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Clunky Bears offense stalls until garbage time in embarrassing 24 to 17 downward-spiral loss to Titans

Injuries and COVID rule outs led Bears to attempt a football game with JUCO-level offensive line performance. It did not go well.

Chicago Bears v Tennessee Titans
Throw that ball quick, Nicky!
Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

The Bears defense is dominant and a joy to watch for 95% of the plays they’re on the field. What most Bears fans don’t appreciate, is how great it is that we get to watch the Bears defense for well over half the game. Most teams only get to watch their defense for half the game on average, or even less in some cases. On a day like today, when the offense was particularly painful to gaze upon, I have to be grateful to the time of possession gods for this gift.

Box Score!

Who could have guessed a 4th and 1 run down the middle behind Bars, Hambright, and Ifedi wouldn’t work?

I really think Matt Nagy thinks doing something unexpected is more likely to work even if it’s unexpected precisely because it won’t work. On the first drive, the Bears did a good job moving the ball when they ran plays pretending they don’t have an offensive line. The drive stopped when they decided to pretend that they do.

Fun fact: the player that missed the block on that 4th and 1 run was the only one of the three interior lineman that is technically a starter for the Bears.

Can we try Akiem Hicks on the O line?

If my flag football team can play both sides of the ball. I don’t see why these “professionals” can’t. My only concern is that Akiem Hicks is used to watching offensive lineman repeatedly fail to block him, so he’s probably picked up some bad habits.

To clarify the Bears’ O line woes...

It’s not quite fair to just say they only have two starters left on the O line. They are also down two backups (Sam Mustipher, who played better than expected last week, and Jason Spriggs, who got injured quicker than expected last week). Alex Bars is the Bears 4th best option at center. The two starters would be the 3rd and 5th best of the week one offensive line.

Cordarrelle Patterson is getting down the field quick on punt coverage!

He’s so fast, he keeps getting behind the punt returner and pushed out of the play. Good Bear.

Roquan Smith is putting together a nice little season

The eager young Bear missed a few tackles early, making me unnecessarily nervous. He’s steadily cut back on mistakes and keeps making incredible plays, particularly in pass coverage. Did I mention blitzing? He wasted no steps slipping past the line for a beautiful sack on Tannehill today. His final stat line since you’re probably too lazy to check yourself was 11 tackles (9 solo), 2 TFL, 1 sack, and 1 QB hit. Not too bad.

Dwayne Harris is the bizarro Ted Ginn Jr.

While Ginn wouldn’t touch a punt, it looks like Harris won’t call a fair catch to save his life. Harris averaged almost 11 yards per return on 6 punts. Fun.

Tricksy Bears!

Be honest. If I asked you to name defensive Bears who you would think would get an 11 yard rush for a first down, would you have ever gotten to Barkevious Mingo?

I can’t believe that brat Tannehill managed to scamper free of Khalil Mack

He should have been grateful for the opportunity to be sacked by Mack. Just succumb to the bear hug and let Mack pad his stats. It’s not like you’re going to lose the game because of it.

Derrick Henry thought he could break any tackle...

Until he met Buster Skrine.

People have said of Brady, they’ve said it of Brees, but it turns out it’s been Nick Foles all along

Nick Foles is the quarterback who can’t handle pressure up the middle. Now that the blueprint is out to beat him, it’s going to be a rough time riding out this season.

Can we circle back to the Bears playing Alex Bars at center?

Alex Bars, who spent his college career playing tackle and left guard, went undrafted, and has spent his NFL career either on the practice squad or behind Rashaad Coward on the depth chart. The center position is supposed to call out protections and tie the line together. Today, it is likely responsible for its unravelling.

It was cute when the Bears called time outs at the end of the half

So their offense could get more time to...penalize themselves into a 1st and 25 hole.

Hello Riley Ridley

No doubt thanks to Javon Wims’ bad-bear behavior last week against the Saints, Ridley got activated this week and he was active with an impressive 3rd down conversion. It’s surprising that a player of his overall talent doesn’t usually get snaps on such an inept offense, but the Bears do have a lot of receivers who are at least slightly better than Ridley at this point. But are they all better at not punching Saints in the helmet?

Danny Trevathan can keep up in coverage against Corey Davis?

He looked slow to start the season, but it looks like he’s getting those meaty bear thighs back in midseason form. Unless Corey Davis is injured?

The Bears had a few good plays on offense

They were just each followed by a few bad plays that ended the drive. It felt for a second that half-time adjustments were working. But they usually only worked well enough to get the ball a little further towards punting into the end zone. Or to force Desmond King to run a little further on his fumble return touchdown.

People will tell you that injuries are no excuse. You still have to get out there and execute. I get that. Whether or not there are excuses, their are certainly reasons why this Bears offense had it’s (2nd?) worst outing of recent memory. You’re welcome to blame Nick Foles or Matt Nagy’s play calling. Both certainly failed to impress. But I have trouble taking anything out of this game except the clear fact that the Bears had to go too deep into the o line depth chart to put out an NFL-caliber unit.

Who predicted we would be missing Sam Mustipher by week 9?