Sport fans are reactionary by nature. After the two-game win streak, fans suddenly felt a little bit better about a team that had started 0-2 and been left for dead.
Now, after back-to-back ugly losses to division rivals, both in which the team held the lead late, fans may be feeling that this season is over once again.
An 0-5 NFC record and 0-3 inside the division are a death sentence to even the most remote Wild Card hopes. This season was never about the playoffs though, those were never the realistic expectations. It is about growth and development and simply turning around and improving from the abyss of the 2013-2014 regime.
That we've seen. After the opening three weeks of big losses the team has won by two, won by one and lost by three twice. Last season these might very well have been games that were over at halftime.
Now isn't the time for silver linings, especially to fans frustrated and angry to keep seeing a team bumble and choke away leads in the late stages of games.
So let's get to it then:
The secondary is bad, but the pass rush is anemic. Outside of Pernell McPhee, who notched another sack yesterday, there is no other consistent threat to get after opposing QBs. No doubt edge rusher is going to be a priority for the Bears this offseason, but it cannot come soon enough. Everyone agrees that the acquisition of McPhee has been a fantastic move, but it will be a waste if he's out there doing everything himself. His full stat line yesterday was one sack, one tackle for loss, one QB hit and three tackles. Only Christian Jones registered both a TFL and a QB hit.
That secondary though... Teddy Bridgewater had 81 passing yards before the final two drives. He ended the game with 187. Those 106 passing yards came on eight plays with only two incompletions. Granted, Bridgewater missed earlier in the game on a couple of deep shots and had a couple passes dropped, but for the most part there wasn't much egregiously wrong with the secondary until crunch time. Tracy Porter had a couple bad plays, Kyle Fuller, although he had a pick, he also had some bad plays and Sherrick McManis, man if he sees the field again I don't even know. He's just terrible.
Adam Gase can make adjustments - There was an overwhelmingly negative feeling about the playcalling in the first half. There were a lot of bubble screens and quick passes and none of it was working too well. Jay Cutler finished the half 10/13 for 72 yards; 5.5 yards per attempt. In the second half he was 12/20 for 139 yards, a much more robust 6.95 YPA. Gase and Co. saw that their makeshift offensive line was holding pretty well for all the shifting pieces and opened it up more. Before the final drive of the half, Alshon Jeffery had two catches for nine yards. On that final drive alone he had two catches for 34 yards. In the second half, when the Bears went downfield more he exploded for six catches and 73 yards. Gase and the coaching staff made the correct adjustments and found ways to exploit their best offensive weapons, it's what good coaches do.
Bears missed Forte - Rookie Jeremy Langford was put into a tough spot and he actually filled in somewhat admirably for Matt Forte after the latter left the game with a knee injury. While Forte had a nice 4.1 YPC going, Langford could manage only 3.8. On the final Bears drive, facing third and five, Langford dropped the sure-fire first down pass when it hit him right in the hands. It was one of those "you have to think Forte catches that" moments you hate to see when a player is out, but Forte has 468 career receptions that say he likely could've hauled it in.
All that being said though, I do think Langford has a bright future.
Special teams continues its poor run - Sometimes I'm surprised to think about the sheer amount of cronyism that goes on in professional football. Coaches bring in their buddies or their children and not often the guy who is really the best for the job. What on earth has Jeff Rodgers shown to this point that he is a capable special teams coach at the NFL level? The punt return yesterday was atrocious and Marc Mariani had two muffed punts that by sheer luck weren't recovered by the Vikings. The Dave Toub era spoiled Bears fans and the Joe DeCamillis era was bad as well but there has been zero improvement under Jeff Rodgers and it seems to me that Rodgers has better players to work with.
What were your big takeaways from yesterday's game? Is there any hope left that you see or any positive takeaways?