It’s so hard to be perfect week in and week out in the NFL, especially for a team that is still trying to figure exactly who they are.
Ups-and-downs are expected for any new head coach and offensive scheme. No one thought the Bears would have this much success this early on in the season. Opponents have surely started to figure out the comfort zones of this Bears’ offense after three weeks of game tape.
Not to say that the offense was solely to blame for the 40-32 loss to the Detroit Lions on Sunday. But four turnovers by quarterback Jay Cutler surely didn’t help the case.
The first two interceptions thrown by Cutler were just terrible decisions. They were throws that fans were used to seeing out of him. He tried to force a pass into double coverage to Alshon Jeffery which ended in a Louis Delmas interception. And he tried to find Brandon Marshall over the top of two defenders and the ball just fell way short right into the hands of Delmas.
The third pick he was simply trying to make a play, which I can’t disagree with that late in the game.
The interceptions were bad and Cutler admits it, but the worst play of the day came at the end of the third quarter. Defensive tackle Ndamkoung Suh sacked and stripped Cutler and Nick Fairley took it into the endzone for a touchdown to go up three scores, 37-16.
We saw Cutler try to extend the play in the pocket in Week Two against the Vikings. That play ended the exact same way with a strip and a fumble return for a score.
“I’ve just got to give us a better chance to winning,” Cutler said after the game.
Every casual fan knows if you win the turnover battle you have almost every chance in the world to come away with the victory on any given Sunday.
Cutler put his team in a huge hole early on and it was hard to overcome. Trailing 30-10, the Bears’ defense made a big play. Julius Peppers sacked and stripped Matthew Stafford and Shea McCellin recovered late in the second quarter.
The Bears got down to the Lions 10-yard line in three plays, but couldn’t get seven points. They settled for three. They got a field goal as well to open the second half.
That was another big problem. The Bears’ offense was very ineffective. They converted just one of 13 third downs. The offense was predictable and the pressure was getting to Cutler more as the game went on forcing him to throw off his back foot and place the ball into dangerous spots.
The bright side is all of these things can be fixed. The defense did its part by creating turnovers even until the end. They created three turnovers on an afternoon where they struggled mightily with containing Reggie Bush out of the backfield.
Maybe it was former Bears now Lions defensive end Israel Idonije who tipped his current team with his knowledge of the Bears’ defense. That’s not very cool, but the way the Bears treated his contract situation this off-season wasn’t either.
Despite Bush’s incredible first-half success running for over 100 yards, the Bears could have overcome their defensive struggles by sustaining some drives on offense.
The Bears offense was able to do that the past three weeks and that really helped them come away with victories. Obviously, the defense has continued its craft of creating turnovers, but the offense was playing differently up until Week Four.
Special teams was also very disappointing for the Bears arguably for the first time in a while. Two bad punts helped the Lions return one deep into Bears territory and another one set them up in Bears territory. Plus Devin Hester was held in check for the second straight week.
Things won’t get much easier as they play host to the NFC South leading New Orleans Saints next week at Soldier Field.
They host the New York Giants the following week on Thursday Night Football and then travel to Washington before a Week Eight bye.
These next three weeks will show us who the 2013 Chicago Bears really are. This is the first real adversity they have faced all season long.
Marc Trestman has to alter some things on the offense and Mel Tucker certainly has to help his defense stay motivated.
Sound football on both sides of the ball will go a long way. Less turnovers by the offense, consistent turnovers and improved tackling should help the cause.