Could the Bears keep their momentum going after last week’s victory over Detroit? Yes and No. Ultimately the answer was no. The Colts beat the Bears 29-23 on Sunday in Indianapolis. Even though there were a lot of positives for a young, injured Bears team in Week 5 in Indiana, unfortunately the Bears came out on the losing end, sending them to the cellar of the NFC North Division with a 1-4 record.
- How cool is Lucas Oil Stadium? I’ve never been there yet but plan on making a trip someday. On television, it looked glistening in Autumnal beauty with the roof and windows open to let God’s beauty shine down onto the playing surface. It reminded me of the old Texas Stadium in Dallas where the Cowboys played for all those years with Coach Landry roaming the sidelines in his fedora.
- The Bears offense went up and down the field, gaining 522 total yards and 25 1st downs.
- Connor Barth made 3 FG’s.
- The defense came up with 5 sacks! If you read my Preview column (http://www.footballnation.com/articles/bears-travel-to-indy-to-tame-the-colts), you’ll know I wrote “Count on at least a couple of sacks.” #97 Willie Young must have read my article as he filled the box score with 3 sacks of Colts star QB Andrew Luck! #96 Akiem Hicks and #74 Jonathan Bullard each had one takedown as well. Sacks are fun and these guys went above and beyond, making my day as they fulfilled my prediction.
- The continued development of young players including #37 Bryce Callahan, #24 Jordan Howard, #81 Cameron Meredith (more on him below) and #74 Jonathan Bullard.
- It was good to see #17 Alshon Jeffery have a solid, injury free day. Check that….he got shaken up on the first play of the day after getting tackled by Colts FS #26 Clayton Geathers (is he related to “Jumpy” by any chance?). However, Alshon shook it off and returned for the entirety of the game. It’s too bad Hoyer didn’t see him on the decisive 4th down of the game. Of course, it would help if Jeffery could get through a full practice this week with Hoyer because that chemistry gained on the practice fields is what translates to the Stadium on game day. A full practice with no injuries could do wonders for both his, and Hoyer’s confidence.
- Red zone execution/3rd down execution – Bears converted on only 1 of 3 red zone opportunities and on only 2 of 9 3rd down chances.
- Connor Barth missed another Field Goal. Do you trust him? Do you trust him more than Robbie Gould? On his miss, he actually missed twice, once from 54 and then from 49 after a defensive penalty. He’s now 5 of 8 on the season.
- Penalties – 10 penalties for 80 yards! Without these penalties the Bears may have walloped Indianapolis. Right away on the first drive of the game the Bears ran 12 plays gaining 51 yards in 6:36, but also committed 3 penalties that eventually killed the drive. The decisive penalty was on a 2nd and 8 from the 9 yard line. Jordan Howard committed an offensive facemask penalty that took away a 1st and Goal after Meredith took a pass from #2 Brian Hoyer down to Indy’s 1 yard line. Instead of 1st and Goal from the 1, the Bears faced 2nd and 17 from the 18 yard line. Chicago settled for a Field Goal.
- #82 Logan Paulsen – This guy is an idiot. Did you see him talking trash to the defender he held on what would have, should have, been Jordan Howard’s first career rushing touchdown? He stinks. He commits needless penalties. He seems like a jerk. Open letter to Halas Hall: “Dear Ryan Pace, Please waive this dude.”
- Fumbles – The Bears had 3 fumbles, losing just one of them, but most fumbles come with a price and that’s what happened on Eddie Royal’s fumble in the 2nd quarter. On a 2nd and 7 from the Colts’ 15 yard line with about 10 minutes left, Royal did a nice job running after the catch. He looked to gain enough for the 1st down but Colts CB #20 Darius Butler lunged at Royal, knocking the ball free. Even though Chicago recovered, eventually they would have to settle for a FG. If Royal doesn’t fumble does Chicago eventually score a TD? Cameron Meredith also fumbled twice, one of which was recovered by the Colts LB #52 D’Qwell Jackson in the 4th quarter.
- Pass Defense – The Bears allowed Andrew Luck to throw for 322 yards and 2 TD’s. It was hard for Chicago’s DB’s to keep up with shifty WR #13 T.Y. Hilton who torched the Bears for 10 catches for 171 yards and the game’s deciding TD.
#2 Brian Hoyer – He completed 33 of 43 passes for 397 yards and 2 TD. Yet another very good to great performance by Hoyer. The only reason it wasn’t truly great was he couldn’t convert enough in the red zone. Even though Barth missed a FG, the fact remains that Hoyer only led the offense to 23 points which weren’t enough. You’d think 522 total yards would equate to more than 23 points. Nonetheless, a very good outing once again for Chicago’s “back-up” quarterback.
#24 Jordan Howard – This guy is establishing himself as Chicago’s lead back for quite possibly years. Jeremy Langford has shown flashes so let’s not show him the door quite yet but why not Howard? He had 16 carries for 118 yards along with 3 catches for 45 yards and his 1st NFL Touchdown! That is now two 100 yard games in a row for the rookie. Plus, he’s fun to watch.
#97 Willie Young – Young’s 5 tackles including 3 sacks were just what the doctor ordered for a defense that needed to hold Luck away from the Bears end zone. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough since All World Kicker Adam Vinatieri successfully made all five FG attempts on the day. Those 5 FG’s along with 2 TD’s gave Indy the 29 points they would need for victory.
Player of the Game
#81 Cameron Meredith – If you read my Preview, you’ll know I designated Meredith as the one player to “Keep An Eye On” this week. He did not disappoint, catching his first NFL Touchdown! In total he caught 9 passes for 130 yards including the TD and added one carry for 6 yards. However, I do hesitate to give Meredith the prestigious “Player of the Game” Award because of his 2 fumbles, including the big one with 3:29 left in the ball game that was recovered by the Colts. However, the Bears still had a chance to win this game by 1 point on the final drive of the game after holding Indianapolis to a FG with 2:28 left, making the score 29-23. We can’t overlook Meredith’s overall game. Without Meredith, who filled in for the injured Kevin White, who knows if Chicago would have even been in position to win this game at the end.
So the Bears sit at 1-4. Next week, the Jacksonville Jaguars visit Soldier Field. I think this team is better than 1-4. We’ll see if the Bears can prove me correct.