FRUSTRATION. That word kept being applied to the Bears defensive players today, whenever they committed a bone-head penalty. However, the word just as easily could have been used to describe what it was like to see drive after Eagles drive, stall due to spotty play selection in the red zone.
To be honest, this game wasn’t nearly as close as the score, and should have been a blowout before half-time. While it’s impossible to ignore the issues that will be magnified over the next month, or the time being we have a couple days to appreciate being over .500 for at least a week.
Let’s enjoy it for a bit.
The one-two punch of RB Jordan Howard (19 – 82 – 4.3 – 1 – 0) and RB Miles Sanders (10 – 42 – 4.2 – 0 – 0 / 3 – 31 – 10.3 – 0) was once again the engine that drove this team. While QB Carson Wentz (26/39 – 66.6% – 239 – 1 – 0) did have a nice day playing catch with TE Zach Ertz (9 – 103 – 11.4 – 1), he’s going to remain handcuffed until we get genuine #1 WR on this team.
New addition DE Genard Avery (1 – 0.5 – 0 – 0) came in and made his presence known. The coming Bye week gives him a chance to study, and get a better grasp of the scheme, before anyone gets much tape of him in it. Could be interesting. DE Brandon Graham (2 – 1 – 0 – 0) continues to find his way to the QB. He was aided today by a lot of early press coverage on the edges. The entire rush was aided by it actually.
Seemed like this would be a game that we could get a couple of turnovers in, but we didn’t force one all game. You know the word “comforting”? Yeah, this the opposite of that.
I hear you asking, “What about all the stuff that stats don’t reveal?” Well, that’s the reason for these “Four Things” articles. We introduce an idea of what needs addressing BEFORE the game, so that fans have to honestly answer questions about those things, AFTER the game. This helps to get us, and keep us, all on the same page.
So, of the Four Things we were looking for in this last game, what exactly did we see?
1) Make OLB Mack a liability: We didn’t really do this. They flip-flopped DE Khalil Mack (4 – 0 – 0 – 0) to try and get him some good looks, but he spent this game largely being negated. That in itself is a great thing since most of his match-ups were one-on-one. What sucks is that we didn’t punish him for being good at something. We didn’t capitalize on him. While what we did was still great, we didn’t do the thing written, so… (NOT DONE)
2) Steal their crutches: We spent an entire game doing this successfully. It wasn’t until we gave them another option, that they gained the slightest bit of life. (DONE)
3) Mix it up: We did a really good job of this in the first half. The second half, not so much. That first drive was awesome, until our interior Offensive line caved, and allowed Wentz to be sacked by NT Eddie Goldman (2 – 1 – 0 – 0). Later we would also give up one to DT Nick Williams (2 – 1 – 0 – 0). Then again, I just said in this year’s second Quarterly Review, that our interior has issues with pass pro. No one else is talking about that though. (DONE)
4) Toss them an anchor: Instead of tossing the Bears an anchor, we gave them a Zero Coverage look, which allowed even their QB, to hit a receiver for a 53 yard gain, which set up a very short TD. Prior to that, it was 19 – 0 and the Bears were reeling. Had they turned the ball over or allowed another score of any kind, the team would have folded like origami. We have got to find a player to inspire some form of emotional killer instinct. (NOT DONE)
So for this week, heading into our Bye, we break even at 2 of 4 things in Four Things. That brings us to a mark of 17 of 36 (.472) for the year.
I don’t set these tasks at higher than basic, and I tailor them to each opponent. So these grades are fair. They are by their very design, timely, unbiased, and stark. Despite having a 5- 4 record, a sub .500 Four Thing score, indicates that we aren’t doing basic things, and thus are a fundamentally bad team.
As things stand today, we do not deserve a playoff appearance. Here’s hoping that we get this turned around.
On The Whole:
For a second week in a row, we leaned on Jordan Howard and walked off with the ‘W’. We played some press coverage, and saw our Defensive Line cash in for 2.5 sacks.
Carson Wentz ignored the voice of Guy Fawkes, and targeted Zach Ertz 11 times. Ertz made plays when his number was called. No WR came close to his production.
Speaking of which, the WR issue has gotten terrifying. Alshon hasn’t looked right since he came back from injury. Frankly, given how much attention he sees, with no other WR threat to cover, I’m amazed that he’s produced much at all. But that’s a discussion for another day. Like tomorrow. The article is already written.