The Bears got curb-stomped in Philadelphia to fall 3-8 in a loss that was not as close as the 31-3 score suggests. To take some of the emotional edge off of this defeat, Windy City Gridiron is going to offer some strong reactions in order to save fans the effort. Josh is going to point out what went right and Robert is going to emphasize what went wrong. If you’re ready, here’s the Week 12 Bears Overreaction (Let It End! Edition).
Josh Sunderbruch: So, on the surface it might seem tough to find a positive in a game where Chicago lost by 28 and had six net rushing yards. However, there were a couple of positive points, and they start with the fact that the Bears got to see a real NFL team in action. The Eagles did this amazing thing once they scored points, they then attempted to score more. It was an amazing sight, and one that will hopefully stick with the Bears heading into the off-season.
It’s obviously not a lesson that they will be able to put into practice right away, but to see a team actively try to win for four full quarters was a great learning experience for a lot of the younger Bears, who might have otherwise believed that NFL rules required teams to always let the other side stay close. Even though they were on the losing end of the exchange, it was beneficial for the Bears to see how a good team plays. It’s not like they’re getting that sort of instruction or example from their coaching staff.
Robert Zeglinski: Indeed, the best way to learn is to take from someone that leads by example. Eagles head coach Doug Pedersen has himself quite the staff with Frank Reich and Jim Schwartz as his coordinators. It must have been incredibly heartening for some of the younger Bears to see what a real staff that could maximize them looks like. I mean, Alshon Jeffery’s already gotten a taste, right?
To that end, you have to applaud the Bears’ effort on Sunday. And by applaud, really appreciate their effort to lose, or keep a game closer than it really seems. I thought the low point for this staff was when Mitchell Trubisky attempted seven passes against the Panthers, only absolved by a defensive win. Or when they came out flat after the bye week against an Aaron Rodgers-less Packers team at home.
But no, the best example of how far away the Bears are was two coaching philosophies in direct contrast. With the Eagles up 17 points in the second quarter, Pedersen went for it on fourth down. Philadelphia would of course go on to score a touchdown. With the Bears down 24 points early in the third, Fox elected to kick a field goal. One coach wants to put the game out of doubt. The other wants to keep the margin closer than it seems. To take the points when he can, despite his team still being down three scores.
Some Bears were no doubt even more dangerously envious of the other sideline after that.
Josh: It was also nice to see a new kicker for Chicago. Forget the 54-yarder he missed in his very first field goal attempt for Chicago. That was the rust coming off in a difficult position. Instead, enjoy the fact that Connor Barth is gone. Santos is certain to improve from his 50-percent start, but Barth was a sort of the living embodiment of mediocrity. Besides, let’s face it: the Bears are going to need a solid field goal kicker moving forward, because it’s really unlikely they’ll be scoring touchdowns anytime too soon.
Robert Zeglinski: What? You mean a team that had the lowest rushing output by the Bears since 1939 isn’t going to score touchdowns? That’s news to me!
Honestly, I don’t know what many expected from the Bears’ attack against the league’s best rushing defense. But 140 total offensive yards - offensive yards not passing - on 49 plays is absolutely inexcusable. A little over two months ago, many were lamenting how Mike Glennon was struggling to eclipse 100 passing yards. Now the Bears as a whole are struggling to produce much of anything.
The Bears didn’t attain a first down until the third quarter. Trubisky himself was incredibly inaccurate, even when not faced with pressure, as the Bears asked him to do everything against a group of well-coached and talented defenders zeroed in on the league’s third-leading rusher in Jordan Howard. Chicago should consider it a miracle that Trubisky was able to leave Philadelphia in one piece with no damage as a (moral) victory.
All of this incredible, embarrassing lack of production was of course due to a talent deficiency on offense at both receiver and on the edges, a raw Trubisky, and the same general lack of creativity offensively we’ve seen all season.
For example, on an early first quarter third and short, the Bears run Howard straight into the teeth of the Eagles’ defense, running no misdirection whatsoever. The result of a stuff was all too predictable. Beating a dead horse on any of these points would imply this was still a fresh idea. At this point, the horse is buried and set out to sea in a coffin.
This was a junior varsity high school football team with junior varsity level coaches scrimmaging against their varsity counterparts across the board in a tune-up.
Josh: Finally, there’s Cre’von LeBlanc. LeBlanc stepped up admirably, forcing a fumble and getting a hand on a pair of passes. He also led the team with seven tackles. What that means, of course, is that the Bears actually have a bit of depth at a position. With Callahan out, there’s a chance for some other players to show some potential, and that’s exactly LeBlanc did.
I’m not nominating LeBlanc for the Pro Bowl anytime soon, but with the inconsistent play at cornerback, it would be nice to see the kid get a chance to play for the next few weeks. The Bears having a player who actively works to generate turnovers is nice, with a chance he could step up and become something.
Robert Zeglinski: Ah yes, LeBlanc, the one Bears’ secondary member that actively showed up yesterday. Let’s round up other members of the Bears’ vaunted back-end.
Adrian Amos, burned badly and turned around like a top on Philadelphia’s first touchdown to Zach Ertz (who the Bears had no answer for of course). Amos has been at his best this year because Chicago has been able to primarily use him as a hybrid-linebacker type that roams around the box: mainly due to the presence of Eddie Jackson. In coverage, he is still a general liability and that was on full display throughout the game on Sunday.
A side note on Ertz: he had Philadelphia’s first 100-yard receiving game of the season against the Bears. Think about how insane that statistic is. A 10-1 team didn’t have a 100-yard receiver until it’s 11th game. That’s offensive balance and a complete team to be jealous of - much like most of the Eagles’ pieces.
Moving on, there’s the mentioned Jackson, who I’m not sure, but still might be lying face down in the turf after LeGarrette Blount hurdled over him.
Jackson, who has been a godsend for the Bears for the most part this season, arguably had the worst game of his career on Sunday as he took bad angles to tackles and was targeted routinely by Carson Wentz and company. A late pick dropped by both him and LeBlanc would have been a degree of redemption, but that wasn’t going to happen for the Bears on this day.
Finally, we get to Kyle Fuller. The last three weeks for Fuller have been incredibly disheartening after a stellar first half that raised questions of a possible return to Chicago with his pending expiring contract. Ever since, the trademarks of slipping in the turf, giving receivers too much cushion, and seemingly reverting back to low confidence have returned for Fuller. The peak Fuller experience.
At this stage, the 25-year-old corner is still going to enjoy a handsome deal in the off-season. Defensive backs are always overpaid on the open market. I highly doubt given Fuller’s inconsistencies that it’ll come from the Bears.
Josh: That’s it for us. With five games left, these hapless Bears are merely playing out the string.
Robert Zeglinski is the Bears beat writer for the Rock River Times, an editor for Windy City Gridiron, and contributor for The Athletic Chicago. Josh Sunderbruch is the numbers man and a writer for Windy City Gridiron. You can follow Robert on Twitter @RobertZeglinski.