Bears Fumble Away Opener
By Benjy Lipsman in News on Sep 10, 2007 2:55PM
Nobody expected the Bears to go 16-0 this season, or even to start 7-0 like last year. And it's not too shocking that they would lose to a team that went 14-2 last year. But we're still plenty disappointed that the Bears lost to the San Diego Chargers 14-3 on Sunday in their season opener.
The Bears' defense looked like it was in midseason form on Sunday, holding the high-scoring Chargers offense in check most of the afternoon. In fact, they held reigning NFL MVP LaDainian Tomlinson to just 25 yards rushing. The Chargers didn't get on the board until the third quarter, and both of their scores came on short drives following turnovers.
Those turnovers were just part of the problem with the Bears offense on Sunday, which managed just a meager three points. Cedric Benson certainly didn't look any more like somebody worthy of the fourth overall pick two years ago — with Thomas Jones gone, will we definitively learn that he's the next Curtis Enis? Forty-two yards on 19 carries? Yikes! Benson couldn't pick up a first down on a 4th-and-1 situation, and he looked tentative and lost at times.
Both Benson and Adrian Peterson fumbled the ball away in the second half. Against an opponent like the Chargers, those are the plays that determine the outcome. Sure enough, both of the Chargers' scores came off turnovers — one off a muffed punt return and one off of Peterson's. Benson's fumble led to a drive that ended a yard from the end zone after an off-sides non-call resulted in a Phillip Rivers fumble. Still, the two-turnover differential was the difference in the game.
Not to be outdone by the running game, Rex Grossman gave us a mediocre performance as well. He barely completed half his passes, threw an interception but no touchdowns, and racked up just 145 yards passing for a QB rating of 53.7. Is it too soon to start demanding Brian Griese?
While the defense did an admirable job on Sunday, it didn't come without a price. Mike Brown — who earlier in the game intercepted a pass and recovered a fumble — left with what was initially diagnosed as a sprained knee. But Brown's mood in the locker room after the game, as well as his unfortunate track record, mean it's likely he's lost for the season. Again.
Photo by AP Photo/Denis Poroy.