Thankfully for the Bears, the only thing as bad as this weekend in Chicago sports is how the rest of the NFC North has played lately.
The Bears failed to capitalize on an opportunity to take control of the black and blue division earlier today, falling to the St. Louis Rams by a score of 42-21. Granted, the game was much closer than the score indicated, but it was still a disappointing effort from the Bears.
Continuing to support the notion that Curtis Enis could run for over 100 yards against this defense, the Bears allowed 261 yards on the ground to the Rams. Zac Stacy didn’t even play in the second half, as he left with an injury. However, if there is one thing we know about the Bears’ run defense, it’s that regardless of what Stacy’s ailment was, he still would have looked like an all pro against this front seven.
Obviously, that’s an exaggeration. But it’s a problem that doesn’t really seem fixable in the near future simply based on the mechanics of it all.
The Bears defense is based on gap containment. Which sounds great, in theory. But in order for it to work, the defensive line needs to get penetration, or at the very least, not get pushed backwards three yards each play. But that’s what is happening to the Bears, which causes the linebackers to over pursue. That causes the flood gates to open, and that’s why we see Chris Conte with such impressive tackling numbers (sorry, Chris Conte, but no one wants this.)
The defense, however, was not the only concern.
Josh McCown continued to do Josh McCown things, and played a solid ball game up until garbage time. The running game was solid, if we choose to ignore short yardage situations. The blocking was… oh, right, short yardage situations. That must mean I have to talk about Michael Bush.
Ah, really, do I have to?
Granted, a few of his failed first down run attempts were a result of poor blocking. But it’s really a mystery as to what he brings to the table that Matt Forte, or heck, even Michael Ford does.
Bush carried the rock seven times and went five yards in the wrong direction, including a crucial stuff when the Bears were down by ten. Marc Trestman could have opted for a field goal to bring the Bears within seven, but should he really be maligned for expecting a guy to be able to the only thing he’s paid millions to do?
On that specific play, admittedly, Bush didn’t really have a chance. But in general, he ran indecisively and with little burst. Commend the Bears for trying to bring a competent number two back to town the last few years (Kevin Jones, Chester Taylor, Marion Barber, Bush), but judging by that list…. Yeah, probably would be best to allot that money elsewhere.
With all that said, a Lions loss and a Packers tie (what?) leave the Bears just where they started Sunday: tied for first place in the division.
The flaws are there, but for the sake of optimism: flaws be damned:
The Bears have a very winnable date with the Minnesota Vikings next Sunday.