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Bears vs. Packers: Notes from an ugly loss

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The Bears fall to 3-6 after an easily winnable game.

NFL: Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears
Mitch Trubisky reached a career high in passing yards, but it wasn’t enough to give the Bears the victory.
Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Bears fell to 3-6 on the year on Sunday, losing to the Green Bay Packers in a 23-16 nailbiter.

There were seemingly infinite opportunities for the Bears to run away with the game, but a handful of factors prevented them from coming out on top. Here are a few of my observations from this week’s game.

  • The Bears start the game off with...a run. Big surprise there. They went for a pass on second down and moved the chains, but they followed that up with...another run. Both of them resulted in a loss of yards for Jordan Howard.
  • Kyle Fuller could’ve easily wrapped up Randall Cobb, but he took a poor angle and Cobb made him pay for it. What should’ve been a short gain instead ended up being a gain of 38 yards.
  • Tackling was an issue in the opening drive for the Bears. Besides the aforementioned Fuller, there were a handful of plays where Green Bay gained more yards than they should have.
  • Fuller had a pass breakup on the play before his missed tackle, but he also dropped an easy interception on the first drive. Not a great start for him.
  • Dowell Loggains made a fantastic call on the first play of the Bears’ second drive. Mitch Trubisky faked the handoff, rolled out and hit Adam Shaheen on a flat route. The rookie tight end had a lot of space and took advantage of it, gaining 31 yards.
  • The play utilized Trubisky’s athleticism, Shaheen’s athleticism, and it was a nice breath of fresh air from the usual run on first down.
  • Connor Barth, who is still on the team, for some reason, actually made a field goal from more than 40 yards? In the rain? And he made THREE of them? It might be time for a drug test. Seriously, though, it is encouraging to see the veteran come out of the bye week looking good. Although he isn’t the long-term answer for the team at kicker, the Bears need him for this season. If he can turn things around, then who knows?
  • Chicago’s offense had four penalties in just the first quarter. When you’re playing at home coming off of a bye, week that’s just a result of poor discipline. With the lack of talent the Bears have in the way of offensive weapons, they can’t afford to be losing yards on stupid penalties like that.
  • Speaking of stupid penalties, let’s discuss that pass interference call against Prince Amukamara. Sure, he got beat in coverage and held onto Jordy Nelson a bit. But that pass was definitely uncatchable. I’m personally not sure why that got called. It set the Packers up in a perfect position to score.
  • Aaron Jones left the game early with a knee injury, but Ty Montgomery filled in for him pretty well. The wide receiver-turned-running back burst through the gap for a 37-yard touchdown in the second quarter. Amukamara filled the wrong hole, and by the time he realized that, Montgomery was already in the open field with nobody near him. Once he went down, Jamaal Williams had an impressive game of his own.
  • Dontrelle Inman had a solid first game with the Bears. Although his first target was incomplete (and arguably should have been called for PI), his first catch was an impressive 26-yard gain. The Bears took advantage of Green Bay’s Cover 2 scheme and hit Inman on the outside.
  • He led the team in receptions and receiving yards with six for 88 yards, respectively. He was lethal on slants, and his hands were steady and fluid - mostly. He’s easily the most talented wide receiver on this team.
  • The Bears challenged Benny Cunningham’s 23-yard gain to see if it was a touchdown or not. Instead, the referees determined that he fumbled the ball, and the play was called a touchback. It was a horrible challenge by John Fox. Cunningham was clearly out of bounds, and the challenge costing the Bears a chance to score a touchdown, and it gave Green Bay another possession. Just brutal.
  • Cre’Von LeBlanc ended up with an impressive sack on a blitz off the edge. He has proven to be one of the best blitzing cornerbacks in the NFL, but he didn’t rack up his first career sack until now. With Bryce Callahan out, LeBlanc has done a solid job stepping in for him at nickel back.
  • Speaking of sacks, Nick Kwiatkoski had a sack of his own late in the second quarter. He was left completely untouched by Green Bay’s offensive line, and by the time Brett Hundley saw him closing in, it was too late.
  • John Fox’s time management on that last drive was just terrible. They didn’t run anything resembling a hurry-up offense at any point. He waited far too long to call his timeouts, as well. Sure, the Bears ended up with a field goal, but with better coaching, they would’ve had a better chance of putting six on the board.
  • After the first half, the Bears had as much of a passing attack going as they’ve had with Trubisky under center. The rookie went 12-for-19 and had 160 yards. Chicago ran the ball 13 times for 44 yards, with Jordan Howard having 11 of those carries for 43 yards. In the first half alone, Trubisky threw the ball to seven different receivers. The only real downside to Chicago’s offense in the first half was their blocking. Their offensive line allowed three sacks, and their line and the tight ends ended the half with seven combined penalties for a total loss of 73 yards. One of those penalties was a dumb mistake by Hroniss Grasu, when the entire offensive line moved before he even snapped the ball. Sure, his status as a starter wasn’t confirmed until right before the game, but he should have known better.
  • Chicago’s defense, surprisingly, wasn’t super effective in the first half. They held Brett Hundley to 86 yards, but they disappointed in the run game. Ty Montgomery ran for 54 yards on just six carries, including the aforementioned 37-yard touchdown run. Aaron Jones added 12 yards on three carries before he was carted off the field. For a defense that had ranked in the top half of run defenses statistically heading into the game, it wasn’t a great first half for them by any means.
  • The Bears held the Packers to a field goal on the opening drive of the third quarter, ensuring that the game still be a one-possession game. What does Chicago’s offense do to take advantage of that? They run twice in a row on their opening drive and get sacked on third down. That run-run-pass sequence has happened too many times this year for defenses not to catch on to it. Considering that the Bears’ offensive line had been performing poorly at that point, it was a dumb move not only to put more pressure on the rookie quarterback, but to expect their front lines to protect him.
  • Leonard Floyd and Sam Acho teamed up for a sack off the edge in the third quarter. Floyd had Justin McCray beat off the edge, while Acho penetrated the backfield completely unblocked. This sack marked 4.5 sacks on the year for Floyd, as well as Acho’s first of the season.
  • I’ve ragged on the Bears’ offensive line quite a bit in this article, but Trubisky’s fifth sack was all on the rookie. He had Inman and Bellamy wide open - especially Bellamy - for a moderate gain. Instead, he held on to the ball far too long and got brought down by Nick Perry for Perry’s third (!!) sack of the game.
  • The Bears ended up with ZERO offensive yards in the third quarter. None. That’s simply unacceptable for a team with a possibility of winning the game.
  • Mitch Trubisky delivered a beautiful 45-yard bomb to Josh Bellamy early in the fourth quarter. Bellamy gained separation on a deep route and Trubisky placed it perfectly.
  • The touchdown came at the perfect time, too, as it brought the game back to a one-possession game with a lot of time left in the fourth quarter.
  • The middle of the field was completely wide open for a lot of the game. Green Bay took advantage of that, as they ran up the middle often and efficiently. They also called a handful of short passes, using all that space to gain some yards. Brett Hundley also gained 17 yards on a scramble with nobody around him. This certainly wouldn’t have happened had Danny Trevathan been healthy.
  • This was easily Kyle Fuller’s worst game of the year. The cornerback, who, as I mentioned earlier, gave up a big play and dropped an easy pick, also gave up a key touchdown in the fourth quarter. Davante Adams beat him effortlessly and Hundley spotted him in the end zone. Fuller also allowed a deep ball on 3rd and 10 right before the two-minute warning.
  • A lot of factors played in Chicago losing, and Fuller was definitely one of them.
  • The Bears’ tackling as a whole was atrocious. Here’s a little Football 101: if you can’t tackle, then your defense won’t do well. Simple as that.
  • Chicago got incredibly lucky when Mason Crosby missed an easy 35-yard field goal try. The game should’ve been over right then and there.
  • Inman, who had been great all game, dropped a crucial pass on third down. Don’t blame entirely for the loss, though: he was great for a majority of the game.
  • The Bears simply didn’t deserve to win this game. It was winnable at so many moments, but poor defense and awful coaching ruined it for them. Green Bay was simply the better team.
  • With this loss, Chicago is realistically out of the playoff hunt, if they were even in it to begin with. Barring a late-season explosion, John Fox should be and will be fired. At this point, it’s just a matter of when that will happen.