By Bryan Dietzler
The Chicago Bears, hoping to earn their second victory of the season over division rival Green Bay, headed to Lambeau Field hoping for a near miracle.
But remember, just last year on Thanksgiving, they had defeated the Packers in the last few moments of the game. Would last year repeat itself Thursday night?
History was not going to repeat itself on this night as the Bears, who started out strong and kept the game close, eventually fell apart and went down to the Packers 26-10. The game was filled with disappointment for the Bears, key injuries and it left them with many more questions than answers.
The game was relatively close for the first two and a half quarters as the Packers earned the first points of the game on a 32 yard Mason Crosby field goal in the first quarter. The Bears would tie it up in the second quarter following a 39 yard Connor Barth field goal.
Green Bay would pull ahead by three as the quarter came to a close as Crosby booted a 40 yard field goal. The score was 6-3 heading into halftime.
Chicago would go ahead for a short period thanks to a sack fumble by outside linebacker Leonard Floyd. Floyd sacked Packer quarterback Aaron Rodgers in the end zone and stripped the ball landing on it for a touchdown. That put the Bears up 10-6.
Chicago’s lead wouldn’t last long, however, and soon Rodgers and the Packers offense were on fire. Green Bay made it 13 to 10 following a five yard touchdown pass from Rodgers to Davante Adams. This, coming in the third quarter.
Green Bay would put two more touchdowns on the board in the fourth quarter. Adams caught another pass from Rodgers, this one four yards. Randall Cobb would snag a two yard Rodgers touchdown pass (the kick failed) to ice the game. Final score 26-10.
The Bears started Brian Hoyer at quarterback for this game and he started out poorly. His night, and quite possibly his season, was soon ended after he was hit and broke his arm. There is no timetable on his return. The Bears will most likely bring Cutler back from his injury (thumb) much sooner now or sign someone with more experience to start until he comes back. Matt Barkley didn’t do a great job on Thursday night but he wasn’t really expected to.
Chicago’s rushing attack was anemic minus a few medium length runs that kept fans excited, at least for a little while. Jordan Howard and Ka’Deem Carey got all of the work and Carey seemed to have the hot hand in this one but the Bears couldn’t seem to get much of anything going on the ground. It appears that the coaching staff is ready to roll with the running game at the start, then moves away from it as the game goes on despite the fact they are in the lead or close. Strange.
The Bear’s wide receivers had a poor game but that was due to the issues at quarterback. With Hoyer out and Barkley throwing the ball, guys like Alshon Jeffery and Cameron Meredith didn’t see that much come their way. The team’s leading receiver, tight end, Zach Miller, didn’t see that much in the way of passes either. It was a down game for this group.
The offensive line was without starter Josh Sitton so he didn’t get to seek his revenge against his former team. No storyline there. The line played poorly most of the time. However, my favorite punching bag Bobby Massie had some good plays. Aside from Cody Whitehair, he might have been the best one out there. There was some injury trouble however as, on the same play that Hoyer was injured, Kyle Long went out with an arm injury. He didn’t play the rest of the game. It’s not known how long Sitton will be out yet and there isn’t much of an idea about what is going to happen with Long. Stay tuned here.
The defense had a great first two and a half quarters and then broke down like they have been lately. They had Rodgers pegged and even though he was throwing the ball a lot, he wasn’t doing much damage. You have to give them credit for holding the score down so low for so long. Green Bay found the secret to breaking the Bears defense though, and soon the mini rout was on. The defense can find itself for two plus quarters but seems to collapse in third to mid-fourth.
Chicago’s defensive line played well and got pressure at times but didn’t put enough pressure on the elusive Rodgers. He burned the Bears on several occasions escaping potential sacks all game long. Rodgers is a notoriously shifty quarterback who has the unusual ability to get around defenders and win. The defensive line couldn’t do much against him Thursday night.
The best group on the team, the linebackers, had a pretty decent night. The star of the game for this group, or any other group for that matter was Floyd. He had two sacks including the one where he stripped Rodgers of the football and landed on it for a touchdown. Floyd missed some time with an injury (the last couple of games) but was back and living up to the hype he was given when he was drafted. The Bears may have found a real gem with him. The rest of the guys, Willie Young, Danny Trevethan, Jerrell Freeman and Sam Acho did very well. This is not the problem area on defense.
The secondary continued to struggle against the passing game and had a pretty tough go of it Thursday evening. There were several defensive pass interference and holding calls. Adrian Amos, one of the more solid players in the group, had a big interference call go against him. Da’Vante Bausby had a pretty horrible game all together. This group is really suffering despite the fact it has good depth. Things just don’t seem to be going right for anyone in the secondary and this unit is only aiding this team in losing games.
Special teams were good enough to help keep the Bears in business early on. An interesting fact, punter Pat O’Donnell is not having that strong of a season. And it showed. Kicker Connor Barth didn’t miss a kick which was nice. Return teams were ok as were coverage teams. There aren’t too many issues with this group.
The coaching staff was very consistent, once again, in not rushing the football as often as they should have in such a close game. This time they needed to run the ball more their starting quarterback hurt but they didn’t. There is not much explanation as to what is going on with offensive coordinator Dowell Loggins. He has called one good real game this year (the Lions game) and been mediocre in other games calling an offense that can move the ball but can’t score. The defense is also suffering but there is a lack of execution and not a lack of coaching talent there.
Overall, the Bears had a pretty decent defensive effort for two and a half quarters but the offense couldn’t keep up. Granted, a lot of the issues there were due to the fact that Hoyer went out of the game with a broken arm but the defense could have played better to help keep it close. The running game would have been a good idea to push more after the injury to Hoyer. That didn’t happen. It was another myriad of issues for the Bears.
It has been a season full of problems.
The Chicago Bears will host the Minnesota Vikings next Monday at Soldier Field. The Vikings are one of the NFL’s hottest teams and will be a tough opponent. Can the Bears beat them? We will find out next week when a full preview of the game will be posted.