Chicago Bears Week 10 Report Card
Chicago Bears Week 10 Report Card
If this game was a Super Bowl XLVII preview, then let’s hope and pray that things will be much livelier come early February. This past Sunday night, the Houston Texans outlasted the Chicago Bears by the score of 13-6 on a rainy night at Soldier Field.
Neither the Texans (8-1) nor the Bears (7-2) put on a spectacular offensive show for the nationally televised audience. Only one touchdown was scored throughout the entire game, and both teams combined for six turnovers. Unfortunately, for Chicago, the lone touchdown didn’t belong to them, and four of the six turnovers did.
This game was the toughest challenge the Bears have faced since Week 2. Offensively, Chicago is still struggling to find their identity, while on the other side of the ball they are constantly proving that they are one of the best defensive units in the league.
In order for the Bears to be a total threat throughout the rest of the season, their offense has to match the level of play of their defense. This definitely wasn’t the case in Sunday night’s loss. The Bears held Houston to just 95 yards passing, and with the exception of one drive, contained the Texans’ running game.
Chicago’s offense never got their running game going, and once again didn’t have balance in their play calling. The aerial attack was a nonfactor due to not getting more than one receiver involved in the game plan.
The Bears are not off to a good start at the beginning of the second half of the season. The grades that they’ve earned for Week 10 say it all.
As usual, quarterback Jay Cutler started the game off shaky by throwing two interceptions in the first half. Cutler only completed half of his 14 pass attempts for 40 yards before leaving the game with a concussion. Backup quarterback Jason Campbell didn’t fair too well either. Even though Campbell completed 11 of his 19 passes in the second half, he only amassed 94 yards and couldn’t get the offense in the end zone. Campbell is considered an upgrade for the Bears as a backup, but didn’t show it in this game. If Cutler is unable to play next week, then Campbell will have to step up his game.
For the third straight game, Chicago’s star running back Matt Forte had fewer than 20 carries in a game. On the 16 times that he was handed the ball, Forte gained only 39 yards. I can’t blame him for not getting more opportunities to tote the rock. I’ll save that rant for the coaching section. However, Forte did get two receptions in the passing game, but for negative yardage. Despite racking up 34 yards on three carries, Chicago’s backup running back didn’t help the Bears’ chances of winning with his first-quarter fumble after gaining 11 yards on a critical fourth-and-one.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
It’s redundant, but Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall was the only standout not only within the receiving corps, but also on the entire offense. For the fifth time this season, Marshall had over 100 yards receiving, and is close to 1,000 yards receiving on the year. His numbers would have been much better had he not dropped a touchdown pass. Marshall’s eight receptions almost matched the number of catches by the rest of Chicago’s receivers, who combined for 10. Tight End Kellen Davis got the offense started on the wrong foot by losing a fumble on the first offensive drive of the game for Chicago.
Chicago’s offensive line didn’t allow a sack all game (the wet field might have played a factor in that). Even though the offensive front protected Cutler and Campbell, they couldn’t get off the ball and get the ground attack going. A total of 73 yards in a game that had conditions where the running game was highly needed is unacceptable. Maybe if the o-line opened holes more effectively, the Bears’ coaching staff might have been persuaded to run the ball more. Regardless of the lack of production in the running game, Chicago was in position to win late in the game, but costly penalties by the offensive line killed Chicago’s chances.
The defensive line kept their streak of games with at least one sack going, and put enough pressure on Houston’s quarterback to make him have a sub-par game. Just like the Texans’ defensive line, Chicago’s front four were probably slowed by the wet and mucky Soldier Field turf. For the most part, the Bears’ defensive front held Houston’s offensive line in check, even with their rookie defensive end leaving the game in the first quarter with a concussion. Chicago’s defensive line did everything that they could to keep the Bears within reach of a victory against the AFC’s best team.
Just like their defensive line, the Bears’ linebackers put in a valiant effort to stop the Texans’ offensive attack. As great of an effort Chicago’s linebacking corps displayed, there were some blemishes in their performance. In the second quarter, the Bears couldn’t stop the Texans’ running attack, which led to the game’s only touchdown. For the second game in a row, the Bears allowed a 100-yard rusher. In addition, Chicago’s linebackers missed some tackles, one in particular that lead to Houston gaining a few extra yards that made it a bit easier for their 42-yard field goal attempt in the fourth quarter.
Soon-to-be Pro Bowl cornerback Tim Jennings did everything he could to set the tone for the Bears in the first half by adding two more picks to his now league-leading eight interceptions. Chicago’s secondary did a great job of containing Houston’s five-time Pro Bowl receiver to just 35 yards on four catches. In addition, the Bears’ defensive backs helped keep the Texans’ quarterback under 100 yards passing for the night. Houston not having their starting tight end allowed the Bears’ safeties to concentrate more on helping out with the run. Combined, all of Chicago’s defensive backs had 19 tackles that supported Chicago’s rigid defense.
Chicago’s return game wasn’t a factor due to Houston’s decision to kick away from the Bears’ return ace Devin Hester, whose best return was an a punt for 24 yards. Kicker Robbie Gould made his 10th consecutive field goal of at least 50 yards in the first quarter. Gould added a 24-yarder in the third quarter, cutting the Texans’ lead to four points. However, Gould’s 48-yard field goal attempt in the fourth quarter hit the left upright, deflating the chances of a comeback for the Bears. Chicago’s punting unit did pin Houston inside their 20-yard line twice.
Defensively, the Bears’ coaching staff did everything that they could to put the defense in position to keep the team in the game. On the other side of the ball, I’m still baffled that the running game hasn’t been given more attention. In a game such as this one, when it’s raining and throwing the ball is much more difficult, one would think that running the ball would be first priority. Houston was playing in the same conditions, and ran the ball 33 times. Chicago only called 19 running plays all night, and threw the ball 33 times. Matt Forte is one of the best running backs in the league. Chicago paid him the big bucks, now it’s time for the Bears’ coaching staff to give him a chance to start earning it.