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Bears Tailspin Continues In New England

By Chuck Sudo in News on Oct 27, 2014 3:30PM

When baseball season spirals out of control on both sides of town we like to joke “thankfully Bears training camp starts soon.” Now that the Bears’ playoff chances appear to be all but done we can’t turn our attention to the Bulls and Blackhawks, mainly because Chicago sports media won’t allow it. The Bears limp into their bye week after a 51-23 loss to the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium Sunday. As with last Sunday’s loss at home to Miami, the Bears looked unprepared to play the Patriots and at times even seemed to tune out the coaching staff. Much of the talk on WSCR-AM’s postgame show centered on whether Marc Trestman and his staff are prepared for life in the NFL. Trestman will have two weeks to prepare for Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers, and prove to the naysayers the Bears have the goods to salvage what has become a forgettable season.

Here is the good, the bad and the ugly keys to the game.

The Good

Matt Forte: Let’s state for the record that Forte is not an elite running back but he’s the best offensive weapon the Bears have right now. Forte rushed 19 times for 114 yards and caught six passes for 54 yards and a touchdown but his receptions were mostly on checkdowns from quarterback Jay Cutler when the receivers were covered by the Patriots’ secondary.

Martellus Bennett: With Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery kept in check by the Patriots defensive schemes, the Bears tight end became Cutler's primary target and ended the day with six catches for 95 yards and a touchdown.

The Bad

Defense: This could also go under “ugly.” That’s how bad the Bears defense played, especially in the first half when they allowed Tom Brady and the New England offense to score 38 points in the first half. That’s a Bears team record for points scored by an opponent in the first half of a game. Any hopes by Bears fans Trestman and company would make any adjustments during halftime were dashed in the Pats’ opening second half drive, a 6-play, 80-yard drive that took all of 2 minutes, 18 seconds with Brady setting up in a no-huddle offense and tight end Rob Gronkowski rumbling into the end zone for the last of his three touchdown catches.

Brady was a hot knife through the butter of the Bears secondary Sunday. He finished the day completing 30 of 35 passes for 354 yards and five touchdown passes and a 148.4 QB rating before coach Bill Belichick pulled him from the game. Gronkowski faced single coverage all game and caught nine passes for 149 yards and three TDs. Brandon LaFell caught 11 passes for 124 yards and a touchdown and Timothy Wright caught 7 passes for 61 yards and a touchdown. The Bears defense allowed 487 yards and New England held a 32:43 to 27:17 advantage in time of possession. At one point in the first half the Patriots had 16 first downs while the Bears had 15 total plays.

Jay Cutler: Here is the season’s narrative on Cutler: when he protects the ball, the Bears win; when he doesn’t, they lose. There’s no gray area. Sunday was no exception. Cutler’s stat line included 20-for 30 passing for 227 yards, three touchdowns, an interception and a 108.6 quarterback rating. Cutler also lost a fumble. Regardless of the game’s final score, one thing remains constant when it comes to Cutler.

Photo credit: Chuck Sudo/Chicagoist

The Ugly

Coaching: As much (deserved) shit as Cutler gets from both meathead and logical thinking Bears fans, he can take solace this morning in the fact that Bear Nation is turning their attention to Trestman and the coaching staff. This is the second straight week the team has looked unprepared for an opponent and last week's ugly locker room outburst—which wasn't repeated Sunday—led to speculation on whether Trestman has control of this team and if he'll be back for a third season. With a bye week looming and a fan base that makes the fictional Dillon Panthers boosters of "Friday Night Lights" fame look rational by comparison, the pressure by a fair weather local sports media will only intensify before kickoff at Lambeau Field two weeks from now. Assume defensive coordinator Mel Tucker and special teams coach Joe DeCamillis are dead men walking and won't return next season, if Trestman survives. Trestman and Bears GM Phil Emery are expected to address the media at 12:30 p.m. Hopefully, Emery accepts accountability for ...

A lack of depth: Tucker has developed some of the most malodorous defensive schemes in recent memory, but injuries at linebacker and secondary have revealed a very shallow Bears depth chart. for all the shouting about how the Bears need to play "tough" and with "fire," "heart" and other monosyllabic cliches, if they can't execute the game plan because the talent isn't there. That depth took another hit after LaMarr Houston injured his knee sacking Patriots backup QB Jimmy Garoppolo with the Bears down by 28 points.

Bears fans are in store for a putrid second half. The team will have to play 7-1 ball after the bye in order to even sniff the playoffs. That isn't realistic after the way they ended their first eight games.