By Bryan Dietzler
The Chicago Bears earned their second win in a row with a crazy overtime victory over the Baltimore Ravens this Sunday. The following is some insight into the game and a few observations from it. Also included are some updates from the start of the week.
Giving it Away
I have been a Bears fan for 34 years and have never seen so many chances to seal a victory lost as I did on Sunday. The inability to close out the game and win is a direct reflection on the coaching staff and not the players. The coaching staff puts the players in the positions they are in, and they did not do a good job of putting the Bears into positions to win Sunday.
A perfect example of this is the punt return for a touchdown the Ravens had against the Bears. Ronde Barber talked about this on the broadcast, and I am not sure if everyone caught it. The punter, Pat O’Donnell, did not kick the ball out of bounds against a punt block formation. Instead, he kicked it to the return specialist who took it up one sideline and had smooth sailing all the way to the end zone. With their gunners in closer, there was no one out on the edges to get the punt returner.
The Ravens planned that perfectly and the Bears fell for it.
I can go into further detail why this didn’t work out well for the Bears if you want me to. Just send me a message.
Penalties can also be a reflection of the coaching staff’s influence on players and I have brought this up before. The penalty issues that the Bears have been struggling with stem directly from how this team is coached.
Perhaps it’s time for a new coaching staff?
Adrian Amos has been with the Bears for three years and has played in 37 games and he has started a majority of those games. Amos lost his starting job this year but got it back when Quintin Demps was sent to injured reserve with a broken forearm. Up until Sunday, Amos didn’t have a single interception in the three seasons with Bears.
He was often criticized for his lack of turnovers and not being opportunistic. And sure, it’s just one game but Amos has a lot of promise. If he can continue to produce turnovers as well as keep providing big hits (have you ever seen how good of a hitter he is?) he could easily keep his starting job. He may even get a second contract with the Bears. Yes, it’s too early to predict what will happen with him after just one very good game but he should stick with the Bears for a while.
He might even get a second contract.
The Bears had success getting turnovers Sunday but also turned the ball over themselves and they have done it often. The Bears have a -8 turnover ratio right now and that’s serious. The turnovers that their offense have had have led directly to all of their losses of course. Just think of the Minnesota game where they probably could have won had they not turned the ball over twice especially at the end with that interception.
Chicago needs to tighten things up with the turnovers. They need to hold onto the ball and not make poor decisions. They need to teach quarterback Mitchell Trubisky how to protect the ball better when he goes back to pass. The Bears also need to ratchet up their pass protection more to help provide Trubisky with some comfort and the knowledge that when he drops back to pass, he isn’t going to get strip sacked.
Maybe he needs to hold onto the ball better?
If the Bears can get their turnovers under control, they can and will win more games. These mistakes are killing the Bears and we would be talking about a lot better team if they didn’t have them.
Did anyone else notice that Eddie Goldman had a big game? After spending some time injured off and on during his first two seasons in the NFL, Eddie Goldman had a small resurgence against the Ravens on Sunday. Goldman registered six total tackles in the game against Baltimore giving him 16 for the year. Six solo tackles for a nose tackle is great.
He played like a man possessed and made a lot of important plays.
We will hope that Goldman can continue his stellar play and play like this throughout the remaining games this season. But, the most important thing is that he remains healthy. Goldman has had a hard time doing that since coming to Bears. At least for now, it looks like he’s well on his way to having a solid season. If he can play like he did on Sunday in every game, he could be a guaranteed Pro Bowl.
Let’s hope he can do that.
What more can you say about Kyle Fuller? He had a game that was worthy of some “player of the week honor” if they had an honor for the kind of performance he put up. He was often targeted by quarterback Joe Flacco and beat back the attempts to pick on him. Fuller ended up with five tackles and one assist but more importantly, he had three passes defended.
He wasn’t letting anyone catch anything near him on Sunday.
With Fuller’s contract up this March, he might have just earned himself a second contract with the Bears. Perhaps a one-year prove it deal that might get him into something bigger in 2019. If for some reason, the Bears let him walk, he should be able to find a home with another team.
But after his performance so far this season, let’s hope the Bears don’t let him walk.
The following players are listed on the injury report for the Bears heading into this week:
Hroniss Grasu-Grasu was inactive on Sunday with a hand injury. The biggest question with him is, is he a better center than Cody Whitehair? The Bears may need him to play there as soon as he can.
Nick Kwiatkoski-The inside linebacker was inactive for the game Sunday due to a pectoral issue. Hopefully, he will be able to make it back this week.
Markus Wheaton-Wheaton is going to be out a while longer with a groin tear. It wouldn’t be shocking if he ended up on injured reserve.
John Timu, Mark Sanchez, John Jenkins and Taquan Mizzell were inactive on Sunday.
Also on the injury report is running back Benny Cunningham with a hamstring injury. He was limited in practice. Tanner Gentry was limited with a hip injury and Sherrick McMannis did not practice due to a hamstring injury.
Finally, I wanted to end this post with one of the most positive things or players rather, for the Bears this season. What more can you say about Tarik Cohen? Cohen has been a bright spot for the Bears all season long despite some problems returning punts. He did have the one fumble Sunday, which hurt but his touchdown pass was a work of art and an indication of things to come.
There were a lot of skeptics when the Bears drafted the tiny running back in the 2017 NFL Draft, including this writer. Cohen’s YouTube videos soon followed showing his athleticism but in the NFL you don’t need to catch two footballs doing a backflip. You need to catch one ball with a defender bearing down on you. And Cohen proved that he can do that. He’s been impressive and should help this team win games for seasons to come.
Follow me on Twitter @bdietzler.