Ciarán’s Comments: Bears v Browns

Ciarán’s Comments: Bears v Browns

As always, I begin my preview of the upcoming Chicago Bears game by taking a look back at their previous game.

Chicago Bears 10
Detroit Lions   20

The Chicago Bears lost their 10th game of the 2017 regular season and were swept by their division rival, the Detroit Lions, for the fourth time in the last five seasons.

The Lions finished with a 10-point win but it could’ve been a much bigger margin of victory. The Bears looked unprepared and simply didn’t make enough plays against the Lions. Statistically, it was Mitchell Trubisky’s most impressive game as the Bears quarterback. The rookie had season highs in completions (31), attempts (46), yards passing (314)but also three a career high number of interceptions (3).

Most of those stats tell a pretty good story, but the reality is that Trusbisky was inconsistent and tried to force things from the moment the Bears fell behind. He threw two inexcusable balls that were picked off by an impressive Lions secondary.

While it was not Trubisky’s most polished, or best game, as a Bear, it was probably his most important performance of 2017. The reason is because he got to sling the football, make mistakes and now he can learn from those mistakes. Rookies make rookie mistakes, Peyton Manning in his rookie year made a ton of mistakes, but he learned from them. He understood what throws he can and not make in the NFL. Up to this point of the season, Mitch Trubisky has not been allowed to be a rookie. He was bubbled wrapped. He has been so limited with the Chicago Bears coaching staff, that his development has been slowed. He needed a game like last Saturday so he can go back and review tape of key mistakes he made.

While Trubisky made some poor decisions with his interceptions, he also made some very impressive plays and really never gave up – showing an impressive will to battle. He was constantly on the sideline making sure his guys knew what he expected of them all. The offensive line had a major shakeup when Tom Compton got injured. Bradley Sowell was brought in for one play, was taken out for Grasu who then gave up a hold. The offensive line certainly did not help Trubisky’s performance.

Overall, I was impressed with the rookie. He made fundamental errors by forcing the ball into double coverage in the end zone, however, when you look closely his game showed many positives. Please do not listen to Sports-Talk radio or some of the near-sighted reporters.

Just because he threw 3 INT’s DOES NOT mean he’s Jay Cutler reincarnated. Trubisky, has shown me enough to be excited for his future, he is a leader, the face of the franchise that we all desperately are searching for. Just give him time, have patience in the young signal caller and the rewards will be worth it.

Now in terms of the overall performance, offensively it was awful and, again, Dowell Freaking Loggains is primarily responsible. The Bears rushed for over 200 yards in the previous meeting with the Lions and in this second encounter he gave up on the run too quickly. Yes, the Lions were playing closer to the line of scrimmage and were prepared to nullify the run game, but you still have to give Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen the ball.

Loggain’s biggest fault is that he is SO DAMN PREDICTABLE. He may be the most unqualified offensive coordinator the Bears have hired since Mike Tice and we all know how that worked out.

As a Bears fan, it’s embarrassing to watch an Offensive Coordinator run plays like a High School coach. The sooner he is out of Chicago the better for Mitchell Trubisky and Jordan Howard.

Defensively, the Bears were impressive considering the limitations they faced coming into the matchup. They were without many of the pass rushers and Pernell McPhee went out with an early injury that forced him onto IR this week. However, Lamarr Houston and Akiem Hicks brought the pressure and really attacked Stafford. Other than a rookie mistake by Eddie Jackson for not breaking up the long pass from Stafford to Marvin Jones, the defense was able to limit the Lions offense and again were able to come up with important turnovers. It is one thing the unit has strived with all season and that is a great omen for years to come with a relatively young defense.

Tarik Cohen, once again was electrifying in the return game once the ball is in his hands. He has work to do on situations of knowing when to fair catch or when to leave the football but that will come with time. Once again, the Bears negated a long return because of needless penalty, although some thought it was the call that was needless.

Penalties is something that has marred John Fox’s tenure and it is really representative of his poor coaching. Over the past three games, the Bears have committed the second-most penalties in the NFL. It’s a sign that the players no longer are playing for Fox. Luckily for Bears fans, there are only two more games in the Fox era left and we can all breathe a sigh of relief and hope that  general manager Ryan Pace goes out and gets the right guy for the job.

 

Chicago Bears (4-10)
Cleveland Browns (0-14)

For the third time this season the Bears go into a game at Soldier field as favorites in Vegas. However, John Fox has never won a football game as Bears Head Coach, when his team has been favored.

There will likely be over 15,000 empty seats in Soldier Field. Can anybody truly blame fans for not going to a Bears game coached by John Fox against the winless Cleveland Browns on Christmas Eve? Of Course not! It shows just how far the Bears’ franchise is falling.

It wasn’t too long ago were you wouldn’t dream of not going to a Bears game if you had the chance. The fanbase has become apathetic and that is a big red flag for any sports franchise. Some fans are now treating the Bears as they did the Chicago Blackhawks before Rocky Wirtz took over the franchise. Sunday. Fans abandoned the once successful franchise because they became convinced there was not a commitment to winning.

Now, the Blackhawks have the most difficult sports ticket to get in town. Their practices are filled to capacity.

If the Bears lose to the hapless 0-14 Browns the franchise will be at rock-bottom.

The game will not be as easy as some may want to believe. The Browns are a competitive team and their defense has been impressive in spurts this season. The biggest problem they have had is taking care of the football. That is where the Bears will be able to distance themselves.

Quarterback DeShone Kizer will make mistakes and the Bears need to take advantage of those mistakes. The Bears have been able to create takeaways, although an improvement in interceptions is needed. I expect Chicago to take advantage of the error-prone Kizer on Sunday.

The Browns have a very impressive run defense so it will be important for the Bears to be balanced and take advantage of the short fields the defense might give them.

If some of the players on the Bears have truly quit playing for Fox they will see themselves embarrassed and the laughing stock of the league.

The game on Sunday is the Browns last realistic chance of winning a football game as they will have to face the Steelers in the final week of the season. So, expect them to play with ferocity. If the Bears are not aggressive and match that intensity they will get punched in the mouth. It is incredibly important that the Bears do not make life hard for themselves in this game. They need to play good defense and play complementary football. The penalties must stop and the whole team needs to be disciplined.

Incidentally, The last game the Browns won was on Christmas Eve 2016 against the 49ers. That prevented them from going winless last season. Will the Brown repeat that?

Bold Prediction:

  • Kizer throws 3 INT’s and Eddie Jackson takes one to the house.
  • Trubisky has over 300 yards passing and 2TD’s.
  • Tarik Cohen gets over 100 all purpose yards.
  • The Offensive Line surrenders less than 3 sacks.
  • The Bears WR’s generate more yards than the Browns WRs.

 

My Prediction:

Chicago Bears 28
Cleveland Browns 24

I have this Bears winning a close game. Ideally they should savage the Browns at home, like they did two weeks ago against the Bengals on the road.

But, I fear that this is the Browns’ Super Bowl game. They want to avoid going winless in 2017. So they will be no pushover.

They are tough defensively and are 0-14 mainly due to mistakes made on offense and not taking advantage on defense.

If the Bears play a mistake-free and aggressive football game they should come away with a victory. It’s really important for the health of the franchise they they win this game. If they fail to make plays at the important moments of the game, it is very possible that the Browns could ride out of Soldier Field with their first victory of the 2017 regular season and the Bears franchise could be on life support.

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Tags assigned to this article:
Dowell LoggainsJohn FoxMitch TrubsikyRyan Pace

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