By Bryan Dietzler
The Chicago Bears lost another frustrating game against the Detroit Lions last Saturday giving them another double-digit losing season. Here are a few notes from the Detroit game before we head into a preview of the Bears upcoming game against the Cleveland Browns.
Here is my broken record discussion for the week. Penalties, again, killed the Bears in this game. They collected a total of 13 penalties for 97 yards and could not get anything positive done because of the penalties they had. Once again, this goes back to coaching. Poor coaching means more penalties. The Bears coaching staff is not doing its job and all of these penalties are costing the Bears victories.
Should the Bears’ hire a new coaching staff, hopefully, they will be able to get this right and this will not allow them to make so many mistakes.
The Bears had a few injuries on the day. Josh Sitton hurt his ankle in the game and spent the rest of it in the locker room. Safety Chris Prosinksi went out early with a concussion and didn’t return. Pernell McPhee played a little bit but spent most of the game on the sideline. It appears he re-aggravated his shoulder. The Bears also lost Tom Compton for most of the game with a concussion. He may be out for Chicago’s next game against Cleveland.
Depending on where you are looking, you might see a lot of people already giving up on first-year quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. In some groups I was looking at on Sunday, there were people saying that he was just like former quarterback Jay Cutler. Those people need to remember that Trubisky is still young and has hardly had any time in the NFL. He’s got a lot of growing to do and will get a chance to do that. He just needs the right coaching staff and the proper players around him to get things done correctly and have a positive impact.
That will happen soon.
In summary, the Bears’ effort against the Lions was a futile showcase of what a football team does on the field. The play calling was bad, the play on the field itself was terrible and the team lacked discipline. Chicago cannot seem to keep from shooting themselves in the foot in almost every game. Penalties, missed assignments and poor play have affected them in every single loss they have suffered. And it would appear that there are going to be some major changes potentially setting the Bears back even further in 2018.
By some miracle, perhaps they could turn it around and win quite a few games next season but it’s likely they won’t. Let’s just hope that it doesn’t take them to long to get back to respectability.
Chicago Bears versus the Cleveland Browns Game Preview
The Chicago Bears, with a record of 4-10, will host the winless Cleveland Browns on Christmas Eve. Bears fans all across the country are crossing their fingers in hopes that the Bears don’t become the first team that the Cleveland Browns get a victory against this season. Wouldn’t it be tough to say that your favorite team fell to the winless Cleveland Browns?
Let’s find out if that’s going to be a possibility on Sunday.
Chicago’s Passing Offense versus Cleveland’s Passing Defense
Trubisky seemed to take a step back last week against the Lions but hopefully, that was his worst game of the season and he does better in the final two. We will be hoping that he picks it up and gets back to respectability against the Browns. Chicago’s passing offense is not spectacular by any means. They are ranked 31st in the NFL passing for just 177.1 yards per game. That is up a little bit thanks to Trubisky’ s performance against Detroit but it’s still very weak.
The Cleveland Browns are giving up 235.6 yards through their air per game which is ranked 21st in the NFL. There is a little bit of room for the Bears to throw against Cleveland but knowing how the Bears passing game goes, it’s going to be difficult. The Bears need a carbon copy of what they did against the Bengals with a little bit of the numbers that were put up against Detroit (without the interceptions). Then, maybe we can feel confident that Chicago’s passing game is going to keep the Browns at bay.
We can only hope.
Chicago’s Rushing Offense versus Cleveland’s Rushing Defense
The Bears were not willing to run the football last week as their effort there was futile. Their normally strong rushing attack didn’t get going and the Bears lose games when they can’t run the football. Rushing the ball is their bread and butter. The Bears are ranked 11th in the NFL averaging 118.6 yards per game. They have the dual threat of Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen available to run the ball and they are a pretty potent combination. Well, when they get going that is.
The Browns are allowing teams to rush for an average of just 96.1 yards per game which is 7th in the league. You wouldn’t think that a team that is winless would do so well against the run but they do. If the numbers hold true and the Browns are tough against the run plus the Bears’ can’t run the ball, Chicago may have a problem winning this game.
Let’s hope that the Bears’ can get going on the ground and take some pressure off their ailing passing attack. If Chicago cannot do that they might lose this game.
Chicago’s Passing Defense versus Cleveland’s Passing Offense
The Browns’ passing offense is gaining an average of 198.4 yards per game which gives them the league’s 26th ranked passing offense. Cleveland hasn’t found stability at the quarterback position but things have gotten a little better with wide receiver Josh Gordon back and DeShone Kizer getting a little better. But they still have a long ways to go.
Chicago’s 10th ranked passing defense is allowing 215.6 yards per game through the air. That’s not bad and the Bears haven’t had that many games where teams have beat them soundly through the air. However, that’s still not a great ranking to have and it’s a little deceptive.
One thing that has caused some struggles for the Bears in recent weeks is a lack of pass pressure. They lost Leonard Floyd to an injury and Pernell McPhee is on injured reserve, so Chicago isn’t getting the kind of pass pressure that they used to. They are getting some from Lamarr Houston and Akiem Hicks but not nearly as much as they used to get when everyone was healthy.
The Bears are going to need to get as much pressure on the Browns as they can. If Kizer can get the ball out, he does have talented receivers that can do something with it. Chicago needs to shut down Cleveland’s passing game.
Chicago’s Rush Defense versus Cleveland’s Rushing Offense
The Chicago Bears’ rush defense is ranked 11th in the NFL allowing 107.6 yards per game. The Bears have had some games were they gashed by the run while in others they have completely shut it down. Last week, the Lions, the worst rushing team in the league, gashed the Bears a bit rushing the football. Chicago seems to play down to their competition as well and Detroit and their rushing attack gave us a perfect example of that.
Cleveland’s rushing attack is averaging 109.7 yards per game which is ranked 17th in the league. The Browns can run and have had some success doing so. Chicago needs to focus on stopping the run and forcing the Browns to pass. Perhaps then they can get pressure on the quarterback or force him to make mistakes allowing them to steal a possession or two. Chicago just needs to catch some breaks, play strong defense and get a win Sunday.
Some people are concerned that the Bears may fall to the winless Browns and that is a very real possibility. Cleveland has played some teams tough this year. Chicago cannot play down to their level. The Bears are the better team, maybe not necessarily the most talented team as Cleveland has a lot of talent, even more than some of the better teams in the league. They just haven’t been able to put it together. This cannot be the game that the Bears fall apart completely and allow a winless team to beat them. The media and fans of the team would be very upset.
Even ownership would be upset as well but that would be a good thing.
Hopefully, Trubisky will be able to get some additional development in this game. One thing that this team cannot afford is to see him get hurt. It’s late in the season and an ACL tear or an injury that needs major surgery could keep him out to start next season. Granted, his development cannot be hindered but his safety is the key to the future of this franchise. So he must play but the Bears need to protect him at all costs.
We may start to get to see some of the younger players in this game. Guys like Tarik Cohen may have a larger role. We may see some young defenders like Deiondre Hall and Deon Bush see some time. Jonathan Anderson just called up from the practice squad and should see some time on the field this Sunday. General Manager Ryan Pace is going to want to get a look at some of the younger and lesser-known talents on the team to see what they have.
Expect to see some guys that you don’t normally see in the lineup on Sunday.