We’re 4 games into the season, the 1/4 point and the Bears are 3-1. All things are good in the windy city then, right? Not so fast. The Bears’ Week 4 loss to the Detroit Lions was only unique in that the Bears lost. But many of the mistakes the Bears made have been present all season long, they just finally went up against a decent opponent and didn’t catch any of the same breaks they did in the previous three weeks. And while 4 Jay Cutler turnovers certainly doesn’t help, he has otherwise been good. My major concern is the defense. They are still the best in the world when it comes to take-aways, but when they aren’t picking six or peanut punching, they are allowing big yards and big points. Some numbers to consider:
-The Bears are ranked third worst in the league in points against, at 31.8ppg
-The Bears have only sacked the quarterback 6 times all year. Also third worst. The only teams worse than them? The Giants and the Steelers. Combined record for those teams? 0-8.
Jay Cutler took responsibility for the loss, and its true that without one or two of his four turnovers, the Bears still could have won this game – he did, after all, lead them to two straight scoring drives in the final four minutes that lead to two touchdowns and matching 2-point conversions. But he does deserve a lot of the blame for the loss. Its the first time this season we saw the “old” Jay Cutler. Trestman is gotten Jay to be a lot more disciplined so far this year, which has worked for Cuter, but he got away from that this week against a really good defense – BUT – you CANNOT give up 27 points in one quarter, and you CANNOT expect to win giving up an average of over 30 points per game.
The Bears’ pass rush has been embarrassing, and the Lions exposed every blemish. They couldn’t pressure Matthew Stafford and they couldn’t stop Reggie Bush at the line. And granted the Lions have one of the best O-lines in the league and one of the most explosive RBs this season, but after the first quarter, they moved the ball at will. The Bears’ offense is improved for sure, but they won’t win many more games unless the defense gets it together.
So, here is my assessment of the Bears at the 1/4 season point:
OFFENSE – B+
This is a much improved offense and as comfortable as Jay Cutler has ever been. Alshon Jeffrey played his best game of the year, and Martellus Bennett has been a great pick up – Brandon Marshall has been great as always and I think Matt Forte is on track to have his best season as a Bear. The O-line continues to be strong, and despite Cutler getting more pressure this week, I think they actually held up pretty well. Jay needs to work on limiting his turnovers, but, he has shown he has the weapons to put points on the board and to lead the team to late game touchdowns.
DEFENSE – C
The biggest surpise in the first season post-Brian Urlacher, the Bears’ linebackers have been great, and the Bears lead the league in take-aways. But as I mentioned above, the defensive line has been terrible and needs to get better. Where is Shea McClellin? Where is Julius Peppers? With Henry Melton out for the season, somebody needs to step up. Have seen good corner play, but Charles Tillman is hurt and could use a week off soon if they want to make sure he is healthy late in the season when they will really need him.
Special Teams – D
Devin Hester voluntarily left the offense to focus on his specialty, kick returning. And outside of one great game, he has not yet returned to the dangerous kick returner he once was. Their defensive special teams have struggled as well. The Bears have talent on their special teams, they just need to get their act together.
All of that said, the Bears are 3-1, off to a good start. But some really tough games are coming up and things could very quickly turn. Up next the Saints come to town, and if we don’t see immediate improvements, Drew Brees and Darren Sproles are going to make it a very, very long day for the Bears.