The Chicago Bears were supposed to be taken to the woodshed by the Green Bay Packers. Many of the experts had the Bears near the bottom of their NFL power rankings. ESPN actually had the Chicago Bears generously ranked 25th. Are the Bears closer to the middle of the NFL pack, or one of the league’s bottom feeders?
Fans learned many things about the Chicago Bears in the 31-23 loss (courtesy of the chicagobears.com) to the Packers.
Kyle Long started the game at right tackle, just as many people expected. It is easy to see that it will take a little while for him to get adjusted to a position that he has very little experience at. Long did well at times, while struggling during other moments. The potential is there. Kyle Long can be a Pro Bowler at the right tackle spot.
Where he will need help at is pass protection. Long did not adjust quick enough to block a couple of edge rushers.
Long gave up a sack and allowed defenders to beat him, while going after quarterback Jay Cutler. With stout defenses up next with the Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks, there must be some fine tuning in what Long does. Still not a bad showing in his first game at the position.
Run blocking was the area where Kyle Long excelled at. He broke open running lanes for Matt Forte, helping the running back accumulate 140 yards on the ground. The Bears were able to control the clock against the Green Bay Packers. Each run play seem to wear down the Packers’ defense. Forte was superb. He made a case to be the NFC Player of the Week with his all-around performance. If the Chicago Bears are to have any success this season, ball control by running the football, along with good game management by Cutler, will be the key.
Jay Cutler did throw an interception, but it was hardly his fault, and it is not what cost the Bears a win.
Cutler had to avoid a Packers defender when he was targeting TE Martellus Bennett on a drag route. Linebacker Clay Matthews read the route, and jumped it, stopping a Chicago Bears’ drive that could have led to a score. The interception was more of a good play by Matthews, and less of a bad throw by Jay Cutler.
Near the end of the game, the Bears had a chance to tie things up. Down, by eight, facing a first and goal on the two-yard line, the Bears never ran the ball. One run play with about four minutes remaining could have given them a chance to win the game late.
Chicago led the game in total yards gained and time of possession. They were supposed to get embarrassed by the Packers. That never materialized. The game was in hand, there for the Bears to win it. They could not finish their drives with touchdowns, having to settle for three field goals. Interestingly enough, they are better than advertised.
Questions about the defensive end was answered. No, the Chicago Bears do not have an elite defense, but they held their own against the Packers who had 322 yards. A couple of breakdowns allowed Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers to scramble for extra yards, giving Green Bay additional opportunities. He had to do so in order to evade the Bears pass rush. Take those plays away and the Bears are celebrating a victory over the Super Bowl favorites.
That is not too shabby for a team expected to scratch only four wins. Despite the loss, the Bears players, primarily receiver Alshon Jeffery, told CSN Chicago that the team believes they can play with anyone.
“We can play with anybody. I give them credit, they’re a great team and all that, but we had some self-inflicted wounds on ourselves…. I still feel like we beat ourselves. It’s nothing they did. I feel great about this team. I love this team.”
Not a victory for the Bears, but they are not as bad as they were advertised.
The Chicago Bears are not who people thought they were.
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images Sport)