The Bears looked awful last night…..in the first half. Believe it or not, Chicago “won” the second half, outscoring the Dallas Cowboys 14-7 on Sunday Night Football. You need to look at the positives sometimes. Bears 14 Cowboys 7 (2nd Half only). Unfortunately the Cowboys outscored the Bears 24-3 in the 1st half.
Overall this third straight loss to start the 2016 season looked a lot like the first two games. The Bears played decently in one half of the football game but ultimately couldn’t sustain any success for 4 quarters. So now Chicago is 0-3, one of just 4 winless teams along with Jacksonville, Cleveland, and New Orleans. The Saints play tonight on Monday Night Football so they could leave the Bears as one of just three winless teams heading into Week 4.
Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, Cole Beasley and a dominant offensive line were simply too much for the Bears shaky defense to stop. With all the injuries, was it really a surprise? Sure the Cowboys had injuries too, to Tony Romo before the game and then WR’s Dez Bryant and Beasley during the game. Those receivers weren’t out for long though. They returned to catch 10 balls combined for 113 yards and a TD, Prescott’s 1st career TD pass.
I knew this game wasn’t likely to go well when NBC announced the lineups and some dude named Cre’Von LeBlanc was named as a starting cornerback for the Bears. I had never heard of this guy, at least as far as I could remember.
The first half was simply dominated by Dallas. They led 17-0 before the Bears even got a 1st down. It was one of those nights where you knew it was probably over early on. Sure the Bears came back and made it a game at times, but if you cheered for Dallas you probably never worried too much. You didn’t need to apply more deodorant watching Brian Hoyer throw his dink and dunk passes for the majority of the 2nd half.
Where does Chicago go from here? Well, first they need to go to the training room and get healthy. This team is so beaten down after three games, both mentally and physically, that it is hard to remember a time when a team was this beset by injuries this early in the season. So the first prescription is to get some guys healthy. If and when Kyle Fuller, Danny Trevathan, Eddie Goldman, and the DB’s with concussions (Adrian Amos, Bryce Callahan, and Harold Jones-Quartey) get back to full strength, then the Bears can clean up their defensive game and make progress on improving this unit. Some guys did show flashes such as Jerrell Freeman, Willie Young, Christian Jones, and Leonard Floyd.
#50 Jerrell Freeman – Freeman was one of the few Bears that looked pretty good last night. He was credited with 12 total tackles. With Trevathan out for a while, the Bears need Freeman to be a tackling machine and also be a leader for this young and inexperienced defense. I think he will succeed.
#13 Kevin White – White oozes potential and we’re starting to see why the Bears were so high on him. He caught 6 passes for 62 yards from QB Brian Hoyer. He was targeted often and responded with some nice plays. He had a highlight reel catch, jumping up and over the Cowboys CB and hauling in a long pass as he tipped it to himself with one free hand.
Player of the Game
#86 Zach Miller – Miller had a break-out game, his first of this young season. He caught 8 passes for 78 yards and both of the Bears 2 touchdowns. He looks like a rock solid TE, in the mold of Cowboys TE Jason Witten. He’s athletic. He’s a security blanket for his QB. He’s one of the best weapons on this young Bears team.
I know the Bears stunk last night and these two plays likely wouldn’t have mattered, but the fact is that they were hosed on two calls at AT&T Stadium.
- With 7:47 left in the 2nd quarter, the Bears tried an onside kick attempt after hitting a FG to close the ‘Boys lead to 17-3. It was one of those “surprise” onside kicks where the kicker nudges it straight ahead while his teammates rush to recover it ideally 10 or 11 yards downfield. Bears kicker #4 Connor Barth perfectly executed his attempt and the ball was recovered by #27 Sherrick McManis. Of course the refs called an offsides on #58 Jonathan Anderson. Problem was, he was not clearly offsides. If anyone was offsides it may have been McManis who was lined up between Barth and Anderson. However, there was no clear evidence of anybody being offsides. Can this play be reviewed? If so, it should have been reviewed. This play was equivalent to a turnover. The refs essentially gave the Cowboys the ball because the Bears had to re-kick and they weren’t going to onsides again. Tough break for a team that needs all the breaks they can get. Boo!
- I truly love this guy. He’s one of the “good guys” but he was guilty of a holding call, yet the referees picked up the flag. Cowboys TE #82 Jason Witten clearly held Bears OLB #94 Leonard Floyd on 1st and Goal at the 9 with 1:15 left in the half. Once again these silly refs had a “discussion” and took away the flag they had thrown. This was clearly a case in which the veteran got the break. Witten got the benefit of the doubt because he’s a long time professional. He’s very likeable and successfully pleaded his case to the refs during their discussion. Meanwhile, Floyd is a rookie in his 3rd career game. Plus, the game was in Dallas and usually home teams get these calls. Nonetheless, it makes me sick! Like I said, I love Witten but this was absolutely bull!!! Instead of 1st and Goal from the 19 yard line, the Cowboys got the result of the play which made it 2nd and Goal from the 3. Alfred Morris proceeded to bull his way into the end zone, putting Dallas up 24-3. Boo again!
These calls likely didn’t make the difference but for the Bears, when it can go wrong it will go wrong. On top of everything else, the Bears are getting bad luck to top off their lack of depth and lack of experience. Next up is a return to Soldier Field for a Noon game on Sunday versus a 1-2 Detroit Lions team that is also scuffling.