidity on the evening as they lost to the Eagles, at home 29-14. The Bears were in control for a short period of time during the game but the Eagles started to get a better handle on what he Bears were doing and, as they have done in the past, Chicago started to break down in certain key areas and not too much longer after the breakdowns happened what was a close game turned into a mini rout.
A lot of fans, as well as some in the media, are laying the blame for the loss on quarterback Jay Cutler. He had the lost fumble and an interception which gave way to something that has happened several times in previous years, exited the game with an injury. Before the injury, Cutler looked a little shaky and out of sync at times but he was struggling with pressure from a decent Eagles defensive line and receivers that were actually covered pretty well.
The running game was not helping Cutler and the rest of the offense out Monday night. The Bears switched up between three backs (Ka’deem Carey, Jeremy Langford and Jordan Howard). Carey exited early with a hamstring injury, Langford had the Bears lone touchdown but didn’t run well in the first half and Howard shined and may need to be used more. The Eagles did clamp down on the Bears rushing attack very well and made it a long night for the Bears offense overall.
A decent amount of blame has fallen on Cutler for the loss but anyone who watched the game should be able to see that the Bear’s offensive line is not playing well and had a direct contribution to some of the difficulty, if not most of it, on offense Monday night. Bobby Massie looks very out of place at right tackle and got beat several times. Josh Sitton, although a solid player in the past, may still be getting used to playing in a new system. Cody Whitehair is decent but still not quite ready to be an NFL starting center. Remember that this line was “slapped” together just a few days before the start of the season and hasn’t had a chance to bond and be a “unit”. Maybe in time it will but for now this is not a high caliber NFL offensive line.
The defense did its best to keep the team in the game but the offense didn’t give them too much of a chance to rest and recover before they had to be out there again, gassed and attempting to make plays on little rest. What also happened to the defense on Monday night was that, methodically one by one, their starters started to fall like dominos until key starters were out and the defense started giving up bigger plays as a result.
The pass rush was hot and cold on the evening but they faced a quarterback who, although he is a rookie, is a very good quarterback. The Bears had some strange substitutions on the night and the most peculiar one was subbing Leonard Floyd, who was brought in to be a pass rusher in the draft (first round even!) with Lamar Houston (at least until he got hurt) in passing situations. Granted, Floyd has shown himself to be a good run defender but why put him on the sideline in known passing situations? He did get some pressure on a few passing plays and may have been underestimated by some.
The defense kept the Eagles rushing attack from gaining a lot of momentum but they couldn’t stop the passing game. The front line cleaned up the trash along the line and allowed the linebackers to get in and make the play but some of the linebackers weren’t having their best games. Jerrell Freeman played very well, Sam Acho had some good moments but Danny Trevethan did not play well and got hurt. The linebackers have a lot of potential but just aren’t living up to it.
The secondary didn’t have starter Kyle Fuller in as he was a last minute scratch. Tracy Porter was decent but the rest of the group was shaky and, as the game went on, started to be taken apart by injury. There was a nice moment out of rookie Deiondre Hall (in deflecting a sure touchdown pass) but then he had some downside (slapping an Eagle after the play was over to draw a penalty). Hall is good but he’s not that good just yet. The safeties were ravaged by injuries but the backups are decent but they can’t start and be effective for long periods of time.
There were two MVPs of the game for the Bears. Punt returner/wide receiver Eddie Royal had a nice game receiving and then returned a punt for a touchdown. He played well in running his routes, run blocking and, when healthy, can be a solid number two receiving option. The other MVP is punter Pat O’Donnell. O’Donnell is a workhorse game in and game out and has helped out the defense by providing opponents with less than stellar field positon.
A common theme in this game review is injury. Several players were injured on Monday night. Here is an update on where each of them stand as of the time of this writing:
Cutler-Thumb-Reports now say the thumb was injured in week one. There is no timetable yet and it is not known if surgery is needed but it’s possible he could be out for a while.
Houston-Knee-He hurt his knee early in the game and is out for the season with a torn ACL.
Trevethan-Thumb-He will need surgery for the injury and no timetable has been set for how long he will be out if he will be out.
Bryce Callahan-Concussion-In the NFL’s concussion protocol.
Adrian Amos-Concussion-In the NFL’s concussion protocol.
Carey-Hamstring-Not much is known about how long, or if, he will be out.
Chris Prosinski-Calf-Not much is known about how long or if he will be out.
Eddie Goldman-High ankle sprain-Goldman will be out for four weeks with the injury.
After this MASH unit of a game the Bears have a lot of regrouping to do. They will be without several key players for an extended period of time so it’s a next man up mentality in Chicago. They have good depth at certain spots but not well developed in others. We are going to see just how good of a general manager Ryan Pace is over the next few weeks.
The Bears will play the Dallas Cowboys next Sunday night. A full preview of that game will be posted at the end of the week.