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Ten Thoughts on the NFL and the Bears

Check out our Thought son the NFL this week and leave us a few of your own in the comment section...

Oakland Raiders v Buffalo Bills

1) Prior to the Monday Night game and according to, there have been 18.3 flags thrown per game this season so far, and that’s up from 15.8 a year ago.

Offensive holding penalties, which was something the league wanted to emphasize this year, are up to 3.41 called per game from 2.77 last year.

Twenty three teams in the NFL have been called for more penalties this season than at the same point a year ago.

The NFL has a penalty problem and it’s dragging down the quality of the game.

And can someone tell me the point of allowing pass interference to be reviewed if the league has no interest in overturning pass interference penalties?

2) And speaking of penalties, last night’s game featured the worst combination of horrible calls and blatant non-calls that I’ve seen in a while. The Detroit Lions were screwed by the refs, and while part of me enjoys seeing Lion fans suffer, it’s balanced out by seeing Green Bay Packers fans get the benefit of a game gifted to them again.

3) Patrick Mahomes is clearly favoring his ankle when throwing and scrambling, but the Kansas City Chiefs don’t have their bye week until after their November 18 game, and there’s no way they’re going to let him sit as long as he can still play. He has the arm strength to fight through his inability to follow through on his passes, but unless he rests it, I think this injury will linger all season long.

The Chiefs travel to play the Denver Broncos this Thursday on a short week, so that ankle will be tested against a pass rush that has 15 sacks the last three weeks.

4) That Chiefs vs. Texans game was a fun one, but it was a little sloppier than I figured it would be. Mahomes threw his first interception of the year and he lost a fumble, and Houston’s Deshaun Watson threw two picks.

5) Another young quarterback that threw two interceptions was Josh Rosen of the Miami Dolphins, but Rosen was benched for veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick for some inexplicable reason. I get the ‘Fins are in full tank mode, but if they really intend on drafting a quarterback with the top pick of the 2020 draft, then it makes sense to get Rosen as much trade value as possible. Unless they really think he’s a complete bust, there’s no point in not letting him play out the 2019 season as the starter.

6) This tweet makes so much sense.

Marcus Mariota is another QB that was benched over the weekend after throwing a couple interceptions, but Jameis Winston threw 5 in the Buccaneers loss to the Panthers and he’ll ride to see another day.

Ryan Tannehill went 13 for 16 in relief of Mariota, but he also had an interception in the Titans 0-16 loss to the Broncos.

7) The best passing performance of Sunday went to the Atlanta Falcons Matt Ryan, who went for 356 yards and 4 TDs, but he ended up on the losing side thanks to rookie Kyler Murray who went for 340 yards and 3 TDs in the Arizona Cardinals 34-33 win.

8) Without looking, who leads the NFL in receiving yards?

Julio Jones, Michael Thomas, DeAndre Hopkins, Mike Evans...

Would you believe it’s Evans’ Tampa Bay teammate Chris Godwin with 662 yards?

9) Don’t look now but the Oakland Raiders are only a half game behind the Chiefs for the top spot in the AFC West and as of right now they would be in the playoffs as a 6th seed.

10) Undrafted rookie free agent Alex Bars looked damn good for the Chicago Bears during the preseason. He played well at guard and then when asked to slide out to left tackle, he held his own there too.

I remember being concerned when the Bears cut Bars before the season started that one of the other 31 teams would scoop him up and the Bears would lose out of a solid young o-line prospect. But then he passed through waivers and the Bears were able to sign him to their practice squad.

Crisis averted...

I guess seeing him play solid football against a bunch of other potential practice squadders and guys that are now trying to catch on in the XFL wasn’t enough to get a team to jump at the chance to sign him.

Flash forward to this week, and Bars is still on the practice squad and several Bears fans are upset that he wasn’t added to the 53-man roster to take Kyle Long’s place. While it’s entirely possible that Bars has developed to the point of being able to step in and play at an NFL level after being coached up for a couple months, it’s also possible that veterans Rashaad Coward and Ted Larsen are more prepared to fill in at right guard.

I do like Bars’ upside, but as we saw a year ago with second round draft pick James Daniels, offensive line coach Harry Hiestand is hesitant to play rookies. It took the Bears til week eight before giving Daniels the start, and he brought a high draft pick pedigree with him.

I think Bars’ will be activated at some point this season (EDIT: He was just added to the 53-man roster), but with the way the current active roster is constructed, the Bears think extra help on the defensive line is more important right now.

My fingers are crossed that the Bears snagged a UDFA gem in Bars, and when he’s mentally and physically ready we’ll see what he has to offer.