The Bears’ win streak improved to a whopping two games Sunday, with a 21-13 win over former head coach Lovie Smith and the lowly Tampa Bay Buccaneers. With the win, the Bears improved to 5-6 on the season heading into a big divisional showdown on Thanksgiving day against the Detroit Lions.
In Lovie Smith’s highly anticipated return to Soldier Field, the Bears summoned one of Smith’s old game plans in an ugly win headlined by take-aways, short fields and very little offense.
We did not wave goodbye to Lovie Smith after a 10-6 season only to bring in an offensive minded coach who can’t produce offense save his life. If the Bears wanted to win games in a manner like they did on Sunday, they shouldn’t have brought in Trestman and signed Cutler to that massive deal. This was not how this was supposed to go.
A look at the numbers against a 2-9 team with one of the worse defenses in the NFL. The Bears again only managed 21 points as they continue to underachieve and fail to find their way to the endzone. The offense gained a measly 204 total yards as they failed once again to spread the field, make big plays, and put together long drives. They were 4-16 on third down, and extend their streak of first quarter goose eggs to six games. That’s right, the Bears have not scored in the first quarter since their week five loss to Carolina. Brandon Marshall had as many penalties as he did receptions (three) and Cutler only found the endzone once against the 23rd ranked pass defense in the NFL.
It was the defense that stepped up for the Bears this week, perhaps in a statement game for them against their former head coach. They forced turnovers like the old Lovie-led teams used to and allowed the offense to score on short fields, giving Jay Cutler and Matt Forte easy opportunities to get points for the Bears. Stephen Paea continues to play well, and Brandon Bass and Cornelius Washington also came up big for the Bears on Sunday. The defense still gave up a lot of yards, but took the ball away in big moments to help hold the Bucs to only one touchdown on the day.
Wins in these last two games against two last place teams are not enough to assuage us of our issues with the Bears. The fact that the Bears couldn’t muster any more points or yards against these two teams is an embarrassment, and they only got away with it because they were playing bad teams. This will not continue to hold up, and we’ll get a very painful fall back to reality on Thursday at Ford Field. The Lions are number one in the NFL in run defense and in points allowed. The Lions’ offense has struggled lately, but what better way to get back on track than facing an historically bad offense coming off a game that left them feeling unrealistically good about themselves. If the offense could barely muster points against the Vikings and the Buccaneers, they are not going to have very much to be thankful for on Thursday other than a couple extra days off.