Ryan Bukowiecki is a student at the Illinois Media School and a contributor to The D & Davis Show
That was a rough one folks.
The Chicago Bears fell to the New Orleans Saints by a score of 20 to 12 Sunday afternoon. The score does not tell the whole story of the game, the Bears had chances throughout it as well as missed opportunities to decide it late. It was a game they should have won.
Week to week we have seen Chicago’s defense improve and the lack of offense for the Bears has created the identity of a team built around said defense. The Bears dealt with a rash of new injuries in this game, mainly on the offensive side of the ball and their effects were noticeable.
It seems like the required bye week has come at a really great time but the now 3-5 Bears could have said the same thing with the taste of victory in their mouths instead of bitter defeat.
Starting with a Saints touchdown on the opening possession, the game took on an ominous tone for the Bears as crucial and recently unforeseen mistakes on defense led to NO getting ahead — if only Bryce Callahan would have made a tackle and Kyle Fuller hadn’t lined up offsides on a field goal attempt.
From there the defense looked pretty good aside from a mess up by Eddie Jackson as he misplayed a deep ball that should have been picked off.
Outside of the missed Jackson play, the defense held the Saints to just 13 points after the opening drive. The Saints had been averaging nearly 30 points a game. Sunday’s effort also stood as a rare Saints game that didn’t see a touchdown thrown by future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees.
On top of that the Bears created takeaways and have continued their recent streak of taking the ball away. The defensive line was also disruptive in sacking Brees twice when Brees had only been sacked five times in 2017 prior to the game. Ultimately the defense did its job in giving the Bears a chance to win and overall had a good performance.
The offense wasn’t as hot as the defense. First off, the Bears were robbed by the officials of a late TD to Zach Miller (please send your thoughts and prayers to Miller after his dislocating his knee on the play). It was clearly a touchdown and some idiot from New York messed up on it badly (so much for replays).
The Bears struggled to score touchdowns in this game and had other chances to score but either a penalty or poor play calling or inaccuracies from Trubisky costed them. Also the team dealt with injuries to Cody Whitehair and Kyle Long, the heart of the team’s O-line, neither returned to the game after their injuries. Because of the losses the O-line suffered, the ground game suffered even more and its lack of push did in the Bears’ chances of controlling the ball in a winning fashion. If not for a 50 yard run by Howard, the overall stats would look terribly in the Saints’ favor instead of just solidly.
The other problem for the Bears was the lack of accuracy from Mitch Trubisky as he missed a bunch of throws that would have been big plays. Play calling has to be mentioned as an issue, Sunday may have been offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains’ worst called game of the season.
Late in the game, Loggains had a third and one after the two minute warning. For some reason he did not call a run play and there was plenty of time to still run the ball. The lack of creativity throughout the game and head scratching decisions as mentioned was a shame to see. Hard to tell right now if Loggains has improved at all as an offensive coordinator, which is a little troubling.
It seemed that no one on the Bears had a clean day from the coaches down to the players’ execution at the most important times of the game.
This team continues to play hard and overall have been better through eight weeks than anyone expected, here is what to take away from the Bears’ loss to the Saints.
The Defense Is Good (Really Good)
Before Sunday’s game, fans were waiting to see the test of an explosive offense in the Saints take on the dominating Bears defense. This is the day for the defense: Saints had 101 rushing yards and 286 passing yards, a total of 20 points, no passing TDs and 2 giveaways.
The Bears gave up more yards than they would have liked but held the Saints to just 2 of 9 on third down conversions. When the offense was sputtering and gave very little help, the defense kept working and fighting. This won’t go down as an epic performance or anything of the sort but coming into the season most people wondered if the Bears would show any marked improvement on defense.
Vic Fangio has just been a terrific coach for this team as defensive coordinator and has done an excellent job of getting his guys to buy in and believe. Right now this Bears defense has a swagger about them that hasn’t been seen in quiet a while around here. As of now, the Bears seem like a top 10 defense, maybe even top five.
Trubisky Has a Lot Of Work To Do
Once again this week Trubisky displayed the growing pains of a rookie quarterback, for some reason he was very inaccurate with his throws in the pocket and missed Adam Shaheen for a touchdown and Tarik Cohen for a big play later in the game. On top of that, Trubisky took a sack on third down, forcing a longer field goal than Connor Barth was able to make.
The sack may not have changed the outcome but Trubisky erred in taking a sack there. All of those issues are teachable moments and even the game-clinching interception at the end of the game classifies as such.
It’s clear that Trubisky is still not comfortable throwing in the pocket and was slow on some of his decision making, he has still shown poise though, as well as a willingness not to turn the ball over randomly, which is good.
Trubisky’s first professional bye week should be big for his development. The Bears and Trubisky can breakdown all of his tape and work on getting him even more comfortable in the system. One thing that the Bears desperately need to figure out during the bye is a way to establish a reliable passing game for the season’s 2nd half.
Injuries have taken toll
Zach Miller will no longer be of service to the Bears this season and we’ll see about injuries to Kyle Long and Cody Whitehair. Either way, the losses from the receivers to the O-line to the pass rush and inside linebacker have really hurt the Bears since the season’s opening days. It certainly hurt them against the Saints as the offense struggled without its top interior lineman and top receiving target.
Clearly the Bears need to beef up the roster in the offseason, but the concerning thing is the injuries this season. Yet again the Bears have been losing guys left and right at key positions.
The injuries are something the team has tried to address and luck definitely plays a factor. Hopefully the Bears get healthy over the break and can stay healthy for most of the second half. It would just suck to lose a guy like Trubisky or Howard or Floyd or anyone on the D-line. It would suck because injuries hurt development, guys need to play in order to get better.
Injuries also hurt chemistry, like we saw with the O-line, which deteriorated over the course of Sunday’s game. The Bears have to continue to try and come up with ways to get guys to stay healthier — here’s to hoping (and knocking on wood).
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