At one point in the 4th quarter the Chicago Bears only trailed the St. Louis Rams by six points, 27-21. Somehow the Bears were hanging around a game in which they were sorely outplayed. I suppose it was fitting that the Rams scored 15 unanswered points to close out the game, as it made the final score a better indication of the butt-kicking the Bears endured.
Offensively the Bears were trying their best to keep up, but their defense was practically nonexistent. They couldn't stop the run, they couldn't tackle, they had issues in coverage, the pass rush wasn't a factor, and they lacked discipline all afternoon.
Lack of discipline wasn't all on the defense, as the team as a whole racked up 10 more penalties against the Rams, making that 23 in the last two weeks. The Bears had three touchdowns taken off the board because of penalties, and even though they pushed through with points on two of those, having a score taken away is a momentum killing disappointment.
A lot was made of the Bears not committing that many penalties earlier this season, but the yearly totals have caught up with them, and they are starting to become an issue. The Bears have 75 penalties on the year, to only 47 from their opponents, and the penalty yardage differential is -135 on the year. Part of this is young players and their natural growing pains, but the Bears also have veterans getting caught trying to do too much.
Since we're already talking about some of the bad, I'll just keep it rolling into the Bears defense, which was bad.
The Bears lost to a team quarterbacked by this guy.
Let that sink in a bit.
All kidding aside, Kellen Clemens is a journeyman quarterback that is barely over 50% completion on his career. Yesterday he completed 10 of 22 passes, but that was plenty enough to win, because the Bears allowed the Rams nearly nine yards per rushing attempt. I had an old coach that would have called that 'complete and utter horse(bleeep)'.
Chicago rookie linebacker Khaseem Greene led the Bears with six tackles, and he logged his most playing time of his young career by playing 40 defensive snaps (71%). Fellow rookie Jon Bostic played all but one snap, and he had five tackles. Rounding out the linebackers, James Anderson had a sack, a tackle for loss, a QB hit, and 3 total tackles, while playing all 56 snaps.
One thing the stats don't show is how easily manipulated they were in the run game. Misdirections, cutbacks, and counters were the bane of the Bears linebackers all day. I could live with the growing pains of the rookies, but Anderson should know better. In a defense that is predicated on staying in your assigned gap, the Bears linebackers failed all afternoon.
The Bears defensive line had an equal say in their failings to stop the run. Defensive end Shea McClellin either couldn't set the edge or he crashed down too far. One tackle from him in 44 plays (79%) is bad. Also registering a single tackle was Julius Peppers, who also had a QB hit in his 45 plays. One week after having one of his better days as a Bear, the Rams paid a little more attention to Peppers, and made him a non-factor.
DE David Bass picked up a sack in his 16 plays, and starting defensive tackle Corey Wootton added 2 tackles in his 46 plays.
Finishing off the D-Line, starting nose tackle Landon Cohen played 29 snaps, DT Christian Tupuo had 27, Cheta Ozougwu played 17, and Tracy Robertson logged 1 snap. Between the four of them, they didn't notch a single stat other than the snap count. Bad.
The Bears defensive line was outmuscled and outmaneuvered all day. They couldn't stay in their assigned gaps because they were forcibly moved out, or because they over-penetrated. Bad.
St. Louis tailbacks Benny Cunningham and Zak Stacy rushed for 196 yards on just 25 carries (7.8 ypc) with 2 touchdowns.
The Chicago secondary had three players play all 56 snaps, corner Tim Jennings and the safety tandem of Major Wright and Chris Conte. I have one word to describe that tandem, and it can be found above this paragraph. Offenses are scheming their tight ends outside near the red zone to get Conte matched up one on one, and Conte isn't winning that battle.
Zack Bowman missed a snap, and nickel Isaiah Frey played 15 snaps. Besides the one defensive snap in place of Bostic, linebacker Blake Costanzo logged the most playing time on special teams with 23.
Things were a bit brighter over on the offensive side of the ball.
The Bears had more 1st downs, 30-20, they won the time of possession, 36-24, they were 6 of 10 of 3rd downs, and they out-gained the Rams 424-406.
Josh McCown knocked Jim Miller from the Chicago record books when he completed 36 of 47 passes. He also threw his first interception of the season, and added a couple touchdowns to go along with his 352 yards. Only he and the five offensive linemen played all 79 snaps for the Bears.
Tight end Martellus Bennett (73), and wide outs Brandon Marshall (71) and Alshon Jeffery (70) played the next most snaps. Martellus caught 4 for 62 and a TD, while Marshall was targeted a team high 12 times. He had 10 receptions for 117 yards and a TD.
Third wide out Earl Bennett had his best game of the season, catching the ball all eight times he was targeted for 58 yards on 45 snaps (57%). Backup TE Dante Rosario had 18 snaps, as did "blocking TE" Eben Britton. Rookie WR Marquess Wilson chipped in with 3 offensive plays.
The starting backfield of fullback Tony Fiammetta and Matt Forte had 17 and 64 snaps respectively. Between them they had 25 touches for 140 yards. Yes, Forte was the workhorse with 23-117 himself. I would really like to see Fiammetta receive a few more touches per game. The FB has always been a viable part of the west coast offense, and Fiammetta has shown good quickness with the ball in his hands.
Michael Bush saw action on 16 plays and he had seven carries for -5 yards. He also had a pass that he could have come back for, and he'll most likely be looking for a new home next offseason. As a 6'1" 250 pound running back, it's unacceptable to be dancing. See hole, hit hole. If there's no hole, hit whatever's in front of you.
The best thing for Bush will probably be a fresh start, and the Bears could better spend the money they allocated for him the next two years.
On a side note, I just don't get the fascination of personally attacking someone via twitter. Bush was lambasted by "Bears fans" after the game for his poor play.
What were some of the numbers that stood out to you?