A few weeks ago, there were high expectations for the 2016 Chicago Bears. John Fox was entering his second season with the team, and Ryan Pace had done a good job at shoring up several critical positions on both sides of the football.
However, one thing no one was talking about was the lack of depth at nearly every position on the roster. The team had solid starters across the board, but not much depth anywhere. And it only took two weeks for that to be exposed, as the injuries started mounting during their game against the Philadelphia Eagles.
On Sunday night, for the second week in a row of prime time football in front of a national audience, that lack of depth caused the Chicago Bears to be embarrassed.
BUT WAIT LET'S START WITH THE GOOD PARTS
- Connor Barth made a field goal, was 2/2 on PAT's, and executed a surprise onside kick to perfections.
- Jordan Howard ran the ball very well, hitting the hole quickly and running with aggression.
- Despite 8 sacks of Jay Cutler in the first two games, Brian Hoyer wasn't sacked at all until he tripped over Bobby Massie in the 4th quarter. That probably doesn't count as a sack though.
- Kevin White finally made a play!
- Nick Kwiatkoski did this:
La'el Collins is a beast, but Nick Kwiatkoski just wrecked him https://t.co/DI8d2GQVPj— The Cauldron (ICYMI) (@CauldronICYMI) September 26, 2016
OKAY NOW EVERYTHING ELSE
The Dallas Cowboys had their way with the Bears on Sunday night, running the football at will, and making Dak Prescott look like The Next Big Thing in Dallas. The Bears defense couldn't stop Prescott or running back Ezekiel Elliott, who both chewed up yards and scored points nearly every chance they had.
On the flip side, the Bears offense, led by Brian Hoyer, looked like an offense led by Brian Hoyer. He didn't play bad, but it was very clear his limitations as a starting NFL quarterback. He couldn't stretch the field and take advantage of having Alshon Jeffery and Kevin White split out wide, and found his only success connecting with tight end Zach Miller on short, underneath routes.
- Jeremy Langford was carted off the field with an ankle injury. He did not return.
- Harold Jones-Quartey was knocked out of the game with a concussion.
THE COACHING IS NOT VERY GOOD
The team doesn't seem to be coached very well in any phase at this point, struggling with penalties and execution in all three phases of the game. Yes, Connor Barth successfully kicked a surprise onside kick, but even that was overturned due to a penalty. That was the second special teams penalty of the night, as we saw others on offense and defense as well.
John Fox had an opportunity at the end of the 2nd quarter to call a couple timeouts that would have given them the ball back with about 1:30 left on the clock, but he didn't call them. As a result, the Bears got the ball back with about 35-40 seconds, and ran out of time before the half despite moving the football into Dallas territory.
Fox also made the decision in the 4th quarter to not kick an onside kick after the Zach Miller touchdown that brought them back within 14 points. This was with only about 6 minutes left, in a game where the defense hadn't been stopping anything.
Dowell Loggains, for the second week in a row, ran a very vanilla offense, free from any creative play-calling that we saw from Adam Gase last year. He was promoted to offensive coordinator after Gase's exit primarily because he would be running the same system, and for his development of Jay Cutler, but at this point he hasn't shown anything in the first three weeks that have made the Bears offense competitive.
And we know defensive coordinator Vic Fangio is trying to play the hand he has been dealt, but for two weeks in a row, his defense got carved up by rookie quarterbacks who had virtually no NFL experience before playing Chicago.
IT'S TIME TO COMPARE THE PACE-FOX REGIME TO EMERY-TRESTMAN
I'm not going to say this is Marc Trestman era bad, but strictly looking at the wins and losses, it's starting to look that way.
Up next, the Bears have the Detroit Lions at Soldier Field. Luckily, that one won't be on national television.