By Bryan Dietzler
The Chicago Bears, reeling after several consecutive losses, injuries and problems on both sides of the ball, traveled to Cincinnati to take on the Cincinnati Bengals in a game that appeared to be evenly matched. The Bears came out with a win and a convincing one at that. Here are a few notes from the game before we get into previewing the Bears’ visit to Detroit on Saturday.
I am not going to say much about this because I don’t want to sound like a broken record. The Bears won that game despite the mistakes they made. They had several penalties, ten total for 74 yards and these penalties could have done them in had the Bengals not been so inept. Thank goodness the Bears were able to escape with the win.
Once again, the coaching staff should be to blame for the lack of discipline and the number of penalties the Bears had on Sunday.
I may have touched on Kyle Fuller more than any other player in my reviews of games this season be it good or bad. Kyle Fuller has had an up and down season, but it’s been up for the most part. He showed again, Sunday, why he was the Bears’ first-round draft pick a few years ago. He had three pass breakups and shut down receivers.
This begs the question, do the Bears re-sign him in the offseason or do they let him walk? His up and down play dictate that the Bears may not bring him back. However, they should take a long look at him and see if they want to let him work in the same rotation that they have going right now. This is dependent on if they choose to bring Prince Amukamara back as well. We will find out what they want to do in March.
There were three noticeable injuries in this game. Bryce Callahan appeared to be hurt and left the field momentarily. He did come back in and play. Late in the game, Danny Trevathan went down and looked like he was in some pain and didn’t play the rest of way. He was walking around well on the sidelines, however.
Finally, tight end Adam Shaheen hurt his chest when he came down with the ball in the end zone on his touchdown catch. We will monitor the injury reports and make sure that he is ok for their game against Detroit Saturday.
Bengals Game Final Thoughts
Overall, that was a good strong game that the Bears played on Sunday. One thing that you should have noticed was how the young guys stepped in and played well. From Mitchell Trubisky, to Tarik Cohen to Shaheen, the young guys showed what they were worth and proved that this team is headed in the right direction. They just need some additional pieces around them, some experience and perhaps a new coaching staff that will be able to develop these players into even better talent in the future.
Chicago Bears versus the Detroit Lions Game Preview
This will be the second meeting between these two teams this season. The Lions won the first one 27-24. Detroit comes into this game with a record of 7-6 and is still in the hunt for a playoff spot. The Bears have nothing to play for other than pride, but the development of their younger players should be at the forefront heading into the offseason. Maybe they can build upon what we saw last week and use this game to use as a stepping stone to bigger and better things.
Chicago’s Offense versus Detroit’s Defense
The Bears passing game finally got going against the Bengals and they proved that they could pass the ball effectively. Trubisky did a lot of great things last Sunday and hopefully, he will continue to grow. The Bears are going to need their passing game going strong to keep up with the passing attack of the Detroit Lions. Detroit can move the ball down the field quickly through the air and score in a flash. Chicago is going to need to equal their effort and can do it if they can get their passing game going.
Chicago’s passing attack is averaging just 167.2 yards per game which is dead last in the NFL. Now last week they did get something going some maybe they will continue to build on that. We can only hope. Detroit is allowing teams to pass for an average of 240 yards per game which ranks them as the 27th ranked passing defense in NFL. There is some room for the Bears to throw the ball but can they do it?
Let’s hope they can.
The Bears are going to want to get their running game going as it’s been the biggest thing that has helped them earn victories in three of the four games that they have won. Right now, their rushing yardage per game stands at 124.5 which is seventh in the NFL. The Lions are ranked 20th allowing 116.3 yards per game. So, the Bears should be able to run the ball on Detroit. If they can do that while controlling the ball and the clock, they will have an excellent chance of winning.
Solid ball control and the ability to keep up with Detroit’s somewhat explosive offense will be what gets the Bears a win on Saturday. Let’s see if they can build upon what they were able to do against the Bengals and get another win, this time, over a division rival.
Cincinnati Offense versus Chicago’s Defense
The Bears had a better defensive effort last Sunday holding the Bengals to just seven points. They did well against both the run and the pass this despite having so many injured players out on defense. Will they be able to repeat the effort this Saturday against Detroit? It will be hard to tell because the Lions have a much better offense than the Bengals do.
Can Chicago shut them down?
Lions’ quarterback Matthew Stafford and the Detroit offense are averaging 268.2 yards per game passing the ball which is 4th in the league. That’s a strong passing offense. Chicago’s pass defense is allowing teams to throw for an average of 216.6 which is ranked 9th in the NFL. The Bears can do well against the pass but cannot let the Lions beat them through the air. It’s going to be tough because Matthew Stafford is a very good quarterback and the Lions’ passing game is good.
But Chicago can shut them down.
Detroit is not a strong running team by any means. In fact, they are averaging just 76.3 yards per game and are dead last in league rushing the football. That bodes well for the Bears who are 14th in the league in rush defense allowing 108.9 yards per game. If the Bears can make Detroit one dimensional then concentrate on shutting down their passing game, they just might win.
In fact, this might end up being the Bears’ second victory in a row. It’s going to be difficult because Detroit will want this game badly because it is necessary for their playoff lives but don’t expect the Bears just to lie down and let Detroit win.
The Bears will put up a good fight and may just take the victory.
Here are the injury reports for both the Bears and the Lions as of Thursday.
Adrian Amos-S-After missing some time with a hamstring injury, Amos was back practicing on a limited basis and is questionable. Hopefully, he will be ready for Saturday.
Pernell McPhee-OLB-McPhee’s shoulder kept him out of last week’s game and he was limited to start the week but practiced in full Thursday. The Bears could use what pass rush he can provide should he be able to play.
Eddie Goldman-NT-Goldman’s hip injury kept him out of Chicago’s game with Cincinnati last weekend. He did practice in a limited fashion and is questionable for Saturday’s game.
Adam Shaheen-TE-Shaheen as a chest injury and was limited. Look for him to play on Saturday even though he is questionable.
Kendall Wright-WR-Wright has a shoulder issue that kept him limited until Thursday. Hopefully, he can play Saturday and give the Bears another option in the passing game.
DeAndre Houston-Carson-S-Houston-Carson’s ankle kept him limited in practice on Wednesday and is questionable. Look for him to be a game-time decision on Saturday.
Here are the players that the Lions list as being injured on their injury report:
Rick Wagner-OT-Ankle-Out for Saturday
Travis Swanson-C-Concussion-Out for Saturday
Ameer Abdullah-RB-Neck-Practiced in Full
T.J. Jones-WR-Non-Injury-Full practice.
Ezekiel Ansah-DE-Ankle-He is questionable for Saturday
Matthew Stafford-QB-Hand-He will play on Saturday.
Emmett Cleary-OT-Ankle-Cleary practiced in full and is questionable for Saturday.
Corey Robinson-OT-Foot-Robinson practiced in full on Thursday.
T.J. Lang-G-Foot-Lang was limited in practice and is questionable for Saturday.
Nevin Lawson-Illness-Lawson practiced in full at the end of this week.
Jamal Agnew-CB-Knee-Practiced in full on Thursday.
Taylor Decker-OT-Shoulder-Practiced in full on Thursday